Saturday, December 05, 2009

John Curry: Business as usual at STRS

John Curry to Laura Ecklar, December 4, 2009
Subject: Re: Response to E-Mail


Thank you for this communication below that took the intervention of a Board member to initiate. According to your letter below, it is apparent to this retiree that STRS places little value on integrity when it comes time to do business with our contractors because, as you say, they are "separate and distinct." I am not's just "business as usual" at STRS.

John Curry

From Laura Ecklar, December 4, 2009
Subject: Response to E-Mail

Dear Mr. Curry,

Mr. Nehf has asked that I respond on his behalf to your recent e-mail regarding the use of UnitedHealthcare for STRS Ohio associates’ health insurance. The decision to enter into a lawsuit against a company for past corporate wrongdoing and the decision to retain the best vendor to provide services to STRS Ohio are separate and distinct. While publicly available information regarding alleged wrongdoing may be considered when we are evaluating different vendors, this does not serve as an automatic bar to doing business with a company. In the vast majority of situations, the alleged wrongdoing has no relationship to the services provided to STRS Ohio.

Regarding UnitedHealthcare specifically, STRS Ohio has had a long-standing relationship with this company. Nevertheless, approximately every two years, we request bids from four to five major insurance companies. To date, these inquiries have confirmed that it is in STRS Ohio’s best interest to retain UnitedHealthcare.

I hope this information is useful to you.

Thank you.

Laura Ecklar
Director, Communication Services

Answers re: Gym membership

From Molly Janczyk, December 4, 2009
Subject: RE: gym membership
Thank you, Greg!

From Greg Nickell, December 4, 2009
Subject: RE: gym membership

Ms. Janczyk:

Below are two questions and answers from the Health Care FAQ available through the STRS Ohio website that you might find helpful.

How can I get more information on the Aetna Fitness Program available under the Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO)? (posted 10/15/09) Enrollees can obtain information on Aetna’s Medicare Fitness Program by visiting its Web site at

How can I find a participating gym or fitness center? (posted 10/15/09) Enrollees can call Aetna toll-free at 1-877-243-3004 or visit to locate fitness centers in their area.

Greg Nickell
From Molly Janczyk, December 4, 2009
Subject: RE: gym membership

You call and ask the gyms if they accept Aetna Medicare Plan discount.
From Lynn Matthaes, December 4, 2009
Subject: gym membership

Molly, is there a list of gyms we can join that are a part of our health care benefits for 2010? If so, where do we find it?


Lynne Matthaes

Molly Janczyk: Answers from Aristotle Hutras

From Molly Janczyk, December 4, 2009
Subject: Answers: Aristotle Hutras: Exec. Direc. ORSC: Pensions, Changing ORSC, Investments

Aristotle Hutras, Exec. Direc. of the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) which oversees all 5 pension systems contacted me today by phone with his answers to the 2 questions below. You can view the ORC sections on line and view all 5 pension systems overview by bringing up the ORSC online.

Ques. 1: Can the ORC be changed by legislation to reduce current pensions? Aristotle stated 3307.42 protects the vested rights of CURRENT retirees already receiving pensions. He stated the the ORSC and he interpret the ORC this way: 'Once granted this vested right (current pensions), can't be reduced or eliminated by subsequent legislation.'

Ques. 2: Who pays us should STRS go bankrupt? Aristotle again repeated, STRS is secure for the next 2 decades for paying our pensions. IF no changes occur, then, options would have to be on the table. NO ONE EXPECTS THIS TO HAPPEN!!!!! That is WHY all 5 pension systems are being proactive seeking changes NOW. Legislation should occur next year as early as Jan. but we all know legislation takes time. THAT is WHERE the discussion is being held and THAT is the appropriate venue for this discussion.

IF the worse case scenario occurs and STRS is unable to pay current pensions, (WHICH NO ONE AT STRS OR THE ORSC EXPECTS TO HAPPEN), then Aristotle and the ORSC interpretsthe ORC as follows: 'The state would have a hard time not standing behind the obligation because it was law when the pensions were issued.'


Should this totally not expected disaster occur and the state cannot pay, Aristotle said that 3307.30 issues further protections for these vested rights to levy additional funds to pay the obligations of already vested pensions. Also, retirees would seek judicial relief as the were vested by law and received pensions under the law.

This is as secure as it gets and short of some type of state and federal financial implosion where all fails and no one can pay anything, we are vested and secure in our current pensions. None of this pertains to those not yet receiving pensions. The law can be changed to affect FUTURE pensions of those active educators NOT currently receiving pensions.


