English: Morna Robillard, William Blair, David Dallman.
Photos credits, tables: CERN, ESO, PFGB, CHIS, B. Ducret
Printing: CERN printshop
The editorial staff is in no way responsible for the texts, drawings, graphics and photos published. The sole responsibilty lies with the authors. All elements constituting this publication are the property of GAC-EPA and cannot be used without the express written authorization of the publisher.
“Een nieuwe lente en een nieuw geluid” words written towards the end of the 19th century by my compatriot Herman Gorter (a poet who later in his life became a militant Communist). In English : “a new spring and a new sound”. This phrase is among the most celebrated in Dutch literature.
What is it that we hear in spring 2015? A lot of noise, punctuated by slogans which are not really new : ”CERN people are privileged” “their salaries and pensions should be reduced“. These slogans are fueled by feelings of jealousy and an exclusively financial vision of the Organisation, if not of the world. Let us take these noises seriously, but do not let us be submerged, and let us prepare a firm and dignified response.
Fortunately, if you listen carefully, there are other sounds in spring 2015. Such as the voice of the next Director-General of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti, who gave us the pleasure of taking part in our AGM in March. In her speech she emphasised the need for continuity at the time of retirement; as retirees we remain full members of the CERN community. Also she stimulated us to continue, as retirees, to spread the good news of CERN by communicating our enthusiasm in our local and family environment.
Here are the sounds in the sense of my compatriot: let us use our potential and our competence to contribute towards building a harmonious, just and peaceful world. And at the same time we have to block with force and determination the destructive noises which menace us. All of us together !
I have just learnt of the intervention of a delegate at the CERN Council meeting in December 2014 : “One of the root causes of that problem, in his view, was that key information to the Council on matters such as the C coefficient, for instance, was systematically provided by CERN staff, whom he did not consider to be impartial. Similarly, the legal experts who had produced the study of acquired rights in 2006 had been paid by the Staff Association.”
To put in question in such a way the integrity of CERN staff, at the same time giving wrong information, is completely unacceptable behaviour, and will provoke a vigorous reaction.
The start of 2015 was again marked by painful events in Europe (France and Denmark) and in the world (Syria, Yemen etc.). This barbarism is unfortunately the result of a combination of factors: ignorance, falsehoods propagated by shameful interests, the extreme imbalance of a globalised economic system, and the rule of law and order being constantly weakened by greed.
Nevertheless the means of communication have never been so powerful and democratic. For this reason one should have expected an elevation in human nature, and improved awareness: but no, it is the worst of human nature which has prevailed. The internet, to give only this example, and
which one could have hoped would be a formidable means of facilitating constructive dialogue for humanity (let us remember all the same that it emerged form the world of science), has also become today a vector of all sorts of evil.
If I begin this pessimistic editorial in this way, it is that I wish to react and that our modest publication should become, in contrast, a useful vector of information for our readers. Beyond reports on the work of the Committee of our Association which are always read with much interest, such as the list of those who have left us, I would like it to open other doors in many fields to the benefit of everyone.
Yesterday we began to talk about the experiences of some of us retirees, and I note encouraging feedback to the editor via a certain number of very positive comments. Thus in this issue we continue in this vein with an article of a different type, presenting a humanitarian organisation in which one of our members is active.
Today, what about opening some new columns in our bulletin, for example on “Health”, “Reuniting with friends” or any other suggestions you may have?
Let me know your ideas!
I wish you a Happy New Year and good reading.
What about ESO?
As in previous years, we held a New Year gettogether on the 12th January, attended by over 20 ESO retirees.
Following the acquisition of Vanbreda International by Cigna, the ESO health insurance scheme is now officially known as the Cigna scheme. Apart from the name, little should change. There have, however, been some recent reports of poor or slow response time. Hopefully these are simply due to the transition phase between Vanbreda and Cigna, but they are being closely watched.
Health Working Group
The ESO Health Working Group monitors the working of the ESO healthcare scheme. Recent meetings have addressed the following issues, amongst others.
