CRCEA was formed in the late 1960’s with the efforts of a few recently retired county employees.
All of the early founders had been active in employee associations or unions on both the local and state level. Notable among them were Phil Fickert and Leo Rapp of Kern County, Robert Heuer of Los Angeles, Ed Rush of San Diego, and Billie Hartley of Fresno.
In June of 1969, as a result of a number of letters from Ed Rush, several representatives agreed to a conference to be held that fall. Invitations were sent to counties and cities, as well as officers of the State Retired Employees Organizations.
The meeting was set for October 17th and 18th in the city of Fresno, concurrently with a meeting of the League of California Employees Associations (LOCEA) being held there at that time.
Attending were conferees from nine of the 1937 Act counties; Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Sonoma, plus the City and County of San Francisco, the City of San Diego, and the California State Retired Employees Association.
At this first conference, the name California County Retired Employees Association was selected. A Bylaws committee was appointed and a second meeting was scheduled for the following year.
The next convention (referred to as a formation meeting) was held on February 12th and 13th 1970, also in the city of Fresno. Representatives from seven counties attended the assembly; Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Sonoma, and Stanislaus. The name of the organization was changed to the current name, the California Retired County Employees Association; the Bylaws Committee presented their efforts and they were approved; the membership decided to meet three times a year, concurrently with LOCEA, and they set dues of ten cents per member, with a maximum of $50.00.
Elected as the first officers were: Ed Rush, President; Phil Fickert, 1st Vice President; Bob Heuer, 2nd Vice President; and Billie Hartley, Secretary-Treasurer. Shortly after that, on May 1, 1970, the Inter-Com made its debut as the official newsletter of the new organization and although the hyphen was subsequently eliminated from the name, it has been published regularly ever since. The second regular meeting of the fledgling group was held on July 14, 1970, also at Fresno and also concurrently with LOCEA, whose name was changed to the California Public Employees Federation (CALPEF) in the interim between meetings.
The next meeting, titled as the “First Annual Conference” was convened at Crystal Bay, North Lake Tahoe on October 9 and 10, 1970, again simultaneously with the CALPEF convention.
Marin and Santa Barbara counties became members the following year and then the next two or three years saw a slow but steady expansion of CRCEA. Contra Costa, Ventura, and Tulare joined during this time. After this time the meetings were not held with CALPEF. Sacramento, Alameda, San Mateo, San Joaquin, Merced, and San Bernardino became members and Imperial arrived a few years later. Mendocino, last but not least, became the twentieth county to join in 1991, making the total membership complete.
CRCEA came into being through the efforts of a few dedicated people and it has grown steadily over the years through the efforts of other dedicated people. Without their unpaid efforts, the organization 9 would have withered and died. They have been responsible for some noteworthy changes in the 1937 Act, which have worked to the benefit of every retiree in the system.