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2006 narse Meeting Minutes

Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, June 8, 2007 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:08 a.m.

In Attendance: Bill Barker, Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Ron Olbrysh, and Mel Schultz

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Tom Douglas, John Freeman, Art Levin, Tom Myers, Tom Nally, Lee Numbers, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Sandra Wheeler, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Our financials and membership are stable. More than 90% of the dues we collect are used for communication purposes. The remaining amount pays for our office expenses, including the monthly charge for the conference room where our meetings are held; charges for the monthly toll-free conference calls; and the maintenance of our web site. NARSE has no paid employees.

10th ANNUAL MEETING UPDATE: The 10th annual meeting to be held in Atlanta, Georgia August 7 will begin at 9:30 a.m. The agenda will include a video history of the NARSE organization during its 10-year existence. The keynote speaker will be Robert “Bob” Romasco, a member of the AARP’s Board of Directors. He is a prolific speaker and his presentation will include a discussion of Medicare, Social Security and pension reform, and AARP’s position on these issues. His presentation will be followed by a question and answer period

Our luncheon speaker has been listed by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 outstanding stand-up comedians in the country. He is an activist, philosopher, anti-drug crusader, comedian, author, recording artist and nutritionist. He was the first comedian to appeal to both black and white audiences. We are pleased to have DICK GREGORY as our luncheon speaker who will share his wit and wisdom with the group. Gregory has been a close friend of George O’Hare, a NARSE Vice President, for the past 40 years.

We have a photographer to take still pictures at the Annual Meeting. In addition, we will be videotaping the keynote and luncheon speakers. The Board suggested that NARSE make these videotapes available to the Sears retiree clubs around the country. Ron Olbrysh suggested that an edited version be made available for distribution on a request basis.

And finally, a press release will go out to the media near the end of July, about our Annual Meeting in Atlanta. George O’Hare will disseminate the release.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The next issue of Straight Talk will be published during September 2007. It will include pictures and articles about our Atlanta 10th Annual Meeting, in addition to the latest news about Sears and any updates on the life insurance issue.

RETIREE LIFE INSURANCE: Many retirees are concerned and/or confused about whether replacement life insurance terminates at the end of the 10-year reduction period. The Board suggested that Sears be contacted about this issue. Ron will contact Sears.

NARSE PROMOTIONAL LEAFLET: A marketing piece describing who NARSE is and what the organization has to offer was shown to the Board. Mel Schultz prepared it. The leaflet was designed as a handout rather than a mail-out. The only Board suggestion was to include NARSE’s accomplishments. Ron will provide these accomplishments to Mel who will include them in this marketing brochure.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:43 p.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, May 11, 2007 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.

In Attendance: Bill Barker, Bud Defano, George O’Hare, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz, and Keith Tice.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Tom Douglas, Richard Foulke, Art Levin, Tom Myers, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Sandra Wheeler, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Due to vacations, no report was available.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that there were 4,071 visits to the website in April continuing the trend of monthly visits in excess of 4,000.

10th ANNUAL MEETING UPDATE: The 10th annual meeting to be held in Atlanta, Georgia August 7 will begin at 9:30 a.m. and be in session until approximately 11:15. The meeting will open with a video history of the NARSE organization and introduction of the founders of the organization. A keynote speaker from AARP will be a special feature of the meeting. Following the annual meeting, the Atlanta “Big Club” Sears retiree group will join us for lunch, where “senior” comedian Dick Gregory will address both groups during the luncheon. At the conclusion of the luncheon, the “Big Club” will convene their meeting. As plans are finalized, further information will be made available on the NARSE website.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: Tentatively, the next issue of Straight Talk will be eight pages and be distributed in July. Primary emphasis would feature the 10th Anniversary Annual Meeting and related details. A big issue later in the summer would cover the Atlanta meeting and contain many pictures of the event.

RETIREE LIFE INSURANCE: In late March, 2007 retirees received a cover letter advising the final value of the Sears Retiree Group Life Insurance, the current value of the Retiree Replacement Life Insurance and a Summary Plan Description (SPD) for the Sears Retiree Group Life Insurance Plan and Replacement Plan. Because of the language “right to change or terminate the Plan at any time and for any reason” which appeared in the SPD, Chairman Olbrysh wrote the Plan Administrator asking for clarification and correction of this statement. In addition, a request was made that the retirees receive an official notice that the company will not modify, amend, suspend, or terminate the insurance plan at any time as stipulated in the court-approved Stipulation of Settlement.

