Saturday, April 21, 2012

OPERS and...'in the interest of fairness'

From John Curry, April 21, 2012

Note from John...some (because they were unaware) have asked about OPERS 3-tiered plan of health insurance premiums for their retirees that takes into consideration ("in the interest of fairness") the difference between their retirees'  pension incomes...something that STRS did not do. Here is that 2004 article from the Toledo Blade. Yes, OPERS DID institute this 3-tiered plan.
Toledo Blade
Article published August 9, 2004

OPERS recognizes a problem
Howls of protest can be expected from some quarters, but the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is to be commended for taking steps to reform the pension fund’s beleaguered medical insurance benefit structure before it is overwhelmed by rising health-care costs.

OPERS is the pension fund for most state, county, municipal, and township employees, excluding schools, police, and fire. It has some 370,000 active members and about 140,000 retirees, a major part of Ohio’s workforce.

With health-care spending rising at double-digit levels for at least five years, and with its retiree ranks expected to double in number in 20 years, OPERS decided it could not afford to provide retiree health benefits indefinitely at current levels.

Those benefits are extremely generous, even though OPERS is not required by state law to provide them. Currently, a worker with as little as 10 years’ service can retire and receive health insurance fully paid by the state fund. It’s a benefit that most private-sector workers can only dream about, but it won’t last for long.

OPERS is considering changes, beginning in 2007, under which retirees with fewer years of service would pay substantially more for their insurance than those with greater longevity.

The proposal has different provisions for three groups in question: current retirees and those eligible to retire before Jan. 1, 2007; those eligible to retire after Jan. 1, 2007, and recent and future hires, specifically those who came to their jobs on or after Jan. 1, 2003.

 In general, current and near retirees would feel the least of the benefit pinch, while those hired recently would have to plan to pay more for health coverage when they retire in the future. OPERS officials say the plan was set up that way in the interest of fairness, because current and near retirees have less time to “plan and save and adapt” to higher costs. 

Coverage for spouses of retirees would cost more for everyone although the increase would be phased in over five years. To help pay for the changes, contributions by state and local governments will be increased, and employees will contribute 1.5 percent more of their salaries, from 8.5 percent to 10 percent, over three years.

Although complaints about the fairness of the plan inevitably will arise, it appears that OPERS has made every effort to make it equitable. Explanatory hearings, including one in Toledo, were conducted across the state in July.

From a superintendent in Northern Ohio re: the pension solvency plan unanimously passed by the STRS board 4/19/12

"This plan is a severe slap in the face to every STRS retiree.  The exaggeratedly slow implementation of changes in retirement benefits is totally absurd."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Report on April 2012 STRS board meeting (read it and weep, folks)

From STRS, April 20, 2012 
April Board News 
Retirement Board Amends Plan to Strengthen the Financial Condition of the Pension Fund; Pension Design and Contribution Changes Approved 
The State Teachers Retirement Board voted to amend its plan to further strengthen the financial condition of the pension fund at its April meeting and hopes to see legislative action on its pension reform plan in the coming months. The board's plan is projected to save about $13.3 billion in accrued liabilities, maintains a 1% employer contribution to STRS Ohio's health care fund and does not include any increase in employer contributions. 
The board vote followed several months of discussion and study — including conducting an asset-liability study and a three-year actuarial experience review. All changes contained in the plan require legislative action by the Ohio General Assembly and the governor to be implemented. Components of the plan include: 
• Increase in member contributions effective July 1, 2013 
Member contributions would increase by 4%, phased in 1% per year beginning July 1, 2013, through July 1, 2016.
(Click images to enlarge.)
• Change in eligibility for retirement, effective Aug. 1, 2015 
Service credit requirements for retirement with an unreduced benefit would increase to 35 years of service by Aug 1, 2023, and a minimum age 60 requirement would be added beginning Aug. 1, 2026. Members may still also retire at age 65 with a minimum of five years of service credit.
The service credit requirement for an actuarially reduced benefit would be phased in beginning Aug. 1, 2015, gradually increasing to 30 years of service by Aug. 1, 2023. Members may also still retire at a minimum age 60 with five years of service, but the benefit would be actuarially reduced beginning Aug. 1, 2015. 
• Increase in final average salary (FAS) years effective Aug. 1, 2015 
FAS calculation would be based on the five highest years of earnings. 
• Changes to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective in fiscal year 2013 
All retirees as of July 1, 2013, would not receive a COLA increase on their next anniversary; effective July 1, 2014, the COLA would be 2%. Members retiring Aug. 1, 2013, or later would also receive a 2% COLA, but it would not begin until 60 months after the date of retirement. 
• Change in benefit formula, effective Aug. 1, 2015 
The new formula would be 2.2% for all years of service. Members who are eligible to retire on July 1, 2015, would maintain retirement eligibility, and the benefit would be the greater of the benefit calculated under the new benefit formula or the benefit the member could have received had the member retired on July 1, 2015. 
STRS Ohio staff reviewed all of the elements in the proposed plan with the Healthcare and Pension Advocates for STRS (HPA), a constituent group made up of various stakeholders representing active members, retirees and employers. HPA representatives voiced support for the plan at the April board meeting. Constituent support is considered vital to the legislative effort, as Ohio Senate leaders told STRS Ohio they want to see broad support for the system's reform plan before taking action. 
The newly adopted plan changes would result in a funding period of 32.8 years based on STRS Ohio's July 1, 2011, valuation. The Ohio Revised Code calls for the state retirement plans to have a funding period of no more than 30 years, or the system must submit a plan to get to the 30-year target. If STRS Ohio meets its actuarial projections, it is expected to meet the 30-year funding period at its next valuation. 
The board also agreed to support a change in Ohio statute to give the Retirement Board authority to adjust benefits in the future as necessary to maintain compliance with the 30-year funding requirement in the Ohio Revised Code. 
Retirements Approved 
The Retirement Board approved 200 active members and 105 inactive members for retirement. 
Board Approves Health Care Program Changes 
At the March 2012 Retirement Board meeting, STRS Ohio Member Benefits staff presented several recommendations for plan changes designed to extend the life of the Health Care Stabilization Fund. At its April meeting, the Retirement Board took action that will affect STRS Ohio Health Care Program enrollees. These changes will be detailed in upcoming newsletters, STRS Ohio News for Benefit Recipients, in May and July. The changes are expected to save about $31 million annually. Below is a summary of the changes for the Medical Mutual Plus and Basic Plans and the Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO). Changes for 2013 for the Kaiser, AultCare and Paramount plans will be reviewed in May. 
Changes for 2012
• Moving the non-Medicare enrollees to Express Scripts' National Network beginning June 1, 2012 — this will impact fewer than 250 enrollees who would need to change their pharmacy. 
• Moving Medicare enrollees to Express Scripts' National Network — this move will take place as soon as allowed by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (no earlier than June 2012). 
Changes for 2013 
• Reducing the subsidy multiplier by 0.1%, to 2.3% per year of service — a retiree with 30 years or more of service will receive a subsidy in 2013 of 