Health insurance coverage for staff who retire with a deferred pension
According to the ESO Rules and Regulations, active and retired staff are entitled to the cover of the ESO health insurance scheme. As at CERN, staff members who leave the organisation before retirement and take a deferred pension cannot re-join the scheme at the time of retirement once they have left. The rules for continued membership in the healthcare scheme in the bridging period before they start to receive their pension have been somewhat ad hoc in the past and are not clearly defined as they are at CERN. ESO Human Resources Department is looking into clarifying this situation and including the option of extending healthcare coverage in the case of early retirement.
Long Term Care
When the Long Term Care insurance was originally introduced at ESO, the benefits were closely modelled on the German Pflegeversicherung. It was agreed at that time that the ceilings for benefits should be revised every 5 years. In the past 5 years the benefits of the German scheme have been increased and so it is now opportune to review those of the Long Term Care insurance. The Health Working Group is awaiting a proposal on this from Human Resources Department and Cigna.
The possibility was also discussed of having an increase in the level of the benefits with a voluntary increase in the contributions. After checking with Cigna, Human Resources Department indicated that this seems not possible for ESO staff because it would lead to a major increase in the premium due to the small number of staff members in the ESO scheme. No figures were quoted though.
There are no specific rules about alternative medicine and so it is not clear what is reimbursed and what is not. Human Resources Department and Cigna will propose clearer rules about this subject. For the time being it is important to notice that there is now a list available on the Cigna website with a list of treatments for which no reimbursement is given.
Proposals for changes of specific reimbursements
Glasses: If within a calendar year there is a significant change of sight certified by an Ophthalmologist, the reimbursement of a second set of lenses should be allowed.
Speech therapy: The definition of the underlying medical reason as only physical seems too restrictive. The Health Working Group would like this definition to be broadened.
Dental care: The current yearly reimbursement limit seems to the Health Working Group to be rather low. It has proposed that it should be made possible to carry forward any unused credit to the following year (as in the case of some other treatments) so that the limit would be effectively doubled over any two-year period.
Human Resources Department will investigate the implications of these changes and, if there is no major cost impact, introduce corresponding changes in the Cigna contract.
New ESO Visitor Centre
The foundations of an ESO Visitor Centre and Planetarium, called the ESO Supernova, have recently been laid in Garching and is due for completion in 2017. Advice and assistance from retired ESO staff, especially those living in the Munich area, has been specifically requested by the project organisers. More information can be found on the Supernova website: supernova.eso. org.
News in brief and activities of the Committee — (November 2014 to April 2015)
In reading this bulletin you will observe that the worrying topics concerning our Social Security which were covered in our previous editions remain current; it is principally our Pension Fund which is the target of some Member State delegations, and hence of the CERN Council, and this in spite of the agreements negotiated and the commitments taken in 2010/2011. So this is not the time to “lay down our arms”, for in the months to come we shall have to defend our acquired rights in social security (questioned ceaselessly).
In the following we summarise some aspects of the activities of the Committee, some of which are further developed under specific headings.
The secretariat is available for further information.
Results of the 2014 elections, composition of the new Committee, and the assignment of functions to the “Committee” and the “Auditors”
The present Committee is in place since 1 January 2015. This followed the elections end-November 2014, which were destined to renew 8 elected members whose mandates were to end on 31 December 2014 and to elect one member to fill a vacancy. Thus were elected, in total, 9 Committee members.
As indicated in our previous Bulletin and subsequent to our appeal for candidates in August 2014, 12 candidates came forward, including the 8 members whose mandate was terminating. The latter were all reelected, plus one elected from the new candidates. The counting of votes tookplace on November 2014.
The result of this election was as follows:
Comité / Committee
LEECH O NEALE
Vérificateurs / Auditors
The Committee, at its meeting of December 5 2014, took note of this result; and in addition it decided, as permitted by the Statutes of the Association, to co-opt the two candidates who came 10th and 11th. It also proceeded to the assignment of functions : most members continue with the same functions as before, and the following changes should be noted :
Claude Genier having resigned from his appointment to the Governing Board of the Pension Fund (PFGB), this post is now held by Michel Baboulaz. Furthermore, Claude Genier having also left his post as delegate to the Staff Association Council, this post became vacant and remains so at least for the time being.