At meeting time, no answer has been received. However, there is still one more day before the answer has to be back to NARSE. The stipulated response time to written questions was thirty days according to the SPD.

SEARS RETIREE ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE: A one-hour conference call on April 26 with Stan Aldis, the Headquarters contact person, Bob Luce and Mike McCullogh gave council members updates on Sears and K Mart year 2006 results, the pension plan, life insurance and the medical coverage for 2008. It was reported that the pension plan is 90% funded, life insurance is as promised and the medical coverage plan for 2008 is being developed. Additionally, there will be quarterly conference calls with the council and three Retiree News newspapers will be published and distributed over the next year. Consideration for a week of September 24 SRAC meeting in some yet to be announced location was also announced as a part of the conference call.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, June 8, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, March 9, 2007 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.

In Attendance: Dick Bruce, Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz, Dave Silgers and Keith Tice.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, William Barker, Richard Foulke, Art Levin, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Nancy Weston, Sandra Wheeler, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Due to differences in timing of the printing and mailing of Straight Talk, there were some negatives in finances and paid members. February paid members totaled 92, which was down from last year’s membership increase of 696. This is attributable to the newsletter mailing in November, 2006 versus December, 2005, which influenced February, 2006 membership results.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that there were 4,205 visits to the website in February continuing monthly visits in excess of 4,000.

10th ANNUAL MEETING UPDATE: The 10th annual meeting to be held in Atlanta, Georgia August 7 will begin at 9:30 a.m. The agenda is being developed and will include a video history of the NARSE organization. Following the meeting, the Atlanta “Big Club” Sears retiree group will join us for lunch. NARSE’s keynote speaker will address both groups during the luncheon hour. At the conclusion of the luncheon, the “Big Club” will convene their meeting. As plans are finalized, further information about the meeting will be made available on the NARSE website.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The next issue of Straight Talk planned for distribution the week of March 12 will feature articles on the 10th Annual NARSE meeting, proper procedure for suspending or canceling health insurance from Retiree Health Access, retiree club news, an Advertising Age article on fixing Sears, the Sears SEC filing report by Mr. Lampert, and some “Dear NARSE” letters.

RETIREE LIFE INSURANCE: Information on the amount of paid-up life insurance benefit was to be distributed to all participating retirees during the month of January, 2007. However, as of this date none of the meeting participants had received any mailing. No further information about the mailing was available.

SEARS RETIREE ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE: No further information has become available concerning future activities of SRAC, and no conference calls are scheduled. As of this date no SRAC meeting has been scheduled for this spring.

NARSE PROMOTIONAL LEAFLET: A marketing piece describing who NARSE is and what the organization has to offer is being developed to solicit Sears retirees and working associates for membership. The leaflet is being designed as a handout rather than a mail-out.

SEARS HOLDINGS ANNUAL MEETING: The Sears annual meeting is scheduled to be held at the Hoffman Estates headquarters on May 4, 2007.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:05 p.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, April 13, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, January 12, 2007 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.

In Attendance: William Barker, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz, Dave Silgers and Keith Tice.

Conference Call Participants: Dick Bruce, Ev Buckardt, Dick Cofran, Tony Debevetz, Richard Foulke, Walt Hess, Gordon Muschett, Tom Nally, George O’Hare, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Sandra Wheeler, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Through December 31, 2006, paid membership is up 1,265 members over last year for the same period. Revenue is up 48.4 per cent over last year.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that there were 4,078 visits to the website in December continuing monthly visits in excess of 4,000.

10th ANNUAL MEETING: The 10th NARSE Annual Meeting will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on August 7, 2007. Following lunch the Atlanta retirees “Big Club” meeting will convene. A part of the annual meeting agenda will be a video of the NARSE organization history. Additionally, a prominent guest speaker will address the meeting covering several topics of interest to our retirees. As plans are finalized, further information about the meeting will be made available on the NARSE website.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The next issue of Straight Talk is planned for distribution during March. Articles on The Pension Protection Act of 2006, the Sears retiree whole life insurance program, proper procedure for suspending or canceling health insurance from Retiree Health Access, annual meeting details and retiree club news will be a major focus. Continuing efforts are being made to ascertain and include more information about Sears results and future plans.

