GAC-EPA — Groupement des Anciens du CERN-ESO Pensioners' Association

Bulletin 51

Autumn 2016

 

The Word of the President

Gertjan BOSSEN

(original French)

The world is changing - and we with it?

There are changes which are welcome, such as the disappearance of the malevolent attitude of some delegations to the CERN Council.  The discussions of our system of social protection have returned to a manner which permits us to discuss calmly, while at the same time preparing the ground both for changes which may become necessary and for improvements which could appear possible.

Our Pension Fund is being restored to financial health as forecast, and our Health Insurance Scheme is in good health.  This does not eliminate our duty to continue to follow attentively and with vigilance everything which is going on in these areas.

This evolution allows your Committee to turn to other topics which may be less essential for our wellbeing, but which could perturb us in our daily life.  I refer to access to CERN, both in person and in computing.  A first step has been made, laboriously : you may now consult the Operational Circular describing the rules for access to CERN on our GAC-EPA web-site (while not being able to read it on the CERN web-site).

Your Committee subsequently set out the actions which it could be useful to undertake in order to modify certain arrangements which are seen to discriminate against retirees.

It would be vain to deny that the world in general and the CERN environment in particular have changed since many of us retired.

Everyone, as citizen and as retiree from CERN or ESO, is led to ask themselves whether to adapt oneself to a world characterised by security and identity above all (key word: fortress Europe) or to continue to opt for a world which is open and free, with a touch of libertarianism (key word : May 68) or even to find a middle way.

Your Committee will continue to do its best to ensure that your retirement takes place in the best conditions, by defending without fail our system of social protection and paying attention to topics which affect our daily life.

As we are approaching the end of the year, it is time for me to thank my colleagues on the Committee for their work this year, and to wish you all, dear members of GAC-EPA, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2017.

Gertjan Bossen

 

Editorial

Bernard DUCRET

(original French)

Reflections

Now retired for some years I have observed an evolution in the rules for access to the sites, and initiatives about behaviour and administrative or computing restrictions.  Thus I regret a form of marginalisation of retirees, and this at CERN the organisation known world-wide for its planetary successes.

Since the birth of CERN we have been used to living with complete liberty, an unequalled openness of spirit, and a mixing of populations which many admired, notably during the cold war.  In short, everything was open, the spirits as well as the scientific data.

Since a tragic event which took place in the main cafeteria in the 1970s, the CERN administration incessantly envisaged hypothetical dangerous situations to justify a series of measures leading to restricting freedoms.  First of all the barriers at the entrances (guarded by the firemen before 1970, which surprised Robert Jungk*) were no longer purely decorative; subsequently we have seen the appearance of private security men, access cards, vehicle number plate readers, iris readers, etc.

Today everyone, staff or retired, is going to have to wear a badge conspicuously, in order to move about “freely” on the sites;  also retirees who are allowed the vignette for only one car, already observe that from one day to another they are not allowed to use a certain parking area one day, and next day they may do so.  Soon, if the drift to more security measures continues, one could imagine that we shall no longer even have access to the sites, unless we are among those who are still “active retirees” for the Organisation?

In order to attend a concert or a lecture in the amphitheatre, to go to the main library (no, we are not all on-line), to the office of the Pension Fund, to the bank, or simply to visit our old colleagues, we shall have to “show our credentials”.  By the way, do you know that for some time now, for the concerts or the evening lectures, site access for the hoi polloi is conditional on their name being on a list provided by the Staff Association? And I do not speak about the problems this causes already for our spouses and for handicapped people....

If in addition, through an argument at the entrance, we dispute with a guard over an instruction whose existence we are unaware of because of computing restrictions, it really is the limit, because the sanction is then temporary expulsion from the site.

We can, of course Imagine that CERN Management puts in place these security restrictions following pressure from local and/or national administrations.  It is recognised that these measures - in place or envisaged in future - are ineffective; recent events in Europe illustrate this.

Nothing is as valuable as the vigilance of each individual, and, for our administrators, to have confidence in the intelligence of each and everyone who comes to CERN.


* In Robert Jungk’s book:  “Die Grosse Machine” Scherz Verlag 1966, “The Big Machine” Andre Deutsch 1969

Your attention please:

We are still looking for a copy of bulletin 1.

Could you please look in your archives?

Thank you!