Christian Roy, newly elected member, is our representative on the Legal Affairs Commission of the Staff Association; his deputy is Jean-Claude Gouache (previously the representative).
Morna Robillard, co-opted member, is our second delegate to the CHIS Board.
Francois Wittgenstein, not a member of the Committee, until 2014 was responsible for our relations with the HUG and the CERN Medical Service; He wished to give up this task, so this function too is vacant.
As to the Council of the Staff Association, we currently have only 6 delegates, 7 being possible.
Thus as of January 1 2015 the Committee is composed of 21 elected members, 2 co-opted members, and one member with a standing invitation.
At these elections we also had to elect an auditor. Of the four candidates who came forward, Ernst Radermacher had the highest number of votes, as shown in the table below. He has thus been elected for the years 2015 and 2016, and, as foreseen in the statutes, we have thus again two auditors, Ernst Radermacher and Guy Salomon, the latter having been elected in 2013 for the years 2014 and 2015.
We have also to alert you to the feeble participation in these elections and would like to encourage the 70% of members of the Association who did not vote to do so at the next elections; this would only reinforce the Committee in its actions to defend the interests of pensioners.
Last minute : Extract of the Committee meeting of the 10 avril 2015 :
Gertjan had received an email from François Ghinet wherein he explained his decision to resign as an elected member of the Committee due to his move away from the Geneva region which now gave him little opportunity to regularly attend the GAC-EPA Committee meetings and the Pensions Commission.
Gertjan understood François’ point of view and reasoning and accepted his decision to resign. He thanked him most sincerely for his work within the Committee and the Pensions Commission where he had always stood up firmly for the interests of the pensioners.
Decision of the Committee:
François’ resignation leaves open an elected member’s seat on the Committee which falls to the next-in-line, runner-up candidate, Morna Robillard (co-opted in the distribution of the previous functions); as of now, Morna is, therefore, our 9th elected candidate from the last elections; she continues with her tasks of delegate on the CHIS Board and shall assume the functions of our 7th delegate on the Council of the Staff Association.
Morna has accepted the decision and was unanimously congratulated by the Committee.
The Secretary will take the necessary steps to inform the Staff Association of the Committee’s decision
GAC-EPA annual general meeting (AGM)
The AGM took place on March 18 2015 following the invitation sent to members of the Association dated February 16 2015.
The minutes of the 2015 AGM have been sent to you together with the present bulletin.
We invite you to refer to the attached minutes for further information about the topics presented at this AGM.
Please retain these minutes which we shall be asking you to approve at the next AGM which will be held at the end of March 2016 (date not yet fixed).
Relations with the Staff Associations of CERN and of ESO
The association GAC-EPA is closely linked to the two Staff Associations because, notably in the area of social security, the interests of retirees are at one with the interests of the active staff of CERN and of ESO; we believe in this respect that it is of prime importance that current staff members continue to benefit from working conditions which are at the level of the renown of the Organisations (CERN and ESO) which are centres of excellence.
Therefore we maintain the necessary contacts with the two Staff Associations. GAC-EPA is attached to the CERN Staff Association, and in consequence we take part in the work of its Staff Council, in its various Committees as well as the Mutual Aid Fund and the Working Group on Pension Guarantees whenever the agendas have points which could interest retirees. The Pension Committee and that of Social Security are those which meet most often; the first prepares our interventions in the Governing Board of the Pension Fund, and in the second we make our contribution in preparation for the meetings of the CHIS Board, on which 2 of our members represent us.
In our previous bulletin we recounted the criticisms made of the Pension Fund since the end of 2013 (and these still continue); some Member State delegations do not hesitate to put in question acquired rights, going as far as to envisage drastic measures such as: denunciation of the 2010/2011 agreements, notably the payment by the Organisation of 60 MCF per year until 2041 in order to reach 100% cover of the Fund changing the Fund from one with “priority to benefits” to a fund with “priority to contributions”, aiming thus to destroy the guaranteed amount of our pensions whilst restructuring the management of the Fund, putting into question the participation of members and beneficiaries could be added to their menu.
