Friday, June 01, 2012

STRS retiree Duke Snider to STRS board member Jim McGreevy

May 25, 2012
Dear Mr. McGreevy,
Thank you for listening to me yesterday evening. I have given our talk a lot of thought and have come to some conclusions. You conducted yourself in a very gentlemanly manner and listened intently. You are very articulate and appeared to be incredibly informed by upper management. In fact, I feel you believe 100% in everything management discloses to you and you relay this information to whomever.
I’m not convinced you really believe everything that has been conveyed to you; however, you probably feel in your own mind you must support the staff 100% to be a good board member. I would think that this would cause a lot of stress, especially when there have been decisions that were/are inappropriate or just plain wrong, but the decision must be supported regardless.
After talking with both board members who were placed in that position by retirees, you and Mr. Stein appear to be on the same page with information except Mr. Stein did not tell me everything properly. It really sounded as if both have almost been programmed with similar figures. Neither of you seem to go to bat for retirees and both of you seem to be more focused on teachers who must pay more which is understandable to me.
When I hear the older retirees are getting so much more than they contributed, and they must also take the brunt is sickening, because it is/was not the retirees who made the “deal” in the beginning. It is/was not retirees or active teachers who caused the problem. The cause of the problem starts at the top, administration. Instead of slapping the wrist of retirees, why not admit where the problem is?
STRS employees are treated like kings and queens compared to retirees, but cut those retirees’ COLA. Do you know what would happen in life if something has been agreed to and the other party reneges or tries to take advantage of the first party by changing the rules in the middle of the stream? Loyalty, integrity and respectability would be lost and the other party will never trust them again. Then again people who engage in taking advantage of others usually end up on the losing side, because integrity, professionalism, respect, loyalty, and respectability will be lost which money cannot buy.
I’m not going to refer to any problems, except one, present or past due to the fact I know I’ll get a canned answer. The up to 100% bonus for investors is a sore spot to many of us retirees. It doesn’t make any difference how much it costs. The message that is sent to retirees is disgusting in that it shows where priorities exist. We must keep the investors, because we might lose them. Hog wash! There would be applications for their positions before they get out the door with equally qualified people maybe more qualified.
What’s going to happen when these great people retire? Will STRS shut down? I believe you and Mr. Stein are out of touch with retirees and what makes it worse it that both of you are retirees! We have no one to stand up for us.
You stated CORE wasn’t even recognized. WHY? In other words NO ONE stood up for us. Just cut the retirees. Retirees paid their dues and to change things in the middle of the stream is inconsiderate, and not honorable. I know you and Mr. Stein can quote this and that and give canned reasons why retirees must be cut, but I believe you deep down find it difficult to swallow this crap that’s being handing to retirees which probably causes a lot of stress to both of you.
I just can’t understand why people get in positions and do not have the backbone to do the right and honorable thing. I know one person can’t do much, because of pressure and plain bullheadedness, but I have been in that position as a board member and I don’t really care whether they like or dislike me. I’m not on the board to be a puppet or just go with the flow. If that’s expected of me, then I would resign.
Please give your conscience a good workout without anyone pulling strings trying to gain control of you. Be your own person. Again, I enjoyed talking with you, but I wondered afterward was I really talking to you or only hearing what someone had instilled in you? I’m not expecting any reply about this letter, because you have more important matters to address than replying to a country boy in southern Ohio.
Kenneth “Duke” Snider, M.Ed., STRS Retiree
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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