 

ESO Matters

Martin CULLUM

Healthcare

The annual review meeting between the ESO Administration and Cigna, our healthcare provider, took place in September.  At the time of writing, it has not been announced if there will be any changes in the coverage or contributions next year although, at the moment, it looks as though the premiums will remain the same as in 2016.

A new issue relating to pensioners has become apparent since the last Bulletin was issued.  This relates to Article 20 of the ESO Healthcare Agreement that provides a safety net against excessive medical expenses.  When the total expenses paid by a beneficiary in any calendar year exceed a certain threshold value, any excess is reimbursed at 100% (with a few exceptions).  For active staff, the threshold for Article 20 is 20% of the monthly Basic Salary, i.e.  the same basis as is used to calculate the healthcare premiums.  For retired staff, the premiums are based on the maximum pension beneficiaries would receive from the CERN Pension Fund if they had completed 35 years of service (for all current pensioners).  After some detailed investigations into how Cigna calculate the threshold for retired staff (their website is very obscure on this point) it turns out that Cigna do not use this figure for calculating the threshold.  Instead, they base it on the so-called CERN Reference Salary which is over 40% higher.  This means that retired staff have to pay 40% more out of their own pockets before Article 20 comes into effect than do active staff!

Cigna claim that this is what they have always done and that if ESO wants them to do something different, they will have to tell them.  I consequently wrote to the ESO DG in August requesting him to instruct Cigna to use the same basis for calculating the thresholds for pensioners as they do for calculating the premiums, as indeed they do for the active staff.  So far I have not had a reply to this request although I know it has been under discussion within the ESO Administration.

Unlike our earlier request for ESO to contribute to the Stop-Loss premiums, the cost to ESO of implementing this change to Article 20 would be rather negligible for the organisation.  But it certainly makes a considerable difference to pensioners who have serious health problems.  Nevertheless, as ESO has just been informed by the auditors of the CERN Pension Fund that it needs to pay an additional 3 MCHF / year into the fund, the Administration may not be feeling well disposed towards pensioners at the moment.  We shall see!

ESO Staff Association

ESO periodically asks an external consultant firm to carry out a ‘climate survey’.  The aim of this exercise is to survey the opinions of the personnel on the employment conditions at ESO and to compare this with similar surveys carried out at a number of other international and national organisations.

The most recent climate survey, carried out in 2015, highlighted a number of areas where the ESO personnel were less than happy with the management style of the Organisation.  The ESO Staff Association and many of the personnel have had the feeling that they have not been sufficiently involved in the decisions the Organisation is making that affect them.

As the mandate for the Staff Committee expired at the end of last year, it was decided to postpone the election of a new committee until various issues had been clarified with the management.  In the interim period, the retiring committee is serving as acting committee.  Three working groups, comprising both management and staff, were set up to look into aspects that the climate survey showed were deficient.  These include motivation of staff, transparency of processes and technical decisions, leadership, acknowledgement of achievement, etc.  Most of the recommendations of the working groups have already been accepted by the ESO management.

However, several critical words in one new document called the Recognition Agreement are still being debated.  This document is intended to better define the role and involvement of the International Staff Association in decisions regarding HR policies and practices.  It is intended to complement and expand on the basic definitions given in the staff Rules and Regulations.

Because of this rather drawn-out process, the adoption of the new Staff Association Statutes has not advanced since the ‘final draft’ was presented to the staff last year.  These new statues, for the first time, would integrate ESO pensioners in same way as the CERN Staff Association Statues do for CERN pensioners.

Social

As in past years, we held a summer get-together in a Biergarten near Munich in August.  There are some photos of this event on the ESO pensioners’ website

 

News in brief and activities of the Committee — (May to October 2016)

Mario DANESIN

(original French)

Perhaps you would first like to re-read the Spring 2016 Bulletin?

The Committee held 4 meetings between May and October 2016 with an average of 15-16 attendees at each meeting (May, June, September and October).  There were no meetings during the holiday period July and August.

It was a relatively calm period with regard to news and the usual subjects were under discussion and are reported in this article and the following contributions.

You may contact the Secretariat which is at your disposal for any further details at: office.  secretariat@gac-epa.org

Composition of the Committee, attribution of functions, 2016 elections

Committee

The present committee (see list of members on page 3) has been in place since 2 September 2016.  The only change that has taken place up to the present day is the co-opting of a new member for the rest of 2016 due to the fact that he is member of a CERN Council working group; we shall refer to this later in the bulletin.  As at 2 September 2016 there are 20 elected members, 2 co-opted members and 1 invited member (informatics expert).

