.......so they just gave lip service to an IG investigation!
From John Curry, July 7, 2010
"Meanwhile, legislators from both parties want the House and Senate to return from their summer break to override a line-item veto by Gov. Bob Taft that prevents the state’s inspector general from investigating STRS and the other four state pension funds."
Canton Repository, July 8, 2003
Montgomery seeks law to review STRS practices
By PAUL E. KOSTYU Copley Columbus Bureau chief
COLUMBUS — State Auditor Betty Montgomery now wants regular and independent performance reviews of the State Teachers Retirement System.
Montgomery is working with Ohio Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, and Rep. Michelle Schneider, R-Cincinnati, to craft a law that would require reviews of the pension fund’s investments and management practices.
Montgomery said her office is equipped to handle the audit, but an outside firm should be hired so it is independent of the fund. A representative of Montgomery’s office as well as the offices of the attorney general and state superintendent of schools are voting members of the STRS board. The pension fund would be required to pay for the audit.
“Members of our public pension funds deserve to know that their dollars are being invested and managed properly,” Montgomery said.
Meanwhile, legislators from both parties want the House and Senate to return from their summer break to override a line-item veto by Gov. Bob Taft that prevents the state’s inspector general from investigating STRS and the other four state pension funds.
Rep. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, sent a letter last week to House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, and Senate President Doug White, R-Manchester, asking that both chambers reconvene to deal with the issue. Nearly 50 members of the General Assembly signed the letter, though Grendell said he would have had more if not for the July 4 holiday.
“The independent power of the inspector general’s office would only strengthen oversight capabilities,” he said.
Minority leaders in the Senate and the House backed the veto override. Sen. Gregory DiDonato, D-New Philadelphia, joined by eight other Senators asked White to “join our colleagues in the House in a push to provide Ohio’s pensioners greater safeguards.”
DiDonato said, “Taft has made a terrible error in vetoing this provision.”
Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, said, “We need to give taxpayers confidence that this sort of mismanagement can never happen again.”
Maggie Mitchell, a spokeswoman for White, said reconvening the Senate is not something that he has talked about with staff or other senators.
Dwight Crum, a spokesman for Householder, said Grendell’s request has not been reviewed, and members have not been contacted.
Because the line-item veto occurred on a House bill, overriding it would have to originate in the House.
On another front, Schuring is backing legislation by Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, to give Inspector General Thomas P. Charles the power to investigate the pension funds.
Schuring also has introduced Senate Bill 105 with bipartisan support that would require officials and employees of the five pension funds to file financial disclosures statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission.
The flurry of legislative activity comes in the wake of a revelations that STRS spent $16.1 million in staff bonuses since August 2000, according to newly computed figures, as well as millions more on board travel and artwork at its headquarters, while the fund’s portfolio lost $12.3 billion.
Members of STRS are discussing how to prepare a class-action lawsuit. There also are plans to organize a protest march from the Statehouse to STRS headquarters at the fund’s next board meeting Aug. 15. Schuring said he will participate in the march.