RETIREE LIFE INSURANCE: Information on the amount of paid-up life insurance benefit is to be distributed to all participating retirees during the month of January, 2007, according to Clara Hughes, Manager of Policy and Benefits Compliance.

SEARS RETIREE ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE: No further information has become available concerning future activities of SRAC, and no conference calls are scheduled. One of the council members reported that they had called headquarters prior to this meeting, and no primary contact has been named.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, February 9, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, December 8, 2006 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.

In Attendance: William Barker, Dick Bruce, Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Claude Ireson, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz and Keith Tice.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Tom Douglas, John Freeman, Walt Hess, Blair Holden, Ken Johnson, Art Levin, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Through November 30, 2006, paid membership is up 314 members over last year for the same period. Revenue is up 12 per cent for the same period.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that there were 4,666 visits to the website in October, and 4,515 visits occurred in November. After the home page, the most popular site is the Breaking News.

We are still seeking names of individual retiree club members to expand the database. The regional vice presidents were asked to gather lists of retiree club members in their regions for possible inclusion in the database should those names not be currently in the list. One of the goals of the organization is to be a provider of information, such as retirement issues and current happenings at Sears.

10th ANNUAL MEETING: It was decided to hold the 10th annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in August in combination with the Atlanta retirees club meeting on the 7th. As part of the agenda a video of the NARSE organization history will be shown. Additionally, we will include a prominent person to be the keynote speaker with topics of interest to our retirees. More information will be made available as plans are finalized.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The winter issue of Straight Talk has received many positive comments from its readers emphasizing the value of the information included. Future articles will be dedicated to communicating additional information of interest to current and future retirees. In the next issue of Straight Talk, every effort will be made to include more information about Sears results and future plans.

RETIREE LIFE INSURANCE: Information on the amount of paid-up life insurance benefit will be distributed to all participating retirees during the month of January, 2007, according to Clara Hughes, Manager of Policy and Benefits Compliance.

SEARS RETIREE ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE: The December 7 conference call to the council left several open issues unresolved. There still is no annual meeting planned, and there is no timetable to replace the primary contact in headquarters. Tentative plans call for a retiree newsletter to be distributed in January or February, 2007.

Headquarters conference call participants indicated that there was limited response to the Family and Friends night events at Sears and Kmart.

Concern was expressed by the SRAC members about the prescription drug plan coverage for 2007 as Sears did not send out any communication. Retiree complaints were reported by headquarters personnel to be few. Consensus of the SRAC members was that many retirees are choosing to make no changes from previous subscriptions, and this could be the reason for minimal inquiries or complaints. Reportedly, the pre-1965 retirees will have a large increase in their health insurance premium April 1.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, January 12, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, November 10, 2006, at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.

In Attendance: William Barker, Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz and Keith Tice.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Ev Buckardt, Tom Douglas, Richard Foulke, Walt Hess, Art Levin, Walt McDade, Gordon Muschett, Tom Nally, Ron Orr, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Through October 31, 2006, paid membership is up 13.9 per cent compared to same time last year representing an increase of 338 members over last year for the same period.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The winter issue of Straight Talk is scheduled to be mailed the third week of November and will consist of twelve pages. Feature articles to be included at the time of this meeting were managing health care costs; the expansion of membership in NARSE to working Sears associates; a report covering the visit of Aylwin Lewis to the SREC West Coast retiree club meeting; highlighting the career of Carolyn Link, the employee with the longest Sears service in the company’s history, and news from two local retiree clubs in Charleston WV and Tidewater VA. Because of our desire to communicate information of interest to current and future retirees, future issues of Straight Talk will be made available on our website.

Increasing the NARSE database was discussed with emphasis on asking the regional vice presidents to gather lists of retiree club members in their region. These lists are to be compared with our current database so that any names not currently included can be added.

MEMBERSHIP SOLICITATION: Time was spent discussing how we can expand the NARSE membership. Ron Olbrysh presented the need for a marketing piece about NARSE to use in soliciting Sears retirees and working associates for membership. It was agreed that the form should be some kind of leaflet which would describe who we are, what we have done and what we have to offer as an organization. This leaflet could then be sent to retiree clubs and Sears associates for use in pitching membership. Mel Schultz and George O’Hare have agreed to work on the development of such a piece.