IF you have questions or statements, direct them to STRS or the ORSC as I have depleted my efforts on this issue and feel most satisfied with Aristotle's answers that I am secure and my pension is safe.

See below for direct contact info for Aristotle who is most approachable and helpful. Thank you, Aristotle.

Molly J.

From Molly Janczyk, November 23, 2009
Subject: Aristotle Hutras: Exec. Direc. ORSC: Pensions, Changing ORSC, Investments

Dear Aristotle,

I wondered if you found the answers to the 2 questions below. Please advise.

Molly J.

From Molly Janczyk, November 12, 2009
Subject: Aristotle Hutras: Exec. Direc. ORSC: Pensions, Changing ORSC, Investments

I called Aristotle Hutras yesterday on the same question below: Aristotle is happy to take calls anytime from anyone: "We are here to serve." He was gracious and very openly communicative. He has an Education Degree but has served in Public Policy for his career after starting there as a page as a young man. I am copying Aristotle on this email for accuracy:

Direct number: 614-228-3574
Direct email:

1. Aristotle : Can ORC be changed to reduce current pensions?

Aristotle feels this would be very difficult to reduce or take away pensions retroactively and would be seriously challenged opening the door for lawsuits due to Federal Trust and existing laws.

Aristotle IS checking further on this to be certain. He will get back to me on this question.

2. Should STRS go bankrupt (which no one expects) who pays us our pensions? The state would have a hard time not standing behind that obligation as it was law when the pensions were issued but he is checking on this for a clear answer.

On this issue:

STRS is strong as is OPERS with its investments and investment staff. Those staff members can easily go other places for jobs. I know there is a lot of talk about bonuses but they have done a remarkable job and this is a very difficult climate. Investment geniuses have lost money. For ex., Warren Buffet. The whole country has lost money.

The reason some plans have become unsustainable is because they used money for other things (discretionary payouts) vs. keeping the money in the funds for pensions. This is why STRS is proposing changes as without change, STRS will have to stop paying though that would be 10-20 years down the road. But, you don't want to wait for that to happen. Changes need to be made now to grow funds and meet mandatory 30 yr funding.

He believes in educating people for responsible decisions. Info should be factual. Giving misinformation not factual is not responsible and is a disservice to our readers and listeners. We want folks to have facts at hand or bad decisions and poor statements are made. If this happens with lawmakers, then they can't be responsible for decisions based on bad info. The legislators are seeking solid answers.

He was happy that we are seeking facts and opening communications for good dialogue.

Thank you, Aristotle for a most pleasant conversation and for seeking this definitive answers for concerned retirees.

Molly Janczyk
STRS Retiree

Thursday, December 03, 2009

No CORE meeting in December

From CORE, December 3, 2009
CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators) will NOT hold a meeting in December due to the fact that the STRS meeting is so early in the month and also because the "CORE Talking Points Committee" (for the public and media) will meet this month. However, CORE encourages members to attend the STRS meeting on Thursday, December 10th at 9:00 a.m. on the 6th floor at STRS, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus. Parking is free in the STRS parking garage behind the main part of the building. There is no STRS meeting scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11th.
Suggestions for the January 14th CORE meeting agenda, may be sent to John Curry at Checks for dues ($10.00 per year; please indicate if you are a new member) and contributions may be made out to CORE and sent to CORE, P.O. Box 167 Wilmington, OH 45177.

ORSC meeting scheduled for December 9

From ORSC, December 3, 2009
Ohio Retirement Study Council
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
9:00 a.m.
Room 122 Statehouse
Columbus, OH

...• Call to Order
...• Roll Call
...• Minutes of Previous Meeting
...• Board Approved 30-Year Funding Plan – OPERS
...• Iran/Sudan Investment Update – OP&F
...• Rules
...• Announcement of Next Meeting
...• Adjournment

A Message From Michael Nehf, STRS Ohio Executive Director

From STRS, December 3, 2009

For almost 90 years, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS Ohio) has been a cornerstone in helping to provide financial security for the public educators of this state, as well as supporting economic activity at the local, state and national levels. The contributions to the pension fund, both from members and employers, are part of the members' compensation package paid in return for work performed. At the conclusion of the teachers' career, STRS Ohio uses this deferred compensation to provide a pension benefit (in lieu of Social Security).