At the beginning of 2015 the situation deteriorated further, since the Pension Fund is still in the line of sight of the CERN Council, despite our open joint Staff Association/GAC-EPA letter of December 8 2014 sent to the delegations, emphasising our opposition to any attack on our acquired rights.
This critical situation is now at the centre of the preoccupations of the Pensions Commission which is reflecting on how effectively to oppose the belligerent intentions of some delegations, or indeed of Council itself.
Relations with the CERN Administration
Reminder : In order to avoid difficulties in accessing the CERN sites, check the validity of your personal access card and of your vehicle’s pass : the formalities for these documents are made at Building 55, on presenting an identity document and the vehicle papers.
The Operational Circular No. 2 “Conditions of access to the fenced part of the CERN sites” (second revision) came into force on 1 September 2014; there have been some problems in applying this which we are committed to resolving. For example, as CERN pensioners we are not quite on equal footing with the active staff : we are given only one car pass instead of two as for active staff. This difference can pose a problem in certain situations, and we have given the administration the details of specific cases.
Relations with the Governing Board of the Pension Fund (PFGB)
Via Michel Baboulaz, our new representative on the Governing Board of the Pension Fund, we follow closely the work of the PFGB which oversees the Fund.
The PFGB is also particularly preoccupied by the agitations which are rocking the Pension Fund since the system of governing the Fund could be put in question, and the CERN Council has asked it to have an actuary evaluate the financial impact of changing the Fund from one with “priority to benefits” to one with “priority to contributions”.
We invite you to refer to the article by Michel Baboulaz on the Pension Fund in order to find out about the latest developments (notably in March) on this question which is exceedingly sensitive for current beneficiaries of the Pension Fund as well as for current staff and future retirees.
Relations with the CHIS Board
The CHIS board is also a body with which we are in regular contact via our two delegates, David Jacobs and Morna Robillard; as indicated in our previous bulletin (and we remind you here), the CHIS Board has seen its role reduced in 2014 following various reports from the external and internal auditors. Whilst previously the CHIS Board made proposals to modify its own regulations, it is now reduced to giving its opinion on proposals made by the Administration.
The CHIS-Bull, the information bulletin of CERN’s health insurance scheme, regularly informs us of the situation of the Health Insurance Fund. Its issue number 38 of June 2014 contained an article on the liability of some CERN pensioners living in France to pay the French social security CSG and CRDS taxes. The content of this article made us react a first time via our delegates, and issue number 39, which again contained elements which we believed were wrong, led us to send a letter to the Chairman of the CHIS Board on January 2015.
Relations with current and future pensioners
We thank those who participated in our informal meeting on November 26 2014 ; this enabled us to transmit to you the latest information on the Pension Fund and the Health Insurance Fund, notably by summarising events till November 2014. Many of you participated in our end-year drink, always a good opportunity to exchange a few words between old colleagues and friends.
We shall continue to keep you informed as efficiently as possible of everything important via the usual channels:
the present bi-annual Bulletin
the ECHO bulletin of the Staff Association
email if we have your email address. You can still give us this via the contact form on the welcome page of our web-site
our web-site (where you are now)
The Information Sessions have restarted in 2015 since 3 February : several people have already come to consult our four “devoted regular colleagues”. You can consult the calendar on our web-site for the dates of these sessions which are normally held on the first Tuesday of each month apart from January, July and August.
In 2015 we asked the secretariat of the Staff Association to reissue Staff Association cards, which sometimes permit one to get good commercial deals. This will be done only for those of you who requested these in 2014, since as of the start of 2015 we have received very few new requests.
Looking forward to the next bulletin at the end of November 2015!