10th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION: Ron Olbrysh encouraged all meeting participants to be thinking about how to best commemorate the 10th year of NARSE’s existence and the possibility of making it a part of the 10th annual meeting. It was suggested that the annual meeting could be tied in with one of the larger retiree clubs’ meetings and invite nearby surrounding area clubs to join in.

SEARS RETIREE ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE: The status of the Council is still uncertain at this time. No future meetings are scheduled, and there is no Headquarters point person. A recent conference call to the Council included Headquarters staff who did not know the activities and purpose of the SRAC group. Indications were that the budget for retiree activities such as the retiree newsletters had been reduced.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, December 8, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, October 13, 2006, at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.

In Attendance: Tony Debevetz, Claude Ireson, Ken Johnson, Leo McCormack, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz and Keith Tice.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Ev Buckardt, Tom Douglas, Don Eller, Richard Foulke, John Freeman, Walt Hess, Blair Holden, Art Levin, Tom Nally, George O’Hare, Ruth Pilant, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Through September 30, 2006, paid membership is up 15 per cent compared to same time last year representing an increase of 357 members over last year for the same period.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that visits to the NARSE website for September were 4,447. This was down slightly over the month of August.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The winter issue of Straight Talk is scheduled to be mailed the third week of November. Discussion of possible articles included local retiree club news, revisiting Medicare Part D plans, Long Term Care Insurance, how to use the link from the NARSE website to the Congress.org website, the Bylaws change concerning the expansion of membership in NARSE, and an update of the Sears Retiree Life Insurance status.

The summer issue of Straight Talk was mailed in July via first class to all paid members with many reporting that they received their copy within 3-5 days of the mailing date. Because of the excellent results, first class mail to paid members is planned for future issues.

Ron Olbrysh encouraged all meeting participants to be thinking about the contents of the newsletter devoted to the 10th anniversary of NARSE. This issue will be published mid-2007.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY EVENTS: The special shopping event will be on Sunday, November 5 during regular store hours at Kmart and Sunday, November 12, 6-9 pm at Sears stores.

SEARS RETIREE ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE: The status of the Council is uncertain at this time. There has been no communication to any member regarding future activities of the Council, and Sharon Phillips who was the contact is no longer with Sears. Her replacement is unfamiliar with what she was doing in regard to SRAC but has said that the Council will not be dissolved. It was agreed that Art Levin will send a letter to Mr. Lampert addressing SRAC member concerns about the future of the group.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, November 10, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, September 15, 2006 at HQ Office

In Attendance: Leo McCormack, Dick Bruce, Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O'Hare, and Mel Shultz.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Tom Douglas, Richard Foulke, Ken Johnson, Gordon Muschett, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, and Penny Williams.

Leo McCormack called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

FINANCIALS AND MEMBERSHIP: Leo reported that we are in good financial shape and that our paid membership through August is 22 per cent ahead of last year.

STRAIGHT TALK: The feasibility of mailing STRAIGHT TALK in November was discussed. If the newsletter is to be mailed in November, Mel Shultz stated that it is imperative all articles for the paper must be submitted by October 13, 2006.

CORNAC: Coalition of Retirees National Association Advisory Council Proposal. Tony reported that it is still under advisement from AARP.

SUGGESTED LETTER TO STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL: A draft of the proposed letter was discussed. There were no negative comments.

AUTO CENTER DISCOUNT POLICY: The policy was explained by Tom Nally. He also stated the full explanation of the policy is on the Sears Website.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Further discussion was held on the proposal. Tom Douglas stated a survey is being conducted by Sears retirees in Sears stores in California to rate them on selected aspects of the retail such as merchandise, customer service and operations. The final report will be submitted to NARSE Headquarters when it is completed and put on the website.

NEW BUSINESS: Dick Bruce suggested to have important breaking news highlighted on NARSE’s website with possibly a flashing Icon.

Tom Douglas reported that Aylwin Lewis will be addressing Sears Retirees in Cerritos, California with a question and answer session September 26, 2006 and will also repeat the session to Sears retirees in Phoenix, Arizona October 13, 2006. Tom will give us a report on the California meeting.

