Saturday, December 13, 2008

RH Jones to Rep. Brian Williams: The Board's responsibility to oversee our funds, not allow exploitation by STRS staff

From RH Jones, December 12, 2008
Subject: It's what's in the prelude to Ralph's 3 minute speech that really grabs one's attention!!!!!!!! See if you agree! [Referring to Ralph Roshong's speech to STRS Board, December 11, 2008, posted 12/11/08]
Dear Ohio Rep. Brian Williams:
Re: the allowance of another vacation day for the STRS staff.
Once again, the actions of the Executive Office of the STRS of Ohio has taken the liberty to violate Sec. 3307.15 of the Revised Code. The function and focus of the hired staff, including the executive officer, is to make money for our system. Without the STRS board approval, the action of arbitrarily adding an expensive staff vacation day is beyond comprehension, and could be thought of as excessive abuse of power. A thoughtful and responsible STRS board should rescind this ill conceived give-away our money. After they have just lost so many billions of our dollars, the staff has not earned another day of vacation days. How does giving the day of after Thanksgiving make money for the system? Note: Active educators have the day off after Thanksgiving but that is because they work with children. The STRS staff work with adults.
And, further, it is obvious that Mike Nehf is out of touch of the reality of the deep economic recession that is affecting Ohio and America; and therefore, how can he lead our retirement system with such lack of concern for the system's members: both the active and the retired teachers. When will this ever stop! After the recent bonus awards, this is an additional public relations disaster, that will probably be used to even further convince the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA)and the Ohio Association of Business Officials (OABO) of the necessity to not to giving HB 315 a chance of passing the legislature -- the passage of which is vital for the future funding of our STRS for members, and their hired staff. The OSBA and the OABO associations have said: Why send the STRS money when they will not use it properly. Therefore, to move STRS forward, anyone to think that this vacation day giveaway is a responsible decision is blatantly mistaken.
Note: Personally, I do not regard this message as a complaint. It is not that. What I am trying to do as a retired career teacher is to educate folks that do not seem to understand that the STRS is a retirement system. It is not to be exploited by staff who may think that they are entitled to excess pay and benefits. It is the boards responsibility to oversee, not just to blindly allow staff to exploit STRS funds with the thought that staff is just entitled to excesses.
Representative Williams, when the governor, the senate and the legislature is looking to cut state funding of education, will you, therefore, step in for me, a constitute of yours, to inform the board that the timing of any STRS award is off . Everyone, is taking cuts now days. The STRS staff should be included, starting at the top! It is apparent that Mr. Neft is unaware of the recession. Everyone knows that some in the media lay in wait of anything that may be controversial. For anyone to think that, in this time of open electronic communications, this judgment failure will not be made public, and will not shock the sensibility of the Ohio public has sadly miscalculated.
This is solely my opinion as a retired teacher member of the Ohio STRS,
Robert Hudson Jones
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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