Saturday, November 29, 2008

Columbus Dispatch re OEA staff wages: The OEA pays 102 employees six-figure salaries; five get more than governor
OEA staff wages
Teachers union's pay a surprise to many
Saturday, November 29, 2008
By Bill Bush
The average salary for Ohio teachers dropped last year for the first time in at least seven years, but that's not the case for most employees of the state's largest teachers union.
Counting everyone from receptionists up to the executive director, the median salary for the 234-person staff of the Columbus-based Ohio Education Association is nearly $82,000.
The OEA pays 102 employees six-figure salaries, including 34 who made more than $120,000 for the fiscal year that ended in August.
The highest paid employee is Executive Director Dennis Reardon, who was paid $176,317, according to the union's annual report on file with the U.S. Department of Labor.
OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks was paid $172,574, and the union's vice president and treasurer each were paid about $151,400.
"My gut feeling is that the average school teacher in our district has no idea what the average (union representative) is making," said Kevin Fourman, past president of the Bucyrus Education Association.
In all, three-fourths of the OEA staff make more than the $53,410 the average Ohio teacher was paid last school year, and almost one-third made more than the $113,890 average salary of the state's superintendents.
The OEA's officers and employees also were reimbursed a total of more than $2 million for business expenses, which the annual report doesn't detail. Almost half the staff were reimbursed more than $10,600 each, with the top reimbursement of $40,463 going to Vice President William Leibensperger.
The union says these reimbursements cover expenses including travel and supplies.
Spokesman Mike Mahoney said the salaries are appropriate for a staff that provides lobbying, research, education-improvement initiatives, legal services and communications comparable to other similar-size affiliates of the National Educational Association.
In response to the teachers' pay falling last year, the OEA froze the salaries of five top officials, Mahoney said.
Members pay $477 in annual dues to the union, which represents 130,000 people statewide, including Columbus public teachers.
"It's a very democratically run organization," Mahoney said. "We don't keep (the salaries) a secret."
But the leaders of some OEA locals contacted across the state said they had no idea that state union officials were paid so much.
"I am a little shocked," said Lima Education Association President Lori Ruschau-Will, whose local signed a new contract last year that included no pay raises.
"I was not aware that they made that much money.
"I think the classroom teachers have a problem with any management person making six figures. That's because they're not in the trenches dealing with the students day to day. Education is supposed to be about the students."
New teachers in Bucyrus are paid about $28,300 a year, and the top salary is a little more than $57,800, said Fourman, of the Bucyrus Education Association.
He said the state union officials' salaries would "raise an eyebrow" among teachers.
"I certainly think that somewhere out there, there would be an educator who would be surprised or resentful that (OEA officials are) making a lot more than the teachers in the classrooms," Fourman said.
The state's second-largest teachers union, the 16,250-member Ohio Federation of Teachers, paid President Susan Taylor $22,733 for the fiscal year that ended in June.
At the same time, the union reimbursed Cincinnati Public Schools, where Taylor is on leave from her teaching job, $100,700 for her salary and benefits.
The benefits account for about one-third of the reimbursement, Taylor estimated.
None of the federation's employees is paid more than $100,000.
The OEA does not report individual employees' benefits.
Click image to enlarge

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

An OEA statement from an OEA spokesperson that begs further examination.....

From John Curry, November 29, 2008
One statement that "frosted" me was the following statement in the Dispatch article below made by OEA spokesman Mike Mahoney :
"We don't keep (the salaries) a secret."
Why am I "frosted?" That's because there is a federal law that all labor organizations in the United States must register the salaries and compensations of their employees with the U.S. Department of Labor! had no choice...cut the BS!

Friday, November 28, 2008

...and now we add Josh Mandell to Wolpert's HB 645's bill to TRASH defined benefits retirements

From RH Jones, November 28, 2008
Subject: Re: Fw: ...and now..we add Josh Mandell to Wolpert's HB 645's bill to TRASH defined benefits retirements to all future police, fire, educators,& other state employees!
To all:
Think what the Grand Old Party(GOP) of Lincoln has turned into. A bunch of greedy rich folks who lust for the money in Ohio's government pension systems. It is a sad that the party of American tradition has lowered its self to such a low level. When will it ever end? When will it ever end? They have lost the 3-branches of government nationally and statewide and they still try to: GOP(Grab Our Pension)!
Lincoln, a man of the people, must be turning in his grave. And, by the way, I was a student at Akron Lincoln Elementary School for 8 years. There was a Lincoln quote at the school that said: "Prepare yourself, for some day your chance will come." I am quite certain that this American hero did not mean for it to be: Prepare yourself for your chance will come to gut the retirement systems of loyal state employees for your own personal gain.
My opinion,
A loyal Federal and State government servant for over 33 years
From RH Jones, November 27, 2008
Subject: Fw: ...and now..we add Josh Mandell to Wolpert's HB 645's bill to TRASH defined benefits retirements to all future police, fire, educators,& other state employees!
To all:
All of you out there that are in state retirement systems here in Ohio need to synchronize on this. Let your political reps know RIGHT NOW that we will not stand ideally by on this one. The GOP (Grab Our Pension) "good 'ol boys" are at it again!
What a holiday gift to us who gave so much of ourselves to the State of Ohio. How dare them.
My individual opinion,
From John Curry, November 26, 2008
Subject: ...and now..we add Josh Mandell to Wolpert's HB 645's bill to TRASH defined benefits retirements to all future police, fire, educators,& other state employees!
This is from the Lima News today:
"HB 645 RETIREMENT SYSTEMS (Wolpert, Mandel) - Beginning on January 1, 2009, all newly hired members of the five state retirement systems will be required to participate in defined contribution plans."