2016 Elections

A call for candidates for the 2016 GAC-EPA elections for the period 2017-2018 was sent out on 15 August 2016.

These elections are for the partial renewal of the committee and for the election of an auditor.  Twelve members put forward their name for the partial renewal of the committee, of which 9 are current committee members (8 elected and 1 co- opted) whose mandate expires 31 December 2016.  Three members came forward for the election of auditor, the auditor in office did not wish to stand again.  We therefore had sufficient candidates to open formal elections.  We are pleased to see that members are keen to come forward to stand for election.

Documents were sent out for the elections on 15 October and were already in your mailbox by 22 October.  Deadline for returning your vote was 23 November and the counting of the votes took place on 28 November 2016.  The results will be published in the first bulletin 2017, at the 2017 General Assembly as well as at the end-of-year drink on 28 November 2016.

GAC-EPA Annual General Meeting

The last General Assembly took place on 16 March 2016 as per the invitation sent out on 15 February 2016 along with the agenda and proxy vote form. The Minutes of the 2016 AGM were sent end May 2016 along with the 2016 Spring Bulletin.

Please refer to the Minutes for information on topics discussed, of which:

REMINDER: You will be asked to approve these Minutes at the next AGM which will take place end March 2017 (date not fixed yet)

Relations with CERN Staff Association and with ESO

There has been no change in our relations neither with the Staff Association nor with ESO.  Our delegates represent us in various meetings of the Staff Council and commissions organized by the Staff Association.  This enables us to put forward our opinions and ideas concerning matters directly related to pensioners and which often concern active staff too.

At present ESO has difficulties within their Staff Association, the Statutes of which have not been approved and this prevents them from forming the committee.  Staff are hopeful that progress will be made in 2017.  See more information about this in Martin Cullum’s article, the ESO-GAC delegate,

The situation regarding our Pension Fund is less alarming as we indicated in our previous bulletin.  But, we must not drop our guard as some delegates in the CERN Council are still exercising influence to change drastically our system.  The situation is therefore under constant surveillance by the Staff Association and the GAC-EPA, and in particular by the Pensions’ Commission.

Also at this moment the Social Protection Commission is paying great attention to the proposals being presented to CERN Management for changes to the Health Insurance Rules.  Our delegates on the CHIS Board, however, are reassuring and there should be no reason for concern about benefits.

Relations with the CERN Administration

In order to help you with access to the CERN site we repeat our advice:

REMINDER: To avoid difficulty arising with access to CERN site, please be sure that you and your spouse (as the case may be) are in possession of your access card and your car sticker. Formalities for both documents are made at Bldg 55 on presentation of your ID Card/Passport and car registration documents.

CERN Pension Fund members may still encounter difficulties regarding site access in spite of being in possession of the correct documents.  Access to Meyrin and Prevessin sites for retirees is via the site’s main entrance.  All other entrance points have prescribed opening hours and/or may only allow access to active Staff Members.  Retirees at the moment do not have the right to more than one car sticker as compared to Staff Members and this may cause problems, in particular for the spouse.

Handicapped pensioners may access the site in the company of one person who must, however, have the appropriate access card or have one made out for him/her at Bldg 55.

As published in the previous bulletin, the Operational Circular No. 2 (rev. 3) “Conditions of access to the fenced parts of the CERN site” came into effect on 1 September 2014 but has since been revised on 15 December 2015.  As many of you have not been able to access this document, our President, Gertjan Bossen, has made it available on our website.

He has attached a short explanation, repeated here:



Info CERN Access to CERN site

Message from the President

You contact us often about this subject. You will find a reply to some questions in the Rules (and annexes) which we provide here as you are no longer able to consult via the CERN website.

OPERATIONAL CIRCULAR No. 2 (Rev. 3) Annex: Main entrance points Implementation

Other remarks have been made which lead us to believe that you perceive discrimination creeping into the Rules concerning retirees.  Your committee will soon be meeting with CERN Management to discuss this and other matters concerning computer identity of retirees.  If you have any remarks to make on either physical access or computer access to CERN then please use the contact form at the bottom of the page.