Next NARSE meeting is October 13, 2006.

Meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, July 14, 2006 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.

In Attendance: Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz, Leo McCormack and George O’Hare.
Conference Call Participants
: Ernie Arms, Dick Cofran, Tom Douglas, Don Eller, Richard Foulke, Blair Holden, Art Levin, Carmen Liggett, Gordon Muschett, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, and Penny Williams.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Through June 30 paid membership is up 41% compared to same time last year representing an increase of 687 members over last year for the same period.

Based upon a report from NARSE’s treasurer, Don Eller, regarding the cost of an outside audit, the Board decided to first proceed with an internal audit reviewing all policies in the bill payment process procedure. It was suggested that the Board search for a former Sears auditor to assist in this audit. Several names were suggested and Ron Olbrysh will follow-up on this search.

STRAIGHT TALK MAILING: Ron Olbrysh reported that the Summer Issue of Straight Talk is at the printer and will be mailed shortly. Several Board members raised the issue of the lateness in receiving their past issues of the newsletter. As background, the USPS divides mail into six classifications: (1) Express Mail; (2) Priority Mail; (3) First-Class Mail; (4) Periodicals; (5) Standard Mail A weighing less than 16 ounces; and (6) Standard Mail B weighing 1 pound or more. To control costs, NARSE has always used the Standard Mail A, subclass non-profit to mail Straight Talk. This is the most cost effective manner of mailing, but also delays the delivery of the newsletter to our members. As a result, our printer was requested to explore other methods of mailing to speed up distribution and still control costs.

After discussion, the Board approved the use of First-Class mail for dissemination of Straight Talk to all paid members and local Sears retiree clubs. This is just another advantage of a paid-up membership. For members who have not paid, the Standard Mail A will continue to be used. This new policy will begin with the current 2006 Summer Issue.

CORNAC: Leo McCormack proposed for NARSE’s consideration a Coalition of Retiree’s National Association Advisory Council (CORNAC). This Council would be composed of designated representative members of various national retiree associations, including Penny’s, AT&T, GM, Lucent, GE, Ford, US Steel, etc. AARP could serve as the catalyst, coordinator of this coalition. However, only senior issues of a non-partisan nature would be addressed.

Retiree associations should have a vehicle to express their views with some clout, and since AARP already represents millions of retirees, it would be a natural fit. NARSE has always been a proponent of coalitions with other groups as it would form a larger mass and be considerably more effective. AARP has the organization, personnel, political clout, advertising and money to be effective in protecting retiree interests.

Tony Debevetz, just this past week, contacted the Illinois state Operating Manager of AARP about the CORNAC proposal. He is waiting for a response. Most likely, the Illinois AARP will bounce the proposal off of the national AARP organization.

As background, Tony reminded the Board that AARP made a significant financial contribution to assist NARSE in it’s formation back in 1997 and also with NARSE’s “battle” with Sears involving the life insurance take-away.

SEARS/Kmart MERGER INVESTIGATION? Carmen Liggett, an outspoken retiree critic of the Sears/Kmart takeover, addressed the Board about possible improper deals that were exercised in the takeover. She suggested an independent investigation of the takeover and the relationship of those who encouraged and provided the means for such takeover. She felt that such an investigation might prove a catalyst for voters at large to begin exerting pressure on the SEC and lawmakers for more disclosures, accountability, and oversight of publicly held companies and hedge funds. The Board went into Executive Session to discuss this matter and to provide Liggett with the Board’s initial reaction to such a proposal.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that visits to the NARSE website for June were 4,829.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:41 a.m.

There will not be an August NARSE meeting. The next NARSE monthly meeting will be held on Friday, September 15, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, June 19, 2006 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.

In Attendance: Bill Barker, Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz and Keith Tice.
Conference Call Participants
: Ernie Arms, Steve Doubeck, Don Eller, Richard Foulke, Walt Hess, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Jack Rollins, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Through May 31 paid membership is up 38 per cent compared to same time last year representing an increase of 619 members over last year for the same period.

Following up on the May, 2006 meeting motion to engage a professional auditing agency to periodically conduct an audit of the financial records, a motion was made and unanimously approved to have an outside auditing firm conduct an audit of the NARSE financial records.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that visits to the NARSE website for May were 5,202.