In the near future, some Ohio newspapers plan to publish stories about Ohio's five public pension systems and examine if they are sustainable in the future. For many months, the State Teachers Retirement Board and staff have been conducting their own self-examination about this very issue. This current "Great Recession," along with other economic and demographic factors, have had an impact on the financial condition of the pension fund. As we have shared with our members, legislators and the media during these lengthy discussions, looking long-term, STRS Ohio sees a shortfall in having the funds available to pay benefits. To keep this from happening, the responsibility lies with the Retirement Board, working in conjunction with the Legislature. The STRS Ohio Defined Benefit Plan is sustainable with reasonable, measured changes for the future.

On Sept. 1, the Retirement Board took the prudent and responsible step to unanimously adopt a plan that calls for changes in pension plan design and contributions. The board is not depending solely on market returns or simply the passage of time to solve its funding challenge. Because all of us are living longer, the plan recognizes the need to increase the retirement age and reduce benefits for current and future retirees; it also calls for an increase in member and employer contributions. For the changes to be made, action is required by the Ohio General Assembly, as all of the plan components require changes in existing law. We are currently reviewing the first draft of this legislation and anticipate that a bill will be introduced yet this year or early in 2010.

During that legislative process, we expect and will welcome spirited debate. We know that the bill may undergo changes during this time-honored process. Our overarching goal in this discussion will be the preservation of the Defined Benefit Plan for current and future educators in Ohio. The reasons for this are many. The Defined Benefit Plan:

- Provides participants a reasonable lifetime benefit they won't outlive - a problem now faced by millions of Americans whose savings have been depleted in this recession.

- Provides a stable source of revenue for local economies; STRS Ohio pays more than $3.6 billion in benefits to Ohio residents each year that they then spend in Ohio.

- Supports the services provided by state and federal governments through the taxes paid on these benefits.

- Reduces the likelihood that its participants will have to turn to taxpayer-funded public assistance, Medicaid or social services in retirement, thus relieving taxpayers of future obligations.

- Helps Ohio's public schools (including charter schools), colleges and universities recruit and retain quality educators.

Preserving a Defined Benefit Plan for Ohio's public educators provides financial protection for both plan participants and taxpayers. The plan proposed by the State Teachers Retirement Board helps ensure the sustainability of STRS Ohio for thousands of Ohio taxpayers - Ohio's retired public educators. We will continue to use our Web site, newsletters, e-mail news service and face-to-face meetings to keep you informed about this issue during the legislative process.

Michael J. Nehf
STRS Ohio Executive Director

STRS Flashback - 6 Years Ago - "pooling" and Bill Leibensperger says, "Something outrageous like this is needed for these outrageous times."

From John Curry, November 30, 2009
Well, Bill L., no pooling was accomplished and the times...well....they are still "outrageous," aren't they? Jack (Chapman), we don't have closure, do we? Deb (Scott), we didn't get there, did we?
Canton Repository, November 20, 2003
STRS board weighs options to contain health care costs
Copley Columbus Bureau chief
COLUMBUS — Pooling members of the state’s five retirement systems and finding a single health-care provider for them may be a way to attack the rising cost of health care.
That was one of the options the State Teachers Retirement System board heard Wednesday night during its joint meeting with the system’s Health Care Advocates.
The advocates organization is working to bring together the five pension boards, labor and management groups and other stakeholders to talk about health care, said Bill Leibensperger, who represents active teachers in the advocates organization. He said the meeting will happen soon.
“Something outrageous like this is needed for these outrageous times,” he said. “We’re talking about a large group of people. Health care is not a need that will go away.”
Pooling could include all public retirees, just active employees or just retirees, said Terri Bierdeman, director of governmental relations at the State Teachers Retirement System. She said the Legislature should establish a study group to examine the level of health care to be provided to Ohio’s public employees, the fiscal need and resources for doing so, and cost savings. She said collective bargaining requirements, federal limitations and the impact of a pool on the financial and health markets also need to be addressed.
An STRS-Advocates work group recommended the teachers system join other pension funds to draft state legislation to create Retiree Medical Accounts, a mechanism to allow individual accounts to be set up with some tax benefits.
The same work group recommended the State Teachers Retirement System explore the net cost of providing health care to re-employed retirees. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this population would be a net contributor to the health-care cost pool, board members were told.
“The study, perhaps by the Ohio Retirement Study Council, should look at the whole package not a given system,” Bierdeman said.
Time, however, is of the essence, board members and advocates agreed.
Dave Travis, a Health Care Advocate representing retired teachers, said the advocates have hired a national health-care consultant to assist them with developing immediate steps to address rising costs. He said the firm would be in Columbus next week.
Travis said there are several issues the advocates want help with, including how to deal with the out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs paid by low-income retirees.
Sandra L. Knoesel, State Teachers Retirement System deputy executive director for member benefits, said another strategy to be explored is whether a pharmacy expert and physician should be hired to help develop long-term health-care investment strategy. Other options worth exploring, she said, are a pharmacy management plan, analysis of health risk assessments for retirees, patient management programs and alternative provider delivery systems.
She said the board faces a late spring 2004 deadline for making decisions that would affect the system’s next budget.
Jack Chapman, a State Teachers Retirement System board member, said he wants to see results.
“This is all very nice, but we’re just talking,” he said. “We’re not moving. I want closure.”
“We’re going to get there,” said Deborah Scott, chairwoman of the board’s health committee.

