Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ralph Roshong's speech to STRS Board, January 14, 2010

Ralph Roshong
January 14, 2010
TO: STRS Board Members FROM: Ralph Roshong
RE: General Comments
XC: State Legislators
Pages 2
I am a 1991 retiree into the STRS and I thank you for listening to my comments again. I welcome Dr. Martin to the Board and look forward to hearing his input on our issues.
1. As I have commented before, I support a bonus program for our investment staff. However, I am not in favor of our current program. There is too much differentiation in the bonus percentages after a highly differentiated base salary schedule. It is difficult to swallow your goal of an anticipated 8% gain in our investments and then our investment personnel are scheduled to receive up to 90% bonuses of their base salaries. Our country is overwhelmingly unhappy with exorbitant bonuses, exemplified by Wall Street who have been characterized as "poker players playing a $100,000 card game each day and if they win, they keep the pot, but if they lose, the government (taxpayers) pays the bill".
2. I also am confused in your long range planning that you use a goal of 8% gain when the past 10 years have only seen approximately an average of 6% gain.
3. When the Board, back in 1999, instituted the 35 year/88.5% retirement program, where was the ORSC, our oversight committee? The Board's unwise decision was similar to a teenager given a couple dollars. They could not wait to get to a store fast enough and spend it. This displayed their ABSOLUTE LACK OF STRATEGIC PLANNING AND RESPONSIBILITY.
4. APPRECIATION goes to the benefits department for the educational programs coming up, to the benefits department for the changeovers in our insurance programs, to the finance department for our checks on time and conversion to a new computer program, and to the investment department for another good month in December.
5. I heard our director report that the HPA (healthcare pension advocates committee) will present an alternate change plan for you to consider. This is after more than year long process of input that you exercised before presenting OUR plan to the ORSC. I feel they have been provided an un-elected seat to the Board and had their chance for input. I really do not know how you provided them so much un-elected power. YOU ARE OUR BOARD and have presented our plan to ORSC. Let it proceed. HPA deserves no more reconsideration than any of us.
6. I support the initiatives you are considering for continued improvement of our pension system.
7. I once again ask you to consider holding all or a portion of your scheduled executive sessions at the start of the meeting in the morning rather than an elongated lunch hour during which your guests have to sit for 2-2.5 hours with no Board business to witness.
8. I again request the amount of square footage of the STRS building and ask for some response that we might have office space available to rent to other groups. We appear to have a lot of space that could be utilized for potential income.
Thank you again for listening to my concerns and we retirees are very appreciative of your efforts in directing our STRS pension fund.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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