From Ryan Holderman, August 7, 2009
Subject: Re: Dennis re.....Fw: What the ORC has to say about our STRS COLA!
Based on what Dennis had to say about ORC 3307.67 (copied below), it would appear that we're apt to see some political shenanigans with the COLA matter.
Laura Ecklar may be correct in stating that elimination of the COLA has never been discussed by the STRS Board. They have, however, discussed reducing the COLA and restricting access to it until later in retirement.
All this may be moot once a bill recommended by the ORSC and, as Dr. Leone mentions, likely co-sponsored by Representatives Lynn Wachtmann and Todd Book moves to the Ohio House. There are no guarantees about the nature of that bill. The amount our COLA is reduced will be determined by the authors of the bill. Elimination of the COLA is still on the table at that point. That would provide STRS and any of the other retirement systems a reverse version of plausible deniability. They would be able to pass the buck for severe cuts or elimination of the COLA on to the legislature.
We must monitor the situation very carefully. While letters, calls, etc. to STRS board members are still very important, we also need to be prepared to speak loudly and with one voice to our legislators once a bill has been put forth. Now is not the time for retirees to remain complacent. We need to speak loudly and militantly against any attempts to further negatively impact or pension income. Neither OEA nor ORTA is speaking out against the reduction of the benefits of retirees or for the "grandfathering" of the COLA for those already retired, especially those who retired pre-1999. It it is going to be done, we must do it for ourselves.