Rich Cordray speaks out re: his latest lawsuit against those who ripped off Ohio's retirement systems

From John Curry, November 24, 2009
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray
SpeakOutOhio > Blog > November 2009 >
Cordray: There are no special rules for those in the financial industry
My office is aggressively pursuing Wall Street corporations and executives that harm investors here in Ohio and around the world. Just one week ago, we announced a $400 million settlement in our litigation against Marsh, the insurance broker whose kickback scheme resulted in tremendous investor losses.
Today we are opening a new front in our fight to hold Wall Street accountable. Our nation’s three largest rating agencies – Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch – carry an important duty to our marketplace and economy to offer objective information about the relative security of investments. And investors trust that information when making extremely important decisions. But unfortunately, the rating agencies recently shirked their responsibilities, sparking worldwide economic distress. Nowhere has this been felt more acutely than in Ohio.
Specifically, it has come to light that Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch offered inaccurate evaluations of financial products known as mortgage-backed securities. The rating agencies gave these investments their highest credit ratings. As it turns out, however, those ratings were artificially inflated – and Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch inflated the ratings in exchange, at least in part, for very lucrative fees from the issuers of these securities. And in fact, investments in mortgage-backed securities were nowhere near as safe as the rating agencies assured investors they would be.
In other words, the credit rating agencies sold out – and they sold us out. They traded in their objectivity, and in exchange, received massive profits. As a result, Ohio police officers, fire fighters, teachers, government workers, investors, and retirees suffered terrible losses – losses that, according to our preliminary analysis, exceed $457 million. We will hold Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch accountable for the havoc they wreaked in our economy and for the devastation they imposed on the hard-earned investments of ordinary workers, families, and retirees here in Ohio.
This case goes to the heart of what’s wrong with Wall Street today. Ohio workers – including our families, friends, and neighbors – work hard to create wealth in our economy. Then Wall Street corporations and executives manipulate that wealth, for their benefit, and they do so with total disregard for our life’s work and the importance of our retirement savings. Ordinary people throughout Ohio are hurt by this kind of misconduct. And we won’t stand for it.
As I’ve repeatedly said, there are no special rules for those in the financial industry. Wall Street corporations and executives must play by the same rules as everybody else, and we will make sure they do so.
This lawsuit brings to eight the number of major cases handled by my office against Wall Street this year. To date, we have succeeded in recovering $2 billion. I realize that Columbus, Ohio, may seem far away to executives on Wall Street, but I hope by now that they’re starting hear us. It is no longer safe to run roughshod over workers, retirees, and families in Ohio. If you break the law, and harm Ohio investors, you will be held accountable.

OPERS plan now on ORSC website...what do THEY say about COLA? WELL.....

From John Curry, November 30, 2009
...they (OPERS) recommend GRANDFATHERING the current 3% COLA for current retirees! Here is what OPERS has to say:
"Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) – Replace the current 3% simple COLA with a simple COLA equal to the change in the Consumer Price Index up to 3%. This change would not apply to current OPERS retirees."
Here is a link to the OPERS recommendations as turned in to the Ohio Retirement Study Council and posted on the ORSC's website.

