Friday, October 19, 2007

Molly Janczyk: Notes on 10/18/07 STRS Board meeting and CORE meeting

From Molly Janczyk, October 19, 2007
Subject: STRS/CORE Board Meeting: 10/18/07
Glenna Barr will write the CORE meeting minutes.
I would like to pass on that CORE T-Shirts ($9) and Sweatshirts ($14) are now available through a company researched by Herman Fisher. An impressive sample was shown. If you would like to order, you need to pay in advance. Herman attends most meetings. Contact details have not been refined yet as he was unable to attend this meeting.
House Bill 315 is in the FIRES Comm. (Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities) for deliberation. A hearing has not yet been scheduled but it is hoped that Rep. Oelslanger, Sponsor, will have the opportunity to present sponsor testimony during fall session. Members of the FIRES Comm. can be found on the CORE:, OEA:, ORTA: websites.
Leone: It is easier to rehire a teacher for the same position vs. looking for new educators.
Lazares: Important figures in history cannot go back to certain jobs as it is considered: "Double dipping."
1. Nancy Boomhower: entire speech on Kathie Bracy's blog: She thanked STRS for all the changes including better discussion of issues leading some to change minds on voting. She commented that some seem well researched prior to voting and some follow fiduciary duty towards retirees. Police are gone from STRS so retirees must no longer be a threat! (Security once watched over us in case we should be a danger, we guess). Improvements needed: every year the child care is supposed to be cost neutral and every year it is not. (Damon: THIS is the year).
Seminars are far away and cost thousands of dollars
3 min. time limits fine when many speakers; when only a few-seems latitude is in order and some have been rudely stopped while others allowed to go for 5-6 min. Is there a rule or not? Are some allowed to speak longer than others?
Jeff Chapman: Chair: no changes but for myself, more lax is only few speakers. Rule in place in case there is need.
Leone: There could be a small amendment stating the chair could adjust as needed.
2. Ralph____________: opposed HB315 ; opposed benefits to laid off workers; opposed 11% bonus to some retirees (think he means 88% rule).
3. **Divestiture: CORE Pres. Dave Parshall read a statement to the STRS Board approved unanimously at the CORE meeting opposing divestiture. The statement was composed by John Curry and can be found on Kathie Bracy's blogspot:
Discussion on divestiture on the afternoon agenda and a voluntary policy was up for vote:
Leone: We voted in 6/07 to approve a voluntary divestiture policy. Then we rescinded that vote in 8/07. But we told the ORSC we are working on it. I am confused. Question: How is a voluntary plan cost -0- while a mandatory plan for divestiture costs $60,000,000?
Mitchell: Voluntary Plan has no goal and no date. We would look for alternative investments and go with them IF they provide as good or better returns. We would have the option of buying back the stock we sold. We would be on no time line and we would look at securities and substitutes and would only need to act if we found substitutions. We would maintain what we own while searching.
Mandatory Plan: We would be forced to sell listed investments and never have the option to buy them back. We would be forced to do so within a timeline and most of us feel that would not be far off so as to plan for an research replacements.
I was on the floor along with others and we felt that Divestiture Bill almost passed that day.
Leone: I spoke with Sen. Carey, Chair of Sen. Comm. and he said there is no hearing planned or anticipated on this matter. What is the rush? We don't know when or if such a bill will pass.
Mitchell: If we don't pass a voluntary plan, staff time goes up going to legislators on this matter trying to stop the bill.
Leone expressed concern on amount of divestiture with a voluntary plan. You know it will be over 50%, Steve.
Mitchell: The STRS Board didn't say don't do 50%-just not to have an amount that we have to go with and go with best investment regardless of percent of divestiture.
Lazares: Why vote for a voluntary plan when we haven't heard any senators are for it and only a few house members are? What is the hurry?
Vote: Voluntary divestiture plan passed. No votes: Leone, Lazares, Tai Hayden.
I forgot to mention at last month's meeting, Lazares and Leone asked about the policy of 'anonymous letters.' Both stated they put no credence in anonymous letters which go straight to trash if one cannot sign a name so that the accused can respond to accusations. Anyone can say anything about another with no recourse and this is a cowardly act.
Ramser felt the letter went to each Board member to do with what they chose.
Lazares and Leone felt a policy was in order and that such items were not appropriate.
This particular letter writer was 'appalled' about a CORE member's suggested provision to HB 151 and strongly critical of CORE. It was sent to each STRS Board Member unsigned. Ramser said staff should not be placed into a position of determining what happens with mail except to deliver it.
Lazares and Leone felt unsigned mail should be trashed however it was deemed approp. to do so.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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