The Remington v. Swindle litigation challenging the actions of the PEEHIP Board is still making its way through the courts. On Thursday, November 12, both sides filed another round of legal briefs with the court. A hearing is tentatively set for December 9 for Judge Johnny Hardwick to hear arguments from both sides’ attorneys on the issues raised in the briefs.
As a reminder, AEA President Sheila Remington, both as an individual and as president of AEA, filed a lawsuit alleging that the PEEHIP Board violated the Open Meetings Act when it met on April 27 and increased out-of-pocket costs to members. The lawsuit is based on the fact that the PEEHIP Board met in secret at 9:30 that morning, not in open session at 1:00, as it said it would in its public notice. AEA was told it could not attend the closed morning session of that meeting and PEEHIP Board members have said that there was debate on the PEEHIP staff’s cost increase plan, in violation of the law. No other organization has stepped up in this fight to make sure that the law is followed and for educators to be able to keep the much-deserved pay raise they were granted by the Legislature, rather than having it be eaten up by additional healthcare costs. While PEEHIP has been able to deduct the additional costs from member’s paychecks, Judge Hardwick ordered PEEHIP not to spend those funds and to keep them in an interest-bearing account. That means refunds can be made promptly if the lawsuit is successful, a major victory for AEA members.
The Journal will continue to follow this story closely. Members are encouraged to continue contacting their PEEHIP Board members to tell them how they feel about these increases, about how they were enacted, and about how AEA stands ready to work with PEEHIP to address funding issues in a way that does not cancel out their hard-earned pay raise.
An update on the PEEHIP lawsuit will be featured in every issue of the Journal until the litigation is concluded. Breaking news will be delivered by e-mail and social media. “Like” Alabama Education Association on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @myAEA.