As announced at the AGM our Pension Fund achieved a 3.31% return in 2014 which was more than the 3% above inflation target at Geneva. The tables below show the monthly investment performance and the asset class performance, as well as the net value of the Fund’s assets. Note that the significant drop of the asset allocation in October was caused by a sharp reduction of equities.
At the start of the year the decisions taken by two central banks upset the financial markets. In January the Swiss National Bank abandoned support of the Swiss Franc ceiling at CHF1.20 to 1€ which brought about a drop in value of shares quoted in Switzerland. This had an impact on the Swiss Franc value of stocks and shares quoted in Euros. The Fund was able to limit losses due to its protective measures against exchange rate fluctuations. Then, the Central European Bank (CEB) announced a programme to buy back state loans through new issue of notes. This influenced an influx of Euros mainly on to the equities market since rates for bonds still remain very low. On 24 March the European index Stoxx Europe 600 rose by 17% since the start of the CEB’s “quantity easing” policy programme. Therefore, we see a strong and continual increase in the equity market which should give favourable returns to the Fund’s equity as long as the tendency does not suddenly turn around.
Administration of the Fund
The Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB) organized for its members in January a seminar on global risk evaluation of fund investments. The ORTEC Company gave the seminar; they are mandated to give quarterly risk estimations to the Fund.
The subject idea was based on a number of scenarios and simulations which were compared to the forecast of an imminent hurricane. Hundreds of scenarios were imagined, as different and realistic as possible, and based on the current class asset allocation and then valued. The average return over one year of 5% of the least favourable was then calculated. It did not overshoot the present risk level set by the PFGB (at present -8%)
The PFGB also took part in the recruitment of a new Administrator for the Fund (now known as CEO (Chief Executive Officer). After a first refusal, a second search meant that a person was found who could take up the functions at the end of this summer.
The present CEO, ad interim, Thierry Lagrange, presented the PFGB with replies backed up by figures to questions made by certain Member State delegations at Council. It consisted of giving statistics from 2008 to 2014, see the following extract:
Requests from Council
Both Expert reports requested by Council concerning possible changes to the Pension Fund need to be given very close attention by GACEPA and the Staff Association as the results could spark off studies, legal battles or other actions as a means of defence. The legal expertise has been given a wide mandate with the aim of reducing future and even present benefits offered by the Fund to move from a defined benefit scheme to a defined contribution scheme. The actuarial expertise is mandated to quantify the costs linked to such above-mentioned changes to the Fund’s scheme.
The Health Insurance Scheme
The end-of-year transition to the new contract for the management of our Health Insurance Scheme with UNIQA has been proceeding smoothly. The main contract, comprising the contractual conditions and the description of the services, has been signed and the same will soon be true for the rider describing additional support services and “télémédecine”.
When you need information about the Scheme, nothing is more annoying than to come across “facts” presented differently according to where you look. The culprit is often the copying of information to multiple locations, without provision for updating. While the UNIQA helpdesk is always there to give aid by telephone, email or in person, if you do have access to the Web, the quickest method is usually to go to the UNIQA website at www.uniqa.ch from which you can click on the CERN symbol (UNIQA partner) to reach the CERN website fully describing our Scheme and allowing you to print out forms for Claims, Dental estimates, etc.. Also from the UNIQA website you can log-in for Member Access, or create an account if you have not already done so. In the Member Space you can see details of the insurance cover, claims and documents for you and your family. Further improvements to the websites are being worked on. The periodically published CHIS Bulletin is another source of reliable information.
Our Health Insurance Scheme in 2014: the numbers
Following the last 5-yearly review in 2010, Council decided on progressive annual increases in contributions for the years 2011-2015, expressed as a percentage of the reference salaries defined for insured members. In 2014 the percentage applicable to pensioners was 4.70%, with CERN adding a further 8.21%. The last such step in 2015 takes these rates to 4.86% and 8.51% respectively.
The contributions in 2014 once again exceeded expenses, resulting in a surplus of 13.2 MCHF despite an increase in expenses of some 9%. Such surpluses are invested as a buffer against possible future deficits or catastrophic events. The funds are invested with two banks and yielded a very healthy return of almost 5.81% in 2014. 2015 has started less favourably, due to the fall of the Euro and of the stock exchange in mid-January. Nevertheless both funds have subsequently been improving and, as of end-March, they have more or less regained the losses made.