Whoa! 2006 OEA-endorsed candidate now seeks to replace defined benefits retirement of future educators with defined contributions mandate

From John Curry, November 27, 2008
Just "scroll on down" to find an endorsement that bit the hand that fed it - House Bill 645 and Representative Larry Wolpert
Below is a link to OEA endorsements as posted on Kathie Bracy's blog from the off-year Ohio election in 2006. Back then, the OEA endorsed Larry Wolpert (R) of Ohio House District 23. Larry Wolpert is the Columbus area Representative who recently introduced HB 645, a bill designed to eliminate the defined benefits type of retirement to future educators, firemen, policemen, county workers, state workers, and any other worker who would take a job that currently pays into STRS, OPERS, Police and Fire, Ohio Highway Patrol, and State Employees Retirement System and replace it with a defined contributions retirement! Of course, Larry will go on to receive his defined benefits OPERS retirement, won't he?
Looks like this is one representative who bit the hand that fed him! Thank goodness that Larry will be term-limited out (in 2009) after serving four terms in the Ohio House. He sure did leave us with a going-away present, didn't he? Nothing like trying to sneak one in under the wire, is there? Larry is one lame duck that we can do without! Nothing like the old saying, "Do unto others - then split," is there?
At the time of this writing, Larry is listed as the only sponsor of House Bill 645 although a news brief in Wednesday's Lima News indicated that Representative Josh Mandel (R) (Cleveland area) also is sponsoring this bill. Since the Ohio House will have a Democratic majority in 2009, the passage of this bill is -- at least in my mind -- unlikely. The bankers and investment brokers will just have to wait a while before they get their hands on billions of dollars of Ohio's public servants' retirement system deductions to invest, won't they?
P.S. I realize that the OEA had no idea that Larry would introduce this bill...sometimes politicians bite the hand that feeds them, don't they? In case you're interested in Larry's bill, here the Ohio Statehouse link to that bill:

HB 645 and...what has Representative Wolpert been smoking? A move to trash defined benefits for future state retirement system participants?

From John Curry, November 26, 2008
This bill applies to all 5 public retirement systems I read it, will force future educators, firemen, policemen, etc. INTO A DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN ONLY. !!!!!!!! You have to scroll down (way down) to 3307.252(A) to get to the part that applies to future teachers. It looks as if Rep. Wolpert is trying to trash defined benefits for all future state employees!!!!!!!!! This, if true, is a major rip-off. Here is a link to this lengthy bill.

Shirlee Zerkel: More questions

From John Curry, November 26, 2008
Subject: ...."even so they should have been encrypted."
Closing the barn door after the horse got out? Check out #3 response!
From Rhonda Hare/Sandy Knoesel, November 26, 2008
Subject: More questions
Dear Ms. Zerkel,
Mr. Myers asked that I respond to your e-mail of Nov. 23. Below are the three questions you asked with answers in italics.
1. Why did it take Medical Mutual so long to notify us-it was reported Oct 23, 2008 and the letter to me from Medical Mutual was mailed on Nov. 8th? No word until after the 8th from anyone to those of us directly involved. It took approximately two weeks for Medical Mutual to complete their investigation and preparation including making final arrangements with TransUnion plus printing and mailing time.
2. What had been the usual form of delivery for the disks in the past? STRS Ohio’s disks were being hand delivered up to and including the June 2008 disk.
3. Why weren't the disks encrypted in the past? They were being hand delivered but even so they should have been encrypted.
Sandy Knoesel

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shirlee Zerkel: More questions about the lost disks

Shirlee Zerkel to Tim Myers, November 23, 2008
Subject: More Questions
Dear Mr. Myers:
I still have some unanswered questions that were on my first email to you.
1. Why did it take Medical Mutual so long to notify us -- it was reported Oct 23, 2008 and the letter to me from Medical Mutual was mailed on Nov. 8th? No word until after the 8th from anyone to those of us directly involved.
2. What had been the usual form of delivery for the disks in the past?
3. Why weren't the disks encrypted in the past?
Thank heavens they are now going to be sent electronically and I hope encrypted!
4. I also want to know what you meant when you stated to me in one of your emails: "that the disks had no STRS information on them." If they did not have STRS information on them, why were they being sent from Medical Mutual to STRS? Why did it have people's names and Social Security numbers on the disks?
Thanks for considering my questions,
Shirlee Zerkel

Learning from the Great Depression

Have past crises taught us anything?
A scholar who has studied the relationship between political and financial fortunes suggests that we take a good, hard look at the aftermath of the Great Depression -- and learn.
November 21, 2008
Jon Markman
American banking titans Citigroup (C, news, msgs), Goldman Sachs (GS, news, msgs) and Morgan Stanley (MS, news, msgs) are each down 30%-plus this month despite emergency rescue efforts by two branches of the federal government and the infusion of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.
They are down 75% for the year despite executives' protests that business is fine. They are down despite massive job cuts and asset sales to save costs, and the personal endorsement of everyone's favorite rich uncle, Warren Buffett. They are down even though they have plenty of cash flow and millions of customers, many of whom are the envy of other banks the world over.
[Read rest of the article here.]

Buffett's huge derivatives bet proves costly

November 20, 2008
Jon Markman
Shares of Warren Buffett's insurance holding company are on the ropes this month, plunging 30% in part because the famed investor dabbled in an area of the market he has long publicly derided: derivatives. And due to a tangled web of financial relationships, they may be taking Goldman Sachs shares down with them.
Investors are concerned about a $37-billion bet that Buffett made last year that U.S. and world equity values would be higher in 15 to 20 years than they were then, when the Dow Jones Industrials were trading around 13,000. Through his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett sold option contracts, known as "naked puts" to an undisclosed group of investors for around $4.85 billion, reportedly using Goldman as broker.
[Read rest of the article here.]
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company