OEA salaries - latest Dept. of Labor posting, November 2009

From John Curry, November 29, 2009
Below is a summary of the OEA salaries as reported to the U.S. Dept. of Labor from their website. This posting was presented to the U.S. Dept. of Labor in November of 2009 and covers a time period from 9/1/2008- 8/31/2009. Just as public school educators' salaries are public domain, the salaries of the OEA associates are also public domain. I have listed all salaries from $60,000 to $100,000. There are some less than 60K but this may or may not be due to a part time position or a person who was hired during this time period or resigned during this time period or....could just be a salary lower than 60K.
Following this listing of salaries from 60K to 100K will be a listing of OEA salaries over 100K.
John Curry
If you wish to access the full report please follow this procedure:
1. Go to this page (this link opens in a new window):
2. Enter this employer number: 512-490 in the box listed as "File Number."
3. Click the "Submit" button. Now, here's the summary. Please note the term "LRC" listed as a job description - this stands for Labor Relations Consultant....the OEA people that you probably see when they visit your school. These names/salaries can be found listed on schedules 11 & 12 of the U.S. Dept. of Labor document should you decide to click on the link above and do your own search. I have left out the dollar signs. These figures are from column (D)
Gross Salary Disbursements (before any deductions).

60K to 100K
63,713 Austin, Jolynn Staff Accountant I
75,780 Barbu, Alexandru CIS Consultant
60,930 Bartlo, Llynn Admin Secretary II
79,713 Boerger, Katherine LRC
67,131 Botz, Gail Communications Technician
71,763 Brooks, Lisa Executive Asst-Counsel
79,365 Castorano, Richard Exec Asst Member Services
65,296 Chute, Danielle Staff Accountant II
94,176 Clay, Airica LRC
60,889 Cline, Cathy Admin Secretary II
79,468 Colbeck, Tad LRC
62,342 Colyer, Shelley Admin Secretary II
60,501 Crumrine, Margaret Admin Secretary II
62,453 Davis, Elaine Admin Secretary II
89,248 Day, Daniel LRC
60,565 Doubledee, Arlene Admin Assistant
79,478 Elias, Dawn Executive Assistant H/R
61,201 Facchiano, Joyce Admin Secretary II
69,806 Gallagher, Kathleen Admin Assistant
60,713 Gonzalez, Sandra Admin Secretary II
83,267 Jackson, Schalet LRC
80,000 Jaeck, Todd LRC
60,756 Johanson, Barbara Admin Secretary II
74,587 Johnson, Patricia LRC
61,667 Jones, Esther Admin Secretary II
71,681 Kaliszak, Teresa Membership Accounting
76,132 Kappes, John Computer Tech Support
91,432 Keller, Rosemarie Manager Legal Services
64,055 Kelm, Linda Membership Specialist
77,301 Kennedy, Diedri LRC
76,273 Kidwell, Sally Staff Accountant II
99,888 Kovach, Gary LRC
72,858 Lehman, Susan Education Reform Consultant
61,837 Lester, Donna Admin Secretary II
60,834 Marcum, Donnie Admin Secretary II
88,970 Maynard, Deborah LRC
79,744 Mueller, Daniel LRC
60,699 Narin, Lori Admin Secretary II
60,320 Nelson, Judy Admin Secretary II
81,576 Newgard, Kerri LRC
60,867 Obrien, Sharon Admin Secretary II
86,265 Odonnell, Tina Executive Assistant
62,104 Phillips, Crystalle Admin Secretary II
60,251 Picker, Barbara Admin Secretary II
60,280 Puterbaugh, Debra Admin Secretary II
74,129 Quesada, Dinica Education Reform Cons
89,186 Radel, Samuel LRC
78,758 Ray, Patricia LRC
61,261 Reed, Phyllis Admin Secretary II
64,541 Roberts, Deborah Administrative Assistant
60,652 Rosa, Miriam Admin Secretary II
99,369 Rumsey, Lora LRC
62,422 Sekella, Beverly Exec Asst Workforce Plan
67,613 Simonini, Laura Research Technician
60,846 Smith, Peggy Admin Secretary II
61,091 Starcher, Connie Admin Secretary II
93,095 Thomas, Anne LRC
61,918 Thompson, Angela Admin Secretary II
76,924 Townley, Renee LRC
89,111 Tufaro, Dolores LRC
84,656 Volz-Costell, Jerrilyn Mgr Administrative Svcs
84,314 Watson, Diana LRC
85,024 Webster, Michelle Staff Accountant II
84,464 Whitney, Theresa LRC
61,179 Wilson, Jada Administrative Assistant
90,593 Winship, Michele Education Reform Cons
84,916 Wittemire, Leroy Exec Asst Business Svc