Insured population on 2014-12-31
The number of pensioners continues to decrease slowly, although this was outweighed in 2014 by an increase in the number of active members. The average age of members was unchanged from 2013 at 45y 6m. The age distribution plots for 2014 and 2013 show the expected displacement of the peak around 75y by one year.
pays de résidence au 2014-12-31
fig. 1 Insured population by sex and country
fig. 2 Distribution by age of the insured population
Contributions,medical expenses submitted to CHIS and reimbursements in 2014
Distinguishing active and retired members, one can see how the ratio of contributions to reimbursements changes between the categories, being only 0.77 for pensioners. Pensioners also enjoyed a slightly higher level of cover for costs in 2014 at 89%.
reimbts / costs
fig.3 Contributions, costs and reimbursements
Distribution of reimbursements by type of benefit as a percentage of the total and variation from 2013
For hospitalisation, a significant shift in favour of approved private hospitals is evident as is the significant overall increase in reimbursements of 9.9%.
fig. 4 Distribution of reimbursements by treatment type
The reimbursements were for health care provided mainly in Switzerland (77.4%) and France (18.3%), while other countries accounted for 4.2%. This distribution differs only slightly from that in 2013. When considered alongside the distribution of country of residence of members, it shows a continued strong preference for treatment in Switzerland.
The 9.9% increase in reimbursements, much above the stable 3% increase of health costs in Geneva, appears to have multiple causes, amongst the most important being:
71%. The number of catastrophic cases (>25kCHF/year/insured person) increased sharply to 630 compared with 564 in 2013 (12%). Their total cost increased even more, by 15%. These cases, 5% of the total, together accounted for 50.3% of the total reimbursements, the 15 most serious accounting on their own for 5.6%.
10%. Dental costs increased due to the effect of cumulating ceilings over 3 years.
7%. Maternity costs increased, linked to the population rise in the 30-35 year band.
Hospitalization in 30 different countries was reimbursed, up from 20 in 2013, but Switzerland continued to account for the vast majority of such reimbursements with 87.7% of total (89.2% in 2013).
The plot of reimbursements by age band in 2014 and 2013 clearly shows the rising health costs of the retired population, as well as the peak in the 30-35 year band mentioned above.
Reimbts 2014 kCHF
Reimbts 2013 kCHF
fig. 5 Distribution of reimbursements by age
As in previous years, the numbers given have systematic biases due to the population figures being those known at the end of the year, while the reimbursements are for all beneficiaries throughout the year. UNIQA is presently validating the computing environment for production of improved statistics in 2015, as called for in the technical specification leading to the new contract.
Although mentioned at the AGM, please take note that the Information Sessions’ Commission is composed of Gunilla Santiard, Réné Barthélémy and Michel Boffard, who joined us in 2014. I, JeanFrançois Michaud, am still active in the commission too.
As always, the Information Sessions welcome pensioners every first TUESDAY of the month except in January, July and August.
This year the most frequently asked questions remain:
Bank accounts held abroad
Reimbursement problems with Health Insurance
Installation in France, Switzerland or elsewhere Private problems
How to fill in the Income Tax Declaration form
Problems concerning access to the CERN site
For several years now the problems linked with French tax authorities, and lately with the CSG and CRDS taxes, have recurrently been addressed. This commission has had to hold group meetings to deal with and gain background knowledge on how to follow and explain this particular problematic question.
Thus, a new collective group has been formed and is known as the “Social Security Collectivity (C2S)”
Generally speaking, the members of our commission do everything they can to reply to your questions and sometimes have to re-direct you to others more competent than themselves, or to other services and most of the time you get satisfactory answers.
The general feeling for the past year has been that the commission has given mostly satisfaction to all concerned.
Exchanges during the sessions are friendly and some experiences shared have been rich in content and sometimes helped others with similar questions. Then again, when there is not a queue forming outside and, if time allows, some enjoy a chat over the good old times too!
