Originally created 03/10/99

Retirees from SRS credited for jobs



AIKEN -- The Savannah River Site's ability to land new jobs results in part from the good work done by its now-retired workers, the Department of Energy's top local manager told the SRS Retirees Association on Tuesday.

Greg Rudy, SRS manager for the DOE, made his remarks before more than 200 members of the retirees association at their annual meeting.

"The role of the SRS is as important today, perhaps even more so than during the Cold War, and that's built on the work you did at the site," he said. "It was your legacy of excellence that positioned the site to do this work."

Where the site's main purpose during the Cold War was to help build safe and reliable nuclear weapons for national defense, today its missions include environmental cleanup and disposing of weapons fuels, Mr. Rudy said.

During the meeting, the retirees association announced its agenda for this year. The group will try to raise its membership from 600 to 750 paying members, improve its newsletter and Web site, maintain a hot line at the site to answer retirement questions, continue seminars on benefit changes and increase lobbying efforts, said Tom Greene, chairman.

"We want to establish ourselves as the retiree watchdog of the site," Mr. Greene said.

The group is the largest retired-employee group in the state, he said.

The association was started 15 months ago when retirees came close to having to pay premiums for their standard medical insurance. The group mobilized a lobbying effort that preserved the premium-free insurance originally promised to the retirees.

"We have made significant progress this past year and established our association as an effective voice," said Bill Quinn, vice chairman of the group.

Todd Bauer is a reporter for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.