By Beverly J. Clark, Publicity Director; Photos by Alive! and RLACEI
Retirees association celebrates golden anniversary with a grand ceremony, and a commitment to continue its strong support of City Retirees.
n June 8, 2023, the Retired Los Angeles City Employees, Inc. celebrated its past, toasted its present, and pledged to its future of advocacy for Retired City employees.
All of that happened at a grand 50th anniversary celebration of the Retirees association RLACEI, hosted by the RLACEI Board and held at Stevens Steak and Seafood House in Commerce.
More than 150 RLACEI members attended.
Ruth Perry, RLACEI President, welcomed guests and told of the history and future of the organization. RLACEI Board members spoke about different aspects of the association, and talked about the state of LA 50 years ago. on its anniversary; and LACERS Commissioners delivered a letter of congratulations and pledged a future of working together.
President Ruth Perry provided the audience with a history of RLACEI, its accomplishments and goals for the future. LACERS Commissioners Annie Chao, Thuy Huynh and Mike Wilkinson presented the Board with a certificate of accomplishment.
Dale Wong-Nguyen, LACERS Assistant General Manager, congratulated RLACEI.
Club CEO Robert Larios spoke to attendees about the strong commitment to City Retirees that the Club shares with RLACEI, and shared lessons he has learned about leadership.
Los Angeles Federal Credit Union Sr. Business Development/Social Media Coordinator Robert Aguirre spoke on the long history the credit union has had with RLACEI.
Also in attendance were Retired LACERS General Manager and past RLACEI Director Jerry Bardwell; and Christine Stemnock, widow of Tom Stemnock, RLACEI Golf Committee chair for many years.
The Club was well represented by Club Director of Sales Noelle Kauffman, Member Services Counselor Cynthia Ha, Retail Operations Manager Lupe Lira and Mobile Operations Representative DeAngelo Thompson. Alive! editor John Burnes and Club social media manager Dearbhla McNulty also attended.
American Sign Language interpreter Natalie Westfall assisted with signing for Retiree Becky Bookman and others.
A delicious meal of steak, chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables and cheesecake was served.
A special cake decorated to commemorate 50 years was also served. Attendees danced to music from a live DJ and had the party pics taken at a photo booth to memorialize the date. Prizes were raffled; games were played, and each attendee received a commemorative glass in recognition of the event.
RLACEI extends its special thanks to all the Board members and especially to the Entertainment Committee and its chair, Elizabeth Torres, for the beautiful decorations and centerpieces.
Since its inception, it has been the goal and responsibility of each Board member to ensure that City Retirees are well represented, and benefits are maintained. In the words of the current Board, this is why they serve and are proud to join in celebrating 50 years of service to fellow retirees.
In this story, read the proclamations delivered, and relive the party by enjoying the photos of many of those who attended.•
|THANK YOU!: The Club thanks Ruth Perry, Beverly Clark and the entire RLACEI board for their invitation to attend and participate in the celebration; and we congratulate the association for its continued hard work and commitment to taking care of City Retirees. It is a noble and important mission, and we honor you for making LA the great City it is. Congratulations!
‘Let as many other fellow Retirees know how important this organization’s future is for us all now, 50 years from now, and beyond.’
— Ruth Perry, RLACEI President
In honor of RLACEI’s 50th anniversary, current board members shared their mission of serving Retired City employees.
Ruth B. Perry, RLACEI President
After a long and prestigious tenure as president, Ed Harding passed the helm to Ruth Perry. Ruth became president effective January 2019.
“It is with a humble heart and an enthusiastic outlook that I began my tenure as RLACEI President in the good company of my fellow Directors. The RLACEI Board of Directors is responsible for the budget, contracts, projects, etc., for our community of Retirees, and the Directors are the final decision-makers on policy and all other matters relating to our organization.
“While not everyone is able or interested in serving as a Director, we encourage everyone to take an opportunity to meet those individuals who will serve the best interests of our membership as a whole. Join us at sponsored RLACEI and LACERS events to inform us of your thoughts, suggestions, and otherwise, regarding your pension benefits and interests. Visit our Website at RLACEI.org.”
Beverly J. Clark, First Vice President and Publicity Director
“I have been an RLACEI Board member since April 2018. My vision as a Board member is to assist the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement community in staying connected, staying involved, and staying physically and financially healthy. My goal as a Board member is to keep the Retired community informed of their benefits, ensure that benefits are maintained and to continue to research options to enhance benefits.”
“I joined RLACEI because I felt that, with the 32 years of experience and knowledge I gained during my career, I am well equipped to assist fellow Retirees with their retirement needs.”
Mark Blunk, Second Vice President and Audit Director
Mark’s years with LACERS involved serving members and dealing with members’ issues through staff and hands-on assistance. Mark says his “time spent serving active and retired City employees has always been and remains some of the most rewarding experiences of my career. My hope is to help serve Retirees again as a Director with RLACEI.”
Lucy Artinian, Treasurer
“I joined RLACEI because I felt that, with the 37 years of experience and knowledge I gained during my career, I am well equipped to assist fellow Retirees with their retirement needs.”
Nancy Hammoudian, Secretary
“I joined the RLACEI board to help protect Retiree benefits, and I am enthusiastic that the RLACEI organization brings Retirees together for various events. Although I’ve been Retired for quite a few years, I have remained friends with several of my City co-workers.”
Vicki Keoseian, Director
Vicki joined the Board to help ensure all LA City employee Retirees benefits are safe.
Beverly Anderson, Nominations Committee Chair
RLACEI’s purpose “… to promote the common welfare, the improvement of benefits, provide the means of communicating the policies of the retired Los Angeles City employees, to the retired City employees and their spouses …” is why she joined the RLACEI Board. She feels she can still make a difference and advocate for the needs of Retirees and their spouses. Being a member of RLACEI and attending its events has kept her in touch with many other Retirees.