N.B.  It has been agreed that pensioners with reduced mobility can be accompanied by a person of their choice to gain access to the CERN site.  The pensioner (or his/her spouse) must go to Bldg 55 and complete formalities.  The accompanying person will be issued with an access card valid for one year.  Even though exceptional cases may not have been written into the Rules, they are allowed.

Gertjan Bossen, President of GAC-EPA



We hope the preceding information is useful to you and we remain at your disposal to reply to questions, as far as is possible, sent to us via the contact form or addressed during an information session.

On 15 November 2016 the GAC-EPA was represented by its President and three GAC-EPA Members at a Preparation for Retirement seminar annouced in the CERN Bulletin.  They informed future retirees about our group.

Relations with the Governing Board of the Pension Fund

REMINDER: At the GBPF, GAC-EPA is represented since 1 January 2015 by Michel Baboulaz.  The GBPF is given support by the Investment Committee and the Actuarial and Technical Committee.

All these bodies have representatives from CERN Council and Management as well as those from CERN and ESO Staff Associations and GAC-EPA Group.

During 2015 we learnt that a working group was to be set up to make further in-depth study of the governance of the Pension Fund.

CERN Council agreed to the composition of the group in the autumn 2016 and that it would be a joint committee.  The set-up therefore is 1 representative for both CERN and ESO Staff Associations and 1 representative for GAC-EPA who will be Sylvain Weisz, former member of the GBPF but recently retired and whom we co-opted onto the GAC-EPA committee.

Participation by the Staff Association and GAC- EPA in this working group is important to ensure representation and the interests of pensioners.

The article by Michel Baboulaz on the Pension Fund will give you more precise details and in particular regarding actuarial studies and yields from investments.

Relations with the Health Insurance Scheme CHIS Board

REMINDER: The CHIS Board (CERN Health Insurance Scheme Committee) is a joint body dealing with matters on Health Insurance and whose role is purely for consultation at the discretion of the CHIS (administrator of the Health Insurance).  The committee meets in principle once a month, both our delegates, Morna Robillard and David Jacobs, attend regularly.

Since March 2016 several subjects of discussion have come up at the CHIS Board, of which:

Concerning this point, the following article (Health Insurance) by Morna Robillard and David Jacobs gives more details.

Relations with current and future retirees

We shall not repeat here details of how we inform you of news nor how you may contact us but rather refer you to previous bulletins nos.  49 and 50 which you can consult.

It is very important for us to be in touch with our members and to provide them with any information they may need.  As already mentioned, you can contact us easily by using the contact form.

You can also write to us at the following address:

GAC-EPA

c/o Staff Association CERN CH-1211 Geneve 23

You may also wish to attend our Information Sessions which are held on the first Tuesday of each month except in January, July and August.  Three committee members, Rene Bathelemy, Michel Boffard, Jean-Francois Michaud are available to reply to any of your questions to the best of their ability.

We were pleased to meet everyone who came on 28 November to the end-of-year drink.  As there were no urgent matters on the agenda, we did not consider it necessary to call an informal meeting before the drink.

We remind you that if you want a Staff Association card for 2017 you must send a request to the secretariat using the contact form.  The card allows you to obtain some commercial discounts and reduced fees when joining certain CERN Clubs.

See you for the next bulletin, at the end of April 2017

 

Pension Fund

Michel Baboulaz

(original French)

Periodic actuarial review 2016

You could read in my article of bulletin n°50 that calculations of the funding ratio of our Pension Fund produced widely different results over the past 10 years.  The 2013 actuarial review had made the members of CERN Council seriously worried about the capacity of our Fund to meet its liabilities and pay future pensions.

The 2016 review, recently produced by the Actuary to the Fund, was based on a new, closer to reality, projection model of CERN and ESO populations and on revised assumptions of return and inflation parameters according to the Best Estimate approach.  Its results seemed to have restored the Council confidence, notably thanks to a funding level varying from 73% as at 2013-01-01 up to 113,6% as at 2041-01-01.

All measures of the Package negotiated in 2011 to restore full funding were taken into account.  Namely : special contributions paid annually by CERN - 60 MCHF, and ESO - 1.3 MCHF, increased normal contributions and duration applied since 2012 and under-indexation of pensions.

Following changes in the projection model and in the calculation method of the ESO members contributions, the special ESO contribution is currently under review.  The impact of changes in the CHF/EUR currencies exchange rate is also assessed in that review.