78,768 Yevincy, Amy LRC
62,394 Young, Alice Admin Secretary II
- - - - -
100K Plus
173,802 Brooks, Patricia President
149,156 Leibensperger, William Vice President
150,340 Timlin, James Secretary Treasurer
123,876 Allison, Mark CIS Consultant
101,706 Avouris, John LRC
144,130 Babcock, Susan AED Strategic/workforce
122,293 Bayou, Ann LRC
122,341 Bell-Gombita, Marla LRC
122,266 Bibler, Tim LRC
122,280 Biddle, Susan LRC
135,004 Bird, Rodney LRC
116,399 Blanden, Lee LRC
123,438 Bozovich, George LRC
122,269 Busby, Robin LRC
122,198 Carlisle, Gary LRC
122,533 Chandler-Marks, Elizabeth LRC
107,714 Chanfrau, Graciela Director - HR
121,940 Chavez, Peggy LRC
116,584 Clark, Melissa Lobbyist
132,168 Clum, Darren CIS Consultant
122,299 Cohagen, Joseph Director Accounting
135,971 Collins-Murdoc, Patricia Director Region 1
118,734 Cooper, Jeanette Director Region 4
116,215 Costantino, Mark LRC
122,274 Crawford, Douglas LRC
122,237 Dalton, Donald LRC
110,107 Davis, Demetrice Education Reform Consultant
116,055 Davis, Robert Lobbyist
122,185 Davis, Vicky LRC
115,734 Dotson, Matthew Lobbyist
104,650 Elling, Betty LRC
130,420 Fekete, Fritz Director I/S & Research
123,818 Field, Ruth LRC
118,697 Fiely, Linda General Counsel
140,775 Flanagan, Kevin AED Member Services - Field
130,241 Flora, Randall Director EI & I
127,282 Gascon, Gregg Research Consultant
116,272 Grafton, John LRC
127,215 Graham, Stuart CIS Consultant
122,369 Harris, Russell Education Reform Cons
114,453 Hart, Jonathan CIS Consultant
114,321 Holub, Donald Research Consultant
122,139 Howell, Lynette LRC
122,252 Hutchins, Talmadge LRC
124,376 Jewell, Paul Research Consultant
122,293 Johnson, Charles LRC
126,652 Johnson, Rachelle AED Member Services - Progr
122,369 Jones, Jan LRC
123,510 Joseph, Bonnie Political Consultant
122,293 Jowhar, Thomas LRC
122,214 Kaszar, Suzanne LRC
135,377 Kestner, Jeffrey LRC
104,627 Kirkwood, Amber LRC
122,233 Kubiske, Annette LRC
129,109 Lane, Kimberley LRC
124,023 Leidy, Chloann LRC
112,305 Linder, Mark LRC
122,247 Lindsey, Linda LRC
116,953 Lobert-Edmo, Lavonne LRC
122,263 Mahoney, Michael Director Communications
122,596 Marchese, Victor LRC
151,046 Martin, James AED Business Services
123,191 Matkowski, Robert LRC
122,286 May, Linda LRC
104,546 McEacheron, Michael LRC
122,250 McMurray, Bonnie LRC
110,329 Messer, Darlene LRC
122,210 Messer, Donald LRC
122,283 Miller, Diane LRC
122,292 Miller, Timothy LRC
108,530 Miller, Vickie LRC
123,959 Munoz-Nedrow, Cristina Director Region 5
122,319 Musilli, Henry LRC
128,132 Nelson, Alfred LRC
125,772 Newhall, Julie Editor
116,210 Nolasco, Jefrey LRC
128,163 Norris, Parry Director Region 2
110,377 Oconnell-Burt, Kathleen LRC
122,206 Otten, William LRC
129,562 Pearson, William LRC
125,086 Peterson, Cynthia Education Reform Cons
110,034 Pipe, Herman LRC
121,752 Prater, Michelle Communications Cons
113,157 Rapp, Ronald Director Governmental SVC
194,799 Reardon, Dennis Executive Director
122,310 Reimund, Marci LRC
122,293 Renaud, Thomas LRC
129,416 Saad, Sheila LRC
121,759 Shoulders, Venita LRC
100,460 Slaughter, Rebecca Mgr Governance Relations
122,257 Smolik, Carrie LRC
123,628 Squires, Jerry LRC
122,304 Stephenson, Edward LRC
135,291 Suchy, Mary Director of Membership
116,224 Terman, Melodie LRC
124,283 Tieman, Diane LRC
110,319 Trapp, Helen LRC
122,286 Turner, Patricia Research Consultant
104,895 Urban, Eric LRC
122,175 Villamagna, Rebecca LRC
123,032 Weldon, Cecelia LRC
168,864 Wicks, Larry Executive Director
122,372 Williams, Donald LRC
110,245 Wing, Debra LRC
131,716 Young, Norman LRC

Report on November 2009 STRS Board meeting

From STRS, November 23, 2009

Last week, the State Teachers Retirement Board held its monthly meeting. Following the regularly scheduled meetings, a report titled "Board News" is posted on the STRS Ohio Web site, as well as mailed to a number of members and education organization representatives who have requested it. As a member of STRS Ohio with an e-mail address on file, you will also receive this report each month. The November report follows.


