On June 7, 1961, founder and first President Elsie Wiley held the first membership meeting at the Puppet Theater in Balboa Park. Approximately 75 people were in attendance and the agenda included topics of pending legislation related to retiree interests. At that time, the Association shared office space with the County Employees Association above the Mildred Street Credit Union and communicated via a column in the active employee’s newsletter.
In July 1970, Ed Rush and his wife produced and distributed the first NETWORK newsletter. Every month for the next 15 years, Ed and Kaye authored, typed, duplicated, and distributed the NETWORK from their home.
In December 1973, the Association’s name officially changed from San Diego County Retired Employees Association (SDCREA) to Retired Employees of San Diego County (REOSDC). The “O” disappeared several years later.
Two years later, long-time member Bob Macdonald and Ed Rush designed the Association emblem, the shield (protection) containing a wheel (progress) and a chain (unity). The symbol has experienced some design changes over the years but remains the center feature of our logo today.
Over the years, the leaders and dedicated volunteers of RESDC have carried on the tradition of the founding members who realized that retired employees have unique interests and concerns separate from those of active employees. They took on some lofty goals to advocate on behalf of retirees at the local and state level, but their active involvement and political acumen led to meaningful modification to the 1937 Act retirement law for the benefit of retirees in 20 member counties.
In 1965, legislation amended the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (known as the 1937 Act) to allow an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) to retiree pensions. The COLA increase or decrease was not to exceed 2% and was to be determined each year before April 1st by the Board of Supervisors using consumer statistical data.
In 1967, a further legislative amendment allowed for a COLA up to 6%, due to a period of high national inflation. Finally, after much lobbying by our Association’s members, the County Employees Association and our Association President Ed Rush, the County authorized its first 3% COLA in 1972.