Tom Moutes, Director
Tom retired from the City in 2018 as the General Manager of LACERS. He previously held positions as Assistant General Manager and Chief Management Analyst. Tom brings a wealth of experience and firsthand knowledge to the Board.
Ann Seales, Membership Director
“I ended my City career at LACERS managing the Member Support Section of the Retirement Services Division. My passion for all things retirement is what makes being a part of RLACEI exciting. To be able to share with members and potential members the importance of being proactive in our benefits is a challenge I look forward to and hope to serve with the same enthusiasm that I brought as an active employee.”
Elizabeth Torres, Entertainment Committee Chair
Liz reflects, “Retirement is a whole new life! Because of COVID, retirement wasn’t what I expected – no celebrations, get-togethers or traveling. Joining RLACEI was not only one more venture to keep busy, but as a Retiree, it’s important to keep informed of possible changes that can impact our retirement benefits. An added plus is that I’m getting to meet my fellow Retirees.”
Welcome From RLACEI
RLACEI President Ruth Perry welcomed attendees to the 50th anniversary celebration for the Retired Los Angeles City Employees, Incorporated (RLACEI). She presented the following:
RLACEI was incorporated on Sept. 18, 1973, by an ambitious group of City of Los Angeles Retirees whose primary purpose was the protection and preservation of our retirement benefits and communication with Retired City employees. This group was led by George Zakaryan, serving as President; Samuel Bornstein, serving as Secretary; and by Winston Roche, Gladys Kitchen, Richard Bonner, Nathan Levy, Thomas Kendricks, John Tully Jr., and Charles Walbridge.
Just shy of six years later, in March 1979, RLACEI President June Grose, along with fellow Board members Aaron Davis, Nathan Levy, Florence Burrows and Sam Weiss, filed for 501(c)(4) exemption and obtained nonprofit status for the organization, which is still maintained to date. Sadly, none of these pioneers are with us today to share in this celebration.
Over the last 50 years, RLACEI has taken great strides in monitoring changes in pension legislation, keeping our members up to date on pertinent pension matters, and maintaining camaraderie among fellow retirees by hosting various social events throughout the year.
From 1994 to 2017, RLACEI President Edward Harding led the organization to increase, maintain and/or enhance benefits, such as the annual cost of living adjustment, urging the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) Board members to consider coverages for hearing aids and eyeglasses, and to include a health subsidy to include Retirees, their dependents and their surviving spouse or domestic partner. A partnership with the Los Angeles City Employees Association, also known as the Employees Club of California, was established to provide additional opportunities for quality insurance products and a variety of discounts for travel, hotels and family entertainment. In addition, more than 20 years ago, the summer picnic, holiday party and particularly the golf tournament organized by Tom Stemnock, became annual events, which we hope will continue to occur for many years to come.
Many fellow City Retirees have held positions on the RLACEI Board over the last 50 years; they, along with Ed Harding, Americo Garza, Gary Mattingly, Phil Orland, Neil Ricci, Phil Skarin, Ken Spiker and Tom Stemnock, are no longer around to see how their past efforts still drive us to keep their legacy growing.
Our future advocacy includes maintaining watch on LACERS investments to ensure our plan stays whole and healthy. We will make public comments wherever and whenever necessary, when we support or oppose important issues affecting our health and dental plans, and other benefits. We will continue to champion for participation and encourage involvement from our fellow Retirees on matters that impact us all. We will make every attempt possible to change legislation regarding Medicare and Social Security for the future financial security of all Retirees, not just RLACEI members. And of course, we hope to continue our partnership with the Employees Club of California and keep in close contact with LACERS staff to ensure a mutual concern and responsibility for our shared members.
So much more can be said about this organization, but in closing, we ask for your support and commitment to get involved, stay involved, and encourage others to do the same. This organization is only as strong and as loud as our members join in with us to be. There is strength in numbers. Let as many other fellow Retirees know how important this organization’s future is for us all now, 50 years from now, and beyond.
The Board wishes to thank all who joined us in commemorating RLACEI’s 50 years of achievements. •
Congratulations From LACERS
Congratulations on your 50th anniversary!
Obehalf of the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) Board of Administration and the LACERS Executive Team, we congratulate the Retired Los Angeles City Employees, Inc. (RLACEI) on 50 years of providing dedicated service to the Retirees of the City of Los Angeles and to the years of partnership with LACERS. Your advocacy and diligence to advance the health, wellness, and retirement security to the tens of thousands of members and beneficiaries of the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System is recognized and commended by all.
You have diligently served LACERS retirees by providing education to members, and promotion of the common welfare, looking to advocate better outcomes, assure benefits, and create a support system for our retired members by providing a community that exemplifies the LACERS Guiding Principles, including professionalism, kindness, and respect.
We recognize and commend you for the more than 50 years of exemplary service to our retired members and their families. And are excited to continue the positive and productive relationship well into the future.
On behalf of the LACERS Board of Administration and the LACERS Executive Team, we congratulate you on your long-standing achievements and wish you continuing success. •
Neil Guglielmo, General Manager
Todd Bouey, Executive Officer
Dale Wong-Nguyen, Assistant General Manager
Rodney June, Chief Investment Officer
Michael R. Wilkinson, Commissioner, Retired Elected Representative
Annie Chao, Commissioner, Active Elected Representative
Thuy T. Huynh, Commissioner, Appointed Representative
BEHIND THE SCENES
Photographer Glenn Marzano photographs managers of the LA Public Library Central Library’s awesome Octavia Lab, and Club leaders John Hawkins and Robert Larios.