DRAFT PENSION LEGISLATION UNDER REVIEW Following the September 2009 presentations to the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) by the five retirement systems, the recommendations were forwarded by Rep. Todd Book's office to the Legislative Service Commission (LSC) to be drafted into legislation. In November, STRS Ohio staff received a copy of draft bill language pertaining to Ohio Revised Code, Section 3307, which are the statutes governing STRS Ohio. Staff is in the process of reviewing the language drafted by LSC to ensure it correctly interprets the proposed contribution and pension plan changes unanimously adopted by the State Teachers Retirement Board on Sept. 1. In the meantime, STRS Ohio Executive Director Mike Nehf and Governmental Relations staff are also meeting with Ohio legislators, explaining to them the proposed plan, why the changes need to be made and the consequences if these recommendations or something close to them are not adopted by the Legislature. It is anticipated that a comprehensive piece of legislation that brings together all five systems' recommendations will be available later this year or in the early part of 2010.

BOARD REVIEWS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INVESTMENT COMPENSATION Earlier this year, at its September 2009 meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board asked the compensation consulting firm, McLagan, to conduct a compensation analysis of STRS Ohio Investment Department positions, given the recent economic crisis. The board also asked for a recommendation regarding an appropriate mix between base pay and incentive pay to use for total compensation, based on reviewing public and private sector data. A compensation structure for investment associates that includes both fixed and variable pay (pay that is "at risk") is a commonly accepted practice in both large public funds and in private sector firms. At STRS Ohio, this variable pay is awarded through the Performance-Based Incentive (PBI) Program.
At the November board meeting, McLagan presented its report that included a recommendation calling for a reduction in incentive pay for eligible Investment Department associates by lowering maximum PBI payouts. Further, STRS Ohio staff recommended targeting compensation for PBI-eligible associates at the median compensation level of a blended mix of 50% large/leading public funds and 50% private sector firms for comparable investment positions. Currently, total compensation for STRS Ohio's investment associates is targeted at the lower 25th percentile of the private sector market.

If the proposed changes are approved by the board at its December meeting, total incentive opportunities for fiscal year 2010 will decline by 13% or $2.8 million and total compensation (base salary plus maximum PBI) will be 1% below the median of the blended mix of large/leading public fund and private sector firms.

At previous meetings, the board has already approved these changes to the PBI Program going forward:

- No incentives will be paid when the total investment fund does not achieve a positive absolute return.
- Incentives will be reduced by 3% for each billion the total investment fund is below $65 billion at the end of any fiscal year.
- PBIs will be increased by 8% if the total investment fund's absolute return exceeds +8.5% and the net relative return exceeds 60 basis points, but less than 100 basis points; or increased by 12% if the total fund's absolute return exceeds +8.5% and the net relative return equals 100 basis points or more.

In addition, the number of eligible associates in the PBI Program has been reduced to 80 individuals from 90.

The internal management of STRS Ohio's investment assets - versus using outside money managers - saved STRS Ohio about $112 million in fees in calendar year 2008.

RETIREMENTS APPROVED The Retirement Board approved 267 active members and 212 inactive members for service retirement benefits.


HEALTH CARE OPEN ENROLLMENT CONTINUES THROUGH NOV. 24 The annual health care open-enrollment period is under way through Nov. 24. The changes being made to the STRS Ohio Health Care Program for 2010 generated a record number of calls to the Member Services Center and sold-out attendance at the 60 Health Care Highlights meetings. Much of the activity is connected to the new Medicare Advantage plan, Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO). To help enrollees understand the eligibility and coverage details of the new plan - as well as other changes occurring in the health care program - a series of "frequently asked questions" has been added to the STRS Ohio Web site ( Since their posting, there have been more than 2,700 visits to this portion of the Web site.

SWITCH TO GENERIC MEDICATIONS IS SAVING MONEY FOR STRS OHIO MEMBERS AND THE HEALTH CARE FUND The Low-Cost Generic (LCG) Drug Program implemented in June is already generating significant savings. Under this program, enrollees in the Medical Mutual, Aetna and Paramount health care plans can receive a 90-day supply of more than 200 generic medications for just a $9 copayment through Express Scripts home delivery. From June through September 2009, more than 26,000 prescription drug claims were processed at mail service under the LCG Plan. Program enrollees saved $271,000 in copayments and $404,000 was retained in the Health Care Stabilization Fund.