In December 2014, the Council had nonetheless ordered that two analysis by experts be produced.  A legal one, to define in which frame our Fund could be changed to a Defined Contributions scheme, and an actuarial one, to estimate the costs and benefits of such a change.

Received in December 2015, the analysis by legal experts concluded that benefits currently paid to pensioners, as well as acquired rights of active members cannot be reduced.  However a scheme including a guaranteed pension part (as in the swiss AVS) and a variable part based on contributions and return could legally be offered to new members.  Indeed the Headquarters Agreement concluded between CERN and Switzerland lift the obligation for CERN to affiliate its members to the Swiss social protection schemes (mainly retirement and health) under condition that it offers them an equivalent protection.

The second analysis, by the Actuary, which evaluate the costs of such a new scheme and of introducing it, has been given to Council.  It will be examined in December.

NAV=Net Asset Value ; QTD=Quarter To Date ; YTD=Year To Date
NAV=Net Asset Value ; QTD=Quarter To Date ; YTD=Year To Date

Governing Board membership

Several issues for the Pension Fund governance, including the membership of the Governing Board of the Fund, will be examined by a working group set up at the request of the CERN Council.  This working group should report to Council in the year 2017.

Reminder : the Pension Fund Governing Board currently has 2 members nominated by the CERN Staff Association, one member nominated by the the CERN-ESO pensioners association plus the CERN Director for Administration.  The total number is 10, the 5 others being 3 member-states delegates from CERN or ESO Council and 2 external experts.

Investments

2016 is another troubled year for investments and our Fund suffered.  January and February gave negative returns ( -2.37%, see bulletin 50), but the following months saw positive returns reaching +0.65% at end September, a performance well below the objective of 3% above Geneva inflation.  In 2014 and 2015 this long term objective had been outperformed.

The allocation of investments by asset class does not change much.  As decided in 2015, the allocation of assets to hedge funds (alternative investments) is gradually reduced to 10% (17% at end 2014).

NAV=Net Asset Value ; QTD=Quarter To Date ; YTD=Year To Date

First of July 2016 situation

The negative returns observed this year impacted the calculated funding ratio at 2016-07-01 which became 71.1% instead of 73%.  On that basis the funding ratio at 2041-01-01 is reduced to 107.2%.

According to statistics as at 2016-0701, the Fund had 3662 active members with an average age of 42.7, and 3653 beneficiaries with an average age of 73.6, a life expectancy of 15.9 years, an average annual pension of 86'585 CHF, residing in 48 countries. [webmaster's note:  thus the total life expectancy is 73.6+15.9=89.2]

 

The Health Insurance Scheme

David Jacobs

Since March the CHIS Board has met six times - April, June, August (twice), September and October). To a great extent, this increased activity has been driven by discussion of the Management’s proposed revision of the CHIS Rules, of which more below. Thanks to the efforts of the working group on para-maternité of which Morna Robillard is a member, the Rules revision, if accepted by Council, will extend reimbursement of treatment for infertility to all acts, subject to prior approval and a lifetime ceiling of 30 kCHF.

Finances

The CHIS accounts for 2015 showed once again an increase of income (4.6MCHF). The steady rise since 2010 can be attributed mainly to the increases of the insured population and of contribution rate decided at the 2010 five year review. Outgoings were very similar to 2014 (after a 10% increase in 2013). Remuneration to UNIQA dropped by 27%, thanks to the new contract in force since January 2015, but is not directly comparable to previous years due to changes in the contract make-up. The positive year-end outcome rose once more after falling in 2014. Together the two reserve funds (Sarasin and UBS) exceeded 200MCHF for the first time, despite a poor performance of -1.97%. This year the return on the funds has been slowly improving and a better year-end result can be hoped for. The return on the Sarasin fund is presently somewhat higher but the inverse has been sometimes true in the past and there is confidence that the difference will be smoothed out with time. It is not considered to be a cause for concern.

Management of the scheme

Hitherto the half-yearly statistics reported by UNIQA have reflected reimbursements in the period covered. This has hindered the recognition of trends in cost and the effects of measures taken since reimbursements often concern treatments in preceding periods. An analysis of the cost of treatments in the preceding calendar year has now been introduced. It has also been shown that such analysis yields significant results if made 18 months after the start of the year in question. UNIQA has thus been asked to include costs over the preceding 18 months in its mid-year reports.

