• July 12, 2024

    Columbia Southern University is pleased to have Professional Firefighters Association of Mississippi as a Learning Partner. As a member, this partnership provides a reduced tuition, plus many additional benefits. And, for your convenience, all programs are offered in an online format.

    The Learning Partner Program provides exclusive benefits to the employees/members of your organization, as well as all spouses and children. Benefits of the partnership include:

    • 10% tuition discount on all classes and waiver of the Application Fee.
    • Textbooks provided at no cost.
    • Exclusive Scholarship Opportunities for Learning Partner employees/members. Click here for more information.
    • A complimentary evaluation of previously earned college credits and training/professional certifications for consideration of transfer credit.
    • Complimentary access to our Writing and Math specialists through the Student Success Center.
    • A dedicated landing page for Learning Partners on the CSU website for prospective students and student enrollments.

    About CSU

    Columbia Southern University is a completely online university offering associate, bachelor and master degree programs in a wide variety of disciplines. For program information please contact Natasha Willett at Natasha.Willett@ColumbiaSouthern.edu.

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    Updated On: Jun 07, 2023

    Please Watch Your Mail Box for Your Ballot - Complete and Return or Use the Instructions to Vote On-Line.

    We encourage retirees to vote and share the information provided.  Make your choice for the person you believe will best serve the interests of current and future retirees. 

    Ballots for the retiree representative to the PERS Board of Trustees will be mailed out on March 17, 2023.  The deadline for receipt of ballots is April 21, 2023.

    The candidates for RETIREE REPRESENTATIVE are Bonnie Granger and George Dale.  

    Having retired members on the PERS Board that support maintaining existing benefits of PERS for current and future retirees is critically essential.  

    MRPEA is providing Candidate Qualifications, Candidate Surveys, and historical information about the recent vote of the PERS Board to increase employer contribute rates:  

    Bonnie J. Granter (Ocean Springs)

    -Loyola University School of Law, Juris Doctorate
    The University of Southern Mississippi, master's
    Hattiesburg Public School District, chief financial officer
    Certified Public Accountant
    Attorney, Mississippi, and Louisiana

    I have vast knowledge and experience in government finance.  My career began with the State Auditor's Office and transitioned into public school district finance, where I served three districts as Finance Director.  I received my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi and my law degree from Loyola University.  I am a licensed CPA and an attorney in Mississippi.  My experience gives me an unparalleled advantage in understanding the PERS system.  I strongly support maintaining both the health and member benefits of the PERS system for current and future retirees.  Thank you for your support.  

    George R. Dale (Clinton)

    -Mississippi College, master's
    Mississippi Department of Insurance, commissioner
    Moss Point High School:  teacher, coach, and principal 
    Administrative Assistant to Governor Bill Waller

    I am completing my first term as a member of the PERS Board.  It has been an honor to serve.  During my term, I have not missed a board meeting.  When I started on the PERS Board, we had a cash reserve of approximately 26.5 billion dollars.  That amount has increased to around 36 billion dollars.  This board has been very conservative with your retirement funds.  I have championed the idea that retired teachers collect their pension but be allowed to work under contract with the public school system.  I would appreciate your vote.  

    Recent vote of the PERS Board to increase employer contribution rates: At its meeting on December 20, 2022, the PERS Board, based on recommendations of the system’s actuaries and staff, voted to increase employer contributions to make PERS benefits sustainable now and into the future. An excerpt from the PERS Board Meeting Minutes that includes the vote of each member is below for your review.


    Minutes | Board of Trustees

    Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi

    December 20, 2022 | PERS Board Room

    Page 4

    Motion: To increase the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi employer contribution rate from 17.4 percent to 22.4 percent as of October 1, 2023.

    ·       Made by: McCoy.

    ·       Seconded by: Hanna.

    ·       Discussion: None.

    ·       Voting for: Benson, Breland, Hanna, Howard, McCoy, Rutledge, and Smith.

    ·       Voting against: Dale, Graham, and McRae.

    ·       Absent: None.

    ·       Duly Passed

    Candidate Surveys:


    George Dale’s Answer

    Bonnie Granger’s Answer

    Do you philosophically support defined benefit plans vs. converting to a 401-K plan?



    If elected, will you support the State maintaining the current retirement system benefits including the Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA)?

    Yes, unless necessary to save the plan


    Do you believe that benefits should ever be reduced for:

         Existing Retirees?



         Current Retirees?



         Future Retirees?


    No, unless no other option

    Do you support adjusting employer contribution rates in accordance with the recommendations of the actuary and state law should that become necessary in the future to maintain the current solvency of the system?

    Yes. While actuary recommendation is important, there are many factors to consider.


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