Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Molly Janczyk re: Motions at STRS

From Molly Janczyk, December 24, 2007
Subject: Motions at STRS
I think when one Board member takes printed words, at times, out of context together with having no experience can really distort their meaning. I have found an outside attorney may not have that specific experience either and I have learned multiple legal opinions are best as different areas of specialty make many legal minds unprepared for a particular concern. This is WHY I went straight to the source: Patterson. I quoted Patterson and copied him for accuracy and he made no corrections knowing this was going out. I took careful notes asking and re-asking and reading what I wrote.
I don't think one individual interpretation should be held out to be more knowledgeable than the AG. At times a Board member sets her/himself up with definitive statements though they have had no real Board experience prior to STRS and then will not back down when found untrue or questionable(very OEA like).
I feel OEA is micromanaging the Board and trying to control it - pretty much the definition of micromanaging. I feel the more legislators hear that cks and balances are in place, the more legislators will feel more likely to trust STRS. I feel we have supported that STRS is under a new day striving for new integrity previously lost.
That new day came with policy changes of Leone and Lazares and ALL know that. For OEA to continue to try to give blanket liberties to one person is to again fall back into old patterns. None of us will do that, and legislators ARE not questioning STRS management to any of our members visiting ALL of them.
One person should never again be given 'carte blanche' authority. To present to legislators that there is a Board working with and authorizing the Exec. Direc. and the Exec. Direc. is acting upon their discretion gives all of us more confidence that all is above board and I think legislators see it that way too.
This is a 'trump card' OEA is using , in my opinion, to control us and keep control of the Board. Better to get off that train cause it doesn't bode well with any of us. Get on one of apparent collaboration by stopping the attempts to control and instead work with membership on common goals. IT IS OEA making a fuss and demanding silence. Any legislator is well seasoned in the type of debate it takes to make new policy and is not naive enough to think that such debate is sign of trouble at STRS but of making a better system which can be trusted.
I assure you debate among legislators is not a 'social tea' setting with all making pleasant conversation and no one ever raising their tone in passionate delivery on their points. To pretend that such Board chat is necessary is beyond comprehension to anyone witnessing politics in today's world. This does not show mistrust but improving and building a renewed system that went terribly wrong in some of its actions and lost trust - plummeting/crashing along with our assets and benefits untenably increasing our costs due to lack of vision and steadfastly finding a source of revenue for HC. Is anyone going to think we are so naive as to think former Board members didn't know HC was soaring being exposed to costs and development of HC budgets each year?
It is only when STRS and OEA resist reform to make a better system of open transparency that alarms go off as to WHY? Perhaps, because some legislators lost trust in OEA due to its blind eye to its OEA controlled Board mismanaging by lack of oversight and abusing their positions. Now, I guess OEA feels that they must control the Board to show any improvement must be due to OEA! Too late.
With repeated attempts to control the Board, questions arise as to what is going on at STRS that needs be keep quiet. If blame is to be found in raising alarm , it goes to OEA's continued mantra for Board members and membership to shut up and not open up all areas for total clarity and transparency.
OEA is making the problem-creating more division instead of sitting down together to find resolutions and doing whatever must be done. It can stop it but sitting down and asking what will it take to resolve this and compromising vs. standing behind a podium issuing monthly very forceful, toned directives to shut out the very Board members who changed old policies for ones creating more transparency and trust. Anything less paints a troubling picture to legislators.
Transparency and motions to bring more into the decision making process are good in our minds. I NEVER again what to see one person interpreting policy and Damon did and acting on his own only to be admonished after the fact and then months wasted on making new policy to ck his liberal takes. After the fact is too late, causes more problems and creates time consuming resolutions to correct.
HB 315 is an area of common ground and I ask legislators to deeply consider all the positions changes to ensure transparency at STRS. The stellar performance of the STRS Investment team has put STRS back into near solvency BUT STRS can never pay for retiree HC with such inflated costs for all. Educators need help and to merely look at STRS figures does not give an accurate view of making up for past losses incurred when the market crashed as well as paying $1.5 million per day for STRS retirees health care.
Molly Janczyk

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