JUNE 8 AND 9 SRAC MEETING: The Sears Retiree Advisory Council met June 8 and 9, 2006 in White Plains, New York. Alwyn Lewis discussed the desire of the company to reach out to the retirees. His address included comments about the pension plan and medical benefits. Sears Holdings is committed to the pension plan, and the pension is funded at 70%, according to Mr. Lewis. The 2007 medical enrollment period will be October 23 to November 17, 2006. Medical expense is expected to experience another increase in cost for the year 2007. Nothing was said about the subsidy for post-65 retirees. Participants in the RHA plan were about 22,000, and 25,000 retirees signed up for the Aetna prescription drug plan with 2/3 of those selecting the low option and 1/3 choosing the high option.

Chairman Edward Lampert addressed the Council also for approximately one hour. A 35,000 square foot design center is being opened in Manhattan, and 250 people have been hired to work there. Such softline issues as Lemon Frog, Toughskins and Winnie The Pooh are being brought back to the Sears merchandise offering. Mr. Lampert also stressed the intention to aggressively pursue the internet business opportunities in both Kmart and Sears in the future. One of the points made by the chairman regarding the customer base was that 20% of the retirees do not shop at Sears any longer. A “tool box” for store managers has been developed with one of the special tools being the pursuit of the retirees.

Family and Friends Night is scheduled for July 30 at Kmart and August 13 at Sears.

ENHANCING WEBSITE: In order to make the NARSE website more informative, we want to place question each week on the website. We will ask for responses and then publish the answers the following week. Also, to give our members easy access to contact their representatives it has been suggested that Congress be linked to our website. Linking up www.congress.org to the website is in the preparation stages and should be available in about a month.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The next issue of Straight Talk is scheduled to be mailed in July. Special attention will be given to the revision of the NARSE by-laws and May officer elections. In a desire to be a broader source of information for the NARSE members, a section for local retiree club news is planned. A request was made of the meeting participants to help gather information on their local retiree club activities and forward it to Ron Olbrysh.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:37 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, July 14, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary – 9th Annual Meeting
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.
Friday, May 19, 2006 at HQ Office

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

In Attendance: Bill Barker, Tony Debevetz, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz and Keith Tice.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Steve Doubeck, Tom Douglas, Don Eller, Richard Foulke, John Freeman, Walt Hess, Blair Holden, Ken Johnson, Art Levin, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Roger and Nancy Westman, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Leo McCormack reported that through April 30 paid membership is up 32 per cent compared to same time last year, and membership in May, 2006 is also running substantially ahead of last May.

A motion was made and unanimously approved to review engaging a professional auditing agency to periodically conduct an audit of the financial records at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that visits to the NARSE website for April were down about 500.

UPCOMING SRAC MEETING: The next meeting of the Sears Retiree Advisory Council is now scheduled for June 8 and 9, 2006 in White Plains, New York. No agenda has been published at this date, but the Council will be having dinner with Mr. Lampert on June 7. The Board went into executive session to discuss several questions to be posed to Mr. Lampert.

NARSE BYLAWS REVISED: After several months of review and input from NARSE monthly meeting participants, Chairman Ron Olbrysh had distributed copies of the updated bylaws proposal prior to the annual meeting. After discussion, a motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to revise the bylaws as submitted. This revision will be covered in the summer issue of Straight Talk.

NARSE OFFICERS ELECTED: Election of president, secretary, treasurer, vice presidents and regional vice presidents was conducted during this meeting. The results are as follows: President – Art Levin; Secretary – Keith Tice; and Treasurer – Don Eller. Vice Presidents: Coalition Relations – Lloyd VanSchoyck; Club Relations – Bill Barker; Electronic Communications – Ernie Arms; Legislation – Tony Debevetz; and Media Relations – George O’Hare. Regional Vice Presidents: Tom Douglas, Richard Foulke, Blair Holden, Walter McDade, Leo Murphy, Gordon Muchett, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Jack Rollins, and Ken Winkler. These officers will serve a two-year term. 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK PROPOSAL: Discussion continued concerning placing a question each week on the website, asking for responses and then publishing the answers the following week. Mel Schultz volunteered to come to the June meeting with the first question for consideration. .

