Saturday, August 08, 2009

ORSC Flashback - (yes, you read it correctly, ORSC!) 6 years ago......oversight that was no more than a review of legislation

From John Curry, July 27, 2009
Of course, when you have ORSC board staffed by politicians who like bonuses paid to SRS investment associates....what do you expect! Some things never change, do they? Paul Kostyu's wisdom is eternal, isn't it?
“There was no reason for us to believe the pension funds were being misused until the STRS fiasco,” she said. “We thought there was oversight by the individual (pension) boards. Now, we’re taking a hard look at it.”
-former ORSC board member and former State Representative, Michelle Schneider
Note from, do you see why we should be writing letters to the STRS board and especially to the ORSC demanding that STRS not touch our COLA?
Kathie Bracy's blog contains a listing of the ORSC members and their individual email addresses. Some of them are up for reelection soon and ....they will be more likely to listen to you, won't they?
July 26, 2003

Report intended to critique STRS pensions

Copley Columbus Bureau chief

COLUMBUS — An annual report by the Ohio Retirement Study Council is supposed to examine Ohio’s five public retirement systems.

But it actually does no more than review legislation that came before the General Assembly in the past year.

According to Ohio law, the council must file the report with the governor and the Legislature “covering its evaluation and recommendations with respect to the operations” of the pension funds.

The most recent report was submitted on Jan. 30. Similar to past reports, it simply recaps new bills that have to do with the pension funds; it says nothing about the operations of the funds.

The State Teachers Retirement System has been criticized during the past two months following news reports of excessive spending on staff bonuses, artwork and travel.

A flurry of legislative initiatives call for improved accountability and oversight of the five funds. The proposals include:

• Requiring a performance audit of each fund;

• Giving power to the Ohio inspector general to investigate;

• Requiring employees with any role in deciding how funds are invested to file financial disclosure forms with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

• Changing the make up of pension boards and providing a way to remove members.

Some people, including Gov. Bob Taft, argue that the proper oversight already exists with the study council, which includes six lawmakers and three appointees by the governor. Taft vetoed a measure in the state’s budget bill that would have given the inspector general some oversight authority.

A number of state lawmakers, including members of Taft’s party, have vowed to overturn that veto.

But the study council’s annual report says nothing about bonuses, travel or any other policies affecting employees and their work at the funds.

Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, has been a council member since 1999 and served two years as its chairman. He’s also been a strong critic this year of STRS.

He contended the annual report is what it should be — “straightforward” — and argued that the statute is “ambiguous” about how much power the council has to look at day-to-day operations.

“We have followed the spirit of the law,” he said. “We review and study. That should not be confused with the responsibility of the inspector general.”

When lawmakers question the intent of existing law, they can go to the Legislative Services Commission. It writes proposed legislation at lawmakers’ requests.

Schuring said he is not aware of any request to the commission to research the intent of those who created the study council.

Rep. Michelle G. Schneider, a Cincinnati Republican and the council’s vice chairman, said the flap over STRS illustrates the weakness of the current law and the need to give the council more oversight power.

“There was no reason for us to believe the pension funds were being misused until the STRS fiasco,” she said. “We thought there was oversight by the individual (pension) boards. Now, we’re taking a hard look at it.”

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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