Analysis of the Key Performance Indicators shows that they were fully respected by UNIQA in the first half of 2016. UNIQA’s quality of service met all contractual obligations.

Revision of the CHIS Rules

The Management’s proposal for the revision of the CHIS Rules has been on the agenda of all Board meetings since June. The present CHIS Rules date from 2014. It was already recognised before then that the document was becoming incoherent and difficult to read, inconsistent in some places with the Staff Rules and Administrative Circulars, due to the accumulation of additions and changes with time. However external circumstances delayed a thorough revision until now. The work has been confined to improvement of the document structure, while correcting anomalies or inconsistencies. Benefits and contributions have not been addressed, being rather a topic of the 5-yearly reviews.

The Board first concentrated on a summary proposal document, well-received by the SCC in September and now to be presented to TREF in November, after which CERN Council approval will be sought in December. The Board has also been commenting on the revised text of the Rules, which Management aims to finalise in time to take effect in mid-2017.

One proposed change concerns couples who both worked at CERN and were thus both main members of CHIS. At present, one spouse frequently chooses on retirement to become a subsidiary member of his/her spouse. A supplementary contribution may be then due depending on the declared income of the subsidiary (which includes the CERN pension). It is now proposed that, if the couple wishes to remain affiliated to CHIS, both spouses must remain main members. This will not change the contribution of the present subsidiary but has the advantage for CHIS that CERN will now continue to contribute to their health insurance. Although presently less than 100 couples are concerned, the additional CERN contributions are estimated by Management to be significant.

News

The French foreign Minister turned down the formal request from the DG to exempt CERN pensioners who also receive a French pension from the requirement to join the French health scheme. The DG promised to pursue the effort and the Board affirmed its strong support but the question remains unresolved. Although the number of pensioners concerned is unknown, the fact that some 1300 pensioners of French nationality live in France gives some idea of the potential scale of the problem.

The promised payment of claims directly from a CERN account, rather than transiting via a UNIQA account, has not materialised yet. The reason is the delay that CERN has been experiencing with the implementation of the Accesspay project for the Pension Fund (which has priority).

Reminder: Keep abreast of CHIS matters on the very informative website www.cern.ch/chis and follow your CHIS account at www.uniqa.ch

 

Information sessions (permanences)

Jean-Francois MICHAUD

(original French)

Since the last bulletin there has been little change in affairs concerning the Information Sessions. The same persons hold the fort, as usual, Messrs. René Barthelemy, Michel Boffard and Jean-Francois Michaud.

For both new GAC-EPA members and all retired members the team holds sessions on the first Tuesday of the month in the Staff Association meeting room, Main Building, 64/R-010, except in January, July and August. It may happen that the date changes but this is always announced in the ECHO magazine.

This year the main issues treated were:

The French tax problem concerning CSG and CRDS taxation was frequently brought up and many came to ask how affairs were progressing with our lawyer, Maitre Tessier.

We tried as best as possible to reply to nearly all the questions.

The atmosphere of the sessions is always very friendly and this year again we were pleased to welcome all those who came in search of help.

C2S ACTION GROUP

Composition of the c2s Collectivity:

Michaud Jean François (spokesperson), Goujon Marc (active member)

Advisors: Vitasse Michel, Gouache Jean-Claude.

As a reminder:

This group was created in 2014 to assist pensioners who were newly subjected to the CSG and CRDS tax on their CERN pensions by the French tax authorities and to defend their interests.

What was the situation in spring of this year?

The lawyer gave the following information:“As far as the ongoing case is concerned, I am waiting for the rejection of my request to appeal to the Amiable Appeals Board which should also reject it. I am therefore already preparing the conclusions which I will submit to the TASS and which I will submit to you for comments and/or approval.“

It should be remembered that one case only is being defended, that of Mr. Jean Terrier, and if successful, the other cases could possibly be settled at the same time.

And what is the situation in autumn of this year?

Since the first rejection, two other appeals have been presented, the last one in October. As with the previous appeal, the acknowledgment of receipt was dismissed by the SS Administrative Court without further action. In the meantime, as announced, MaîtreTessier drafted a referral, which he submitted to us for comments and approval.

At the time of writing this paper (2016-11-03), Maître Tessier has sent this message:

Today, I received the acknowledgment of my referral, justifying that the TASS has accepted this document.  I am waiting to receive the convocation to the hearing and will not fail to keep you informed. [sic]

So this is the latest news about this issue.