DATABASE TO INCLUDE CONGRESS: In order to make Congress aware of our organization it has been suggested to send them copies of future issues of Straight Talk. While Congressional members themselves may not read the newsletter, it is believed that their staffs will read it and make the members aware of the NARSE organization and some of its concerns. Additionally, from time to time there may be senior issues about which some of our members may wish to contact their representatives. It was decided to pursue linking www.congress.org to our website so that members could easily access their particular representatives and contact them.

NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT TALK: The next issue of Straight Talk is scheduled to be mailed in July. In a desire to be a source of information for the NARSE members, several new special features were discussed including a column on legislative issues that affect seniors and a column for retiree club news. More specifics will be discussed at the June meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:05 p.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, June 16, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Preliminary Minutes April 14, 2006 Meeting
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc

Ron Olbrysh called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

In Attendance: Bill Barker, Dick Bruce, Richard Cofran, Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz and Keith Tice. Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Tony Debevetz, Steve Doubeck, Tom Douglas, Richard Foulke, Walt Hess, Ken Johnson, Art Levin, Tom Nally, Ruth Pilant, Jack Rollins, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Roger and Nancy Westman, Penny Williams and Ken Winkler.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Leo McCormack reported that through March 31 of 2006 paid memberships are up 761 compared to same time last year.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that visits to the NARSE website for March were 6,558 which was an increase of more than 600 compared to last March. March visits were the highest they have been in a year.

SEARS HOLDINGS CORP. ANNUAL MEETING: Dick Cofran attended the annual meeting held at Hoffman Estates on April 12 and reported some of the proceedings. There was no visual presentation or financial numbers given. In his opening remarks Mr. Lampert commented that there were mistakes made in Sears Essentials, and that other things have to be tried. Flexibility is important, and you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. Nine directors were elected, none of which had retailing background. Approximately 100 people were in attendance. After about 30 minutes, Mr. Lampert began taking questions, which he did for one hour and fifty-five minutes. Fifteen of the twenty-one speakers with questions were investment group representatives.

UPCOMING SRAC MEETING: The next meeting of the Sears Retiree Advisory Council is now scheduled for June 8 and 9, 2006 in White Plains, New York. More details will be available later this month.

NARSE ANNUAL MEETING: The next annual meeting of NARSE will be held May 19. Election of officers will take place at that meeting.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK PROPOSAL: The Wall Street Journal asks a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question to which readers are invited to respond. The suggestion was made to put a question each week on the website, ask for responses and then publish the answers the following week. It was decided that this would be a good method for collecting retiree feedback on various issues. To begin, the questions will originate from this group.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP: A special NARSE meeting was announced for April 28, 2006, at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the feasibility of associate memberships in the NARSE organization.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, May 19, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE’s Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Preliminary Minutes  February 10, 2006 Meeting
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.

Ron Olbrysh, called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. at the HQ office.

In Attendance: Bud Defano, Bill Barker, Dick Bruce, Tony Debevetz, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Ron Olbrysh, Mel Schultz, and Keith Tice. Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Nancy Bentz, Ev Buckardt, Richard Cofran, Tom Douglas, Richard Foulke, Walt Hess, Blair Holden, Ruth Pilant, Jack Rollins, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Roger and Nancy Westman, Penny Williams, and Ken Winkler.

MEMBERSHIP: Leo McCormack reported that membership renewals for January were 790 compared to 450 one year ago. Since Straight Talk was mailed in December, 2005 with most retirees receiving it in January, 2006, renewals should be up for both January and February.

STRAIGHT TALK: The next issue is scheduled for April. Deadline for articles is February 28.

WEBSITE VISITS: Penny Williams reported that there were 5,998 website visits during January. Of these visits, 25% went to the home page and 20% went to breaking news. She also reported that Guest Book is up and running again. Retiree club websites can be linked to the N.A.R.S.E. website on the club page.

ALYWIN LEWIS VISIT TO SARASOTA: Jack Rollins shared with the conference call participants Mr. Lewis’ visit to the Sarasota retiree club. Eighty people attended the meeting. The future of Sears Holdings was the topic. Mr. Lewis was enthusiastic even though he was not happy with what he observed on his visits to 300 Kmart stores and 500 Sears stores. He reported that a new point of sale system showing customers’ sales history will soon be available along with a new fashion planning office in New York. Future expansion of Sears Essentials is on hold. A new retiree benefit, Sears retirees receiving a discount at Kmart, will be available by April 1. He also related that there should be no concerns about the Sears pension plan.

