Saturday, February 04, 2006

Molly to Damon, Board, Mitchell, Staff: Unfunded liability, compensation, communication

From Molly Janczyk,
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006
Subject: Damon,Buser,Mitchell,Board,Staff: Unfunded Liability,Compensation,Communication

Dear Damon, STRS Board, Steve Mitchell, STRS Staff:

1. The report states the a roll back of the 35 yr incentive only would reduce the unfunded liability by only about 3 yrs. I understand that this says IF IT HAD NEVER BEEN PASSED but I want to clarify so folks don't think rolling back would achieve gains now.

QUES: Re: 8.25%: ARE YOU SAYING that if we achieve this amunt of return, we COULD be at 30 yrs unfunded liability in 3 yrs.?

2. Regarding compensation: QUES: Re: Saying that staff IS leaving due to private pay: -how many would leave anyway as we cannot pay private top rates even if we adjust salaries -can they not be replaced with qualified staff to do the same productive jobs immediately -can some depts be cut back in Cust. Serv.; many members have indicated they will be happy with less customer service as that is not the problem. A Newsletter would ans many questions upfront if anticipated questions are addressed so call , etc. could be reduced. I rarely use Cust Serv. due to some differences in answers though more recently they seem right on. I generally go to the source for any serious issue to be assured it is comprehensive.

3. Communication: Part A: Excellent pts were brought up re: communication. We would love to be provided factual info instead of relying on working to obtain it. A fact center would be wonderful and regular emails from STRS APPROVED by the ENTIRE BOARD for output with input from the ENTIRE board if they wish. In that way, we know all consider the facts beneficial and comprehensive for membership knowledge.

I feel this is what is lacking from all organizations to membership. Information, as Leone pointed out, stops rumor in its tracks! When STRS hears of rumors, issue statements of fact! BUT, the ENTIRE board must view it prior so that no board member disagrees or at least can add their take. We must know without exception that these memos or Newsletters are approved by all to build trust that we are not only hearing one dept or person's slant or the view wished to be presented.

Many members are angry that WE are the only ones relating what each board member has to say on different issues. They want their membership newsletters to tell them how each board member contributes and stands on issues. This would be a remarkable tool with brief summaries regarding each board member's position on the issues of the month so membership understands their thinking for consideration of all views. A notetaker can do such with Damon, Mitchell and each board member reviewing the notes for approval and corrections. Each board member sees all notes regarding Damon, Mitchell and every other board members' comments for absolute accuracy. A checks and balances type issue to ensure members that it is totally without change of original.

How much time would a monthly Newsletter take vs. the generic minutes online? Care would have to be made to ask membership WHO DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO A COMPUTER so mailings could be made to them ONLY to save costs. If Mitchell and the ENTIRE STRS Board had the opportunity to address issues online it would make all our lives easier and better informed. Damon's minutes are already included but he could add points as well. Then we have comprehensive information in front of us with real people to ask questions and get direct responses. If you make attempts to answer questions upfront you know will result, it will dispel so much inquiry.


PART B: Public Speak: It is my interpretation that: -We may name board members to adress concerns and questions determined by legal opinion and agreed to by Damon. Therefore, this portion of the introduction should be dropped. -That if one askes a board member a question, that board member may answer if they choose or refuse to answer at that time. This was discussed and I thought decided last fall and all seemed to agree with this position. It should not be up to the Chair whether a board member wants to answer but up to the individual board member. The Chair does not have the right to make a decision for another as decided by legal opinion sent to Damon and Damon agreed.

Therefore, it has already been discussed and decided that membership may address board members, may have answers from them if the board member wishes to respond which goes such a long way as Leone pointed out, to dispel rumor and make the board look forthcoming and with nothing to hide.

**Respect of manner is of course expected with no namecalling from anyone. The board is there for us and we have the right to address them and ask questions. This was legally determined by legal opinion on the matter. Lazares and Leone have always said they are on a public board and expect such from the membership.

PART C: Chapman suggested and Flannagan agreed that Advisory Grps could be implemented for better communication with membership such as CORE does with its regularly held Damon/CORE meetings. That is a great idea! Invite membership to form small groups to attend the different open meetings to ensure factual communication and perhaps assign a bit of time during the session for their input.

Communication is everything but membership must know all the background making a decision vs. throwing the decision out to us with no warning or background info which scares and raises voices of dissent. We have many clear thinking and balanced individuals who can sit in and be objective helping to bridge the gap of communication and offer members input for consideration.

Thanks to Jeff and Mary Ann for opening this door. We have long asked to sit in on allowed meetings. Letting us in would go a long way for proper interaction and accurate flow of information.

Most sincerely,
Molly J.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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