"Patience and waiting count more than force or anger."

Membership Fees

Your attention please:

Pity! Please take care of our treasurer by taking into account that the annual fee has been CHF30 from 2014;  many of you still pay only 25CHF.

Please, modify your standing orders

The GAC-EPA accounts are the following :

postal: No 12-20556-6

Bank: IBAN : CH47 0027 9279 C710 9245 0

 

Obituary

For the list of deceased beneficiairies of the Pension Fund consult the list of deaths.

If you wish to write a word of sympathy to the bereaved family you can send it via the CERN Pension Fund, which has their address but is not authorised to give it to third parties.

In this bulletin we also pay tribute to Herbert Herz, well-known French Resistance fighter and CERN engineer.

 

Reader’s letters

This section is reserved for you. We want to present the letters sent by of our enthusiastic retirees we retain in the whithin the framework of general interest.

Enjoy

Dear colleagues

The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of a problem, which we generally thought little of when we were young, active members of CERN.  But it seems to me that now is the time to talk about it.

At our age, we all risk a loss of judgement, or different kinds of dementia.  We must think of this eventuality, the consequence of which would be a loss of individual autonomy.  Eventually we will need someone who can act on our behalf and represent us in our social environment.  If we do not appoint such a person in advance, our social institutions will intervene and appoint a Guardian to guide us.  Although this is in our best interests, it is often difficult to accept, especially because we do not know this person beforehand, appointed ex officio; we will see him/her as an intruder into our private lives.  I know several colleagues and friends who, by such an appointment, have been affected by the unforeseen and have had difficulty getting accustomed with this change in their lives.

Preparation for the possibility of loss of judgment should be as important as the establishment of a will or the foreseen wishes of the patient.

The choice of the trusted person by whom we will be guided is the first—and most important—stage of action to be considered.  Our choice will largely depend on our personal situation.  We will ask ourselves questions such as: do I live alone or with my family? Can I count on a person who is particularly close to me, personally and geographically, and to whom I can reasonably ask to undertake such a task? Obviously, if I am married, I will first think of my spouse/partner, but, being my age, she/he may have the same problems at the same time as me.  If I have children, I will think of them, but I have to consider their professional and family responsibilities as well as the distance between their home and mine.  A neutral person, not necessarily a member of my family, could be a good choice—perhaps a person with social or legal professional experience, perhaps the executor of my will… An interview with him/her may in any case be useful.  Or contact with an organization like Pro Senectute or Pro Infirmis.  Or with the CERN Social Services.  Maybe my local town hall (Mairie) or the Parish where I reside could offer help?

The second stage of preparation for the possibility of a loss of judgement is the drafting of the mandate due to incapacity.  If it is entirely handwritten, authentication by a notary is not even necessary (but nevertheless could be useful).  The format is open, so the document can contain additional information to guide the Guardian.  Above all, it must be kept in a place where one can be sure to find it when needed.

I ask myself what would happen in the absence of such a mandate.  Living in Geneva, I was mainly interested in the legal situation in this canton; elsewhere, it may be different.  In 2013 Swiss legislation has undergone significant changes.  The new legislation strengthens the right of everyone to seek the help of his family without state intervention and to make his own arrangements.  In the case of absence of such provisions, the Court of Protection of the Adult and the Child (TPAE) in Geneva will intervene.  It will appoint a Guardian and define the range of his/her competences and theirs limits.

With the mandate for incapacity, I would be able to propose to the TPAE a person to designate as Guardian if necessary.  The terms of reference may contain additional information which would include my preferences and priorities.

The mandate could, for example, have the following form:

I, NN, born on ..., living in ..., requests the TPAE in the event that:

I become incapable of judgement or unable to ex- press my wishes in a clear manner, and that

My spouse/partner is pre-deceased or is unable to represent me,

to nominate

Mr/ Mrs XYZ as Guardian in my favour.

I leave it up to TPAE to define the scope of this guardianship, taking into account my state of health.

I request Mr/ Mrs XYZ to take into consideration the following circumstances :

Place, date and signature ...

Dear former colleagues, consider this letter as the communication from a colleague who is in the same situation as you, having little experience in legal matters; do not take it as an authority.

Look for additional information in your country of residence with competent persons, and act accordingly.

Jörg Schmid