A special Sears Holdings Corporation sheet was passed out at the meeting which gave the company mission statement, its values and how everyone works together.

BREAKING NEWS ITEMS: NARSE would like to acknowledge Ernie Arms for a great job in keeping the website up to date with interesting and informative retailing news items. Retiree clubs are encouraged to promote the website to their members.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, March 10, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE’s Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

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Executive Summary January 13, 2006 Meeting
National Association of Retired Sears Employees, Inc.

Leo McCormack, sitting in for Ron Olbrysh, called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. at the headquarters office.

In Attendance: Bud Defano, Leo McCormack, George O’Hare, Mel Schultz, Keith Tice and special guest Tom Pizur of Senior Care Plus.

Conference Call Participants: Ernie Arms, Bill Barker, Ev Buckardt, Richard Cofran, Tony Debevetz, Tom Douglas, Richard Foulke, Blair Holden, Ken Johnson, Art Levin, Gordon Muschett, Tom Nally, Ron Olbrysh, Ruth Pilant, Elaine Russell, Lloyd Van Schoyck, Ed Weinstein and Steve Zubach.

FINANCIALS & MEMBERSHIP: Leo McCormack reported that membership renewals for December were lower compared to a year ago. The reason: Last year, Straight Talk was mailed in November, 2004 with membership renewal forms resulting in 1200 renewals in December. Straight Talk was mailed in December, 2005 with most retirees receiving it in January, 2006. Therefore, the renewals should be up for January and February.

STRAIGHT TALK MAILING: Newsletters have been mailed; of the five meeting attendees, one has received his copy. A few of the conference call participants had received their copies.

A new postal service was utilized to verify the accuracy of the newsletter addresses. The USPS ran the newsletter database through their system at a cost of $160.00 resulting in about 500 questionable addresses out of the 20,000. Subsequently those 500 addressees have been mailed a postcard with an address return requested asking for verification of their information.

WEBSITE VISITS: Ron Olbrysh reported that there were 5,500 website visits during December with many good comments coming in complimenting what N.A.R.S.E. is providing on the website. It was suggested that we provide on the website names and phone numbers of persons to call at Sears for help with the prescription drug and healthcare insurance plans. Stan Aldis, (847) 286-3345, is the best person to contact. Lynn Zendra is the second name suggested and can be contacted by calling the main number, (847) 286-2500.

MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLANS: Conference call participants reported many difficulties in enrolling in the new Medicare prescription drug plans. The most repeated problem was the difficulty in reaching Aetna. Callers and internet users could not get through except after repeated attempts. Enrollment forms are cumbersome, and in many cases, no form was provided in the enrollment packet for spouses. No drug cards have been issued. Prior to January 12, ninety day prescription drug coverage by mail was not available, and the form for ordering the drugs was not available. Confusion about the Aetna plan reigns, and it is difficult to get help and information from them.

Several participants commented that it was difficult to find information on the network participating pharmacies in the various plans. Many of the plans have not issued identification cards making it difficult to go the retail pharmacies to purchase the prescriptions. A few of the conference call participants indicated some difficulty in the notification process to the insurers by Sears and/or Retiree Health Access of the Sears subsidy for Medicare members.

Only one participant reported that he experienced no problems in the enrollment process. An important consideration in the entire prescription drug programs is to know what pharmacies are participants in the particular program. It was suggested that Ron gather all the comments and share them in writing with Sears.

Special thanks go to Tom Pizur of Senior Care Plus who participated in this discussion and provided several answers to general questions about the new Medicare drug program.

ANNUAL MEETINGS: No annual meeting of Sears Holdings or the Sears Retiree Advisory Council have yet to be announced. An attempt will be made through shareholder services to determine if an annual meeting is planned.

FUTURE PLANS/STRATEGY OF NARSE: A special meeting dedicated and focused on the development of the future goals and strategies of the NARSE organization has been requested. It was agreed that this meeting should be convened, if possible, prior to the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

The next NARSE meeting will be held on Friday, February 10, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. CST, 8th Floor Conference Room at NARSE’s Headquarters. A conference call will be available for those not able to attend in person at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

 


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