We wish you all a pleasant 2015.
Presence of GAC-EPA on the Internet
The internet facilities of the GAC-EPA continue to evolve slowly.
For reasons of security but especially to avoid spam, all references to e-mail addresses of the committee are being removed and these addresses no longer work.
To contact people on the committee, you should henceforth use the contact form only. There you can select a committee function and send a message to the people responsible for that function. The link to the contact form can be found on the site's welcome page under the heading "Organization" (you can of course write on paper and by post to: GAC-EPA, c/o Staff Association, CERN, CH-1211 Genève 23)
I take this opportunity to encourage you to send your correct private e-mail address to the secretariat using this form, so that you will be informed in time of important happenings.
You were so sensitive to the contents of the last two pages of our autumn Bulletin that our secretary, Francoise Thévenet, was submerged by emails.
At first she was kind enough to reply to each one, then rapidly had to stop doing so due to the avalanche of emails and letters : priority was given to updating the data base which was her principal preoccupation.
For this reason she asks us to convey to you our apologies that she was unable to reply to each and everyone, and, in the name of the Committee we would like here to say a BIG THANK YOU for your reactions.
Your Committee at work
An assiduous reader noticed errors in the list of those who have left us as it was printed in Bulletin 46.
The corrected and updated list has been sent out in the printed version.
The editor apologises and very much regrets these errors.
The list on the website is of course always as complete and up-to-date as we can make it.
This section is reserved for you. We want to present the exploits of our enthusiastic retirees. There is life after CERN, and for many it is rich in achievements. It is these activities that we wish to present to you with our Reporters column. We go in the field to visit those who want to talk to us about the passions of their retired life.
Report : Cameleon
Voluntary work, another path for retirement
Last time we introduced to you a passionate collector, today, with David Myers, here is another way of spending retirement: to pass from cutting-edge technologies to benevolent work.
David had spent his energy, as a large number of CERN staff do, with his nose to the grindstone to fully assume his responsibilities, with the motivation of bringing his talents as organiser and manager to the Organization. He ended his career in the area of computer security at CERN, with the obsession of trying to convince the CERN management to construct barriers against pirating and malevolent intrusions. The most recent CERN accelerator, the LHC, was his bête noire in this matter, right up to the last minute of his professional activity.
The transition following retirement was hard, and David acknowledges that his first year of adaptation was difficult. To make his mark at home was not easy to achieve. In order to make a clean break with his professional activity, David kept only occasional contact with his former colleagues, and made himself travel even more, but now for pleasure. He intensified leisure pursuits such as mountaineering (more than 40 peaks of over 4000 m), photography, and ballroom dancing with his wife.
In parallel, he put his talents for managing and organising at the service of various organizations (like Innovage for example) and voluntary associations, to finally complete a full and calm work-retirement transition.
Today, apart from his grandchildren and his wife, he is a fervent supporter of an international voluntary organization which takes in disfavoured children in the Philippines who have been victims of sexual abuse. He has become the sponsor of a young local girl whose social life and family he supports financially.
It is about CAMELEON that he speaks with such enthusiasm. He has found the possibility in this organization of both acting humanely at his own modest level and being sure that his aid arrives entirely at the recipient. He maintains close contact with his sponsoree within the framework established by the association. He is proud to contribute in his own way to the struggle against misery in the world.
This association, founded in 1997 by Laurence Ligier, a young French girl then aged 17, has now acquired an international reputation and has been rewarded several times for its efficiency and originality.
We have chosen to give below the coordinates of this organization in case David might be able to count on other sponsors among the retired staff of CERN.
Just as we are going to press we regret to announce the death on the 1st of May of our friend and colleague François Wittgenstein
We remember his long and fervent relationship with our Committee and his commitment within the Pension Fund Governing Board remains engraved in our memories; even though we knew of his recent serious health problems we are deeply saddened by the news.
We send our sincere condolences to his family.
Many of you we know will share our regrets. On behalf of the GAC-EPA Committee