Friday, February 27, 2009

RH Jones re: Laura, the days of "sugar coated" news releases are just about over, aren't they?

From RH Jones, February 27, 2009
Subject: Re: Laura, the days of "sugar coated" news releases are just about over, aren't they?
John & all:
As a Life Member of both, I call on my ORTA & OEA-R to cut back on expensive meetings around the state and to spend some of the saved dues money on hiring an independent agency to study which group of professional investors, in-house or those hired outside the STRS, serves us most effectively while, at the same time, serves us for the least expense. Whatever happens with the resulting conclusions of this comprehensive study, these two retired teacher unions then need to strongly request that the STRS board hire the best of this recommendation.
Also, as an OEA Life Member Builder, I call on my OEA to back change that will make our STRS do better for educators. The in-house hired auditor firms are beholden to those who hired them: STRS Management. How can their conclusions be trusted? That is why I ask you to back the hiring of an auditing firm that would represent educator interests, not that of the employees. It is our money; we need firms that are beholden to us.
Maximizing investment income and keeping it secure will benefit us all, including the STRS employees. We will not, and should not, tolerate the tremendous losses of the year 2000 and then once again starting in October 2008 through the present. It is hard to accept some the STRS board members helping to pat the backs of investment employees and then allowing them to have huge bonuses and raises in pay. The power is now, once again, in the hands of unions. We need to start, once again, acting responsibly toward the membership, especially those who have retired. Currently, we would not be in this mess, had our unions monitored our STRS.
Neglecting the monitoring of the OSBA was another mistake. Public School Board Members (PSBM) are, and were, our employers. Most PSBMs follow the OSBA's wishes like sheep. Enlightened PSBMs have been, for whatever reason, too busy with other things, and have set back and let ultra-conservatives dominate, running amok, hurting public school children, as well as their active and retired educators. And also, for too many years, we union members have not taken our time or money to endorse friendly PSBMs running for both the state and the local school boards. The ultra conservatives have been aggressively lining their own pockets and of their families and friends at the expense of the public's children and their public educators.
Union focus should be on the hard facts of life: running around the state, running up expense bills, talking to one another does not do the job. Spending dues money on backing enlightened candidates of public office and monitoring what happens with our money in our STRS will serve the children, the tax-paying public and us. We know who our friends are; let us now back them 100%.
RHJones, a proud union member since 1950
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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