Call4Generic was also implemented by Express Scripts for STRS Ohio in July 2009. This program encourages the use of generic medications through targeted outreach by Express Scripts. Individuals and their prescribing physicians are identified through claims review of medication classes, in which a brand-name medication was filled that has a clinically appropriate generic. If the enrollee and physician agree to the switch from a brand to the generic, a prescription is obtained from the physician. For the period of July through September 2009, the conversion rate to generic drugs was 12.1%. This has resulted in copayment savings of $270,000 for health care program enrollees and the additional retention of $740,000 in the health care fund.
The greatest reduction in prescription drug costs can be realized through increased use of generic drugs. These two programs have contributed to an increase to 61.3% from 56.4% generic utilization at mail service, and an overall increase in generic utilization to 65.1% from 63.5% for the period of July through September 2009, as compared to March through May 2009.

RETIREMENT BOARD ELECTION PROCESS BEGINS THIS MONTH On Nov. 13, notices were sent to all STRS Ohio reporting employers and other interested parties about the upcoming Retirement Board election for two contributing member seats. In addition, information is posted on the STRS Ohio Web site. Individuals interested in running for one of these seats can request petitions from STRS Ohio by calling toll-free 1-888-227-7877. The deadline for returning petitions is Feb. 26, 2010.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Minutes - November 19 CORE meeting

Minutes of the November 19, 2009 CORE Meeting
President Dave Parshall opened the Nov. meeting of CORE at noon in the Sublett Room of the STRS Building. The first item of business was the approval of the October CORE Minutes. Mary Ellen Angeletti moved to have them approved; Lloyd Knudsen seconded the motion. The fifteen in attendance approved the minutes.
Treasurer Herman Fisher thanked people who’d sent dues, as well as some donations. He reported that CORE “has money.” In fact our treasury currently is holding steady; however, members are encouraged to send in their dues if they haven’t yet. Herm also informed the group that Ryan Holderman has sent him an updated membership list.
President Dave notified the members that there would be no meeting of CORE in December. (Since we had such a small number at this November meeting, officers were sure we’d have even fewer at a meeting in the busy month of December.)
The next item of business was the Position Statement Committee report by President Dave. He and Jill Fetters explained that we need to be planning how to address our audiences, media, and points that we need to emphasize, correct terminology we can employ. To those ends the committee (comprised of Jill, Mary Ellen, Dave, Carole DePaola, George Justice, Marie Fetters, and Kathie Bracy – with Lou D’Orio as a consultant -- will be meeting on Dec. 4th at 1 p.m. at Dave’s condominium complex in Westerville. If you have not received directions call or e-mail Dave.
Members are strongly encouraged to contact either Dave ( or Jill ( with ideas or suggestions for ways to correct any misconceptions of teachers’ retirement in the minds of the non-teaching public. For example, as Lou explained, if we were to refer to “deferred compensation,” a part of a teacher’s salary, this would get away from the negative connotation of the word “benefits.” (Even though most retirees know, many in the non-teaching sector are unaware that teachers often would forego raises – thus having lower salaries throughout their careers – with the hope of having more money in their retirement.) Perhaps we can even think of ways to redirect criticism.
The members in attendance turned their attention to ways to establish a better rapport with STRS Executive Director Mike Nehf. Dave was encouraged to maintain meetings with Mr. Nehf on a regular basis.
Before the meeting adjourned, President Dave reminded all that there would be no CORE Meeting in December. The next CORE Meeting will be in January of 2010.
The November meeting was adjourned at 12:45.
Respectfully submitted,

Marie M. Fetters
CORE Secretary
From STRS, December 2, 2009


The State Teachers Retirement Board and Committee meetings currently scheduled at the STRS Ohio offices, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, are as follows:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
11:00 a.m. Disability Review Panel (Executive Session)
.…2:00 p.m. Ad-Hoc Committee for Retreat Review

Thursday, December 10, 2009
....9:00 a.m. Audit Committee Meeting
10:30 a.m. Retirement Board Meeting

The Retirement Board meeting will come to order at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, and begin with a report from the external auditors, followed by a report from the Investment Dept., the Executive Director's Report, public participation, a report on Long-Term Fiduciary and Financial Contingency Planning, routine matters, old business, new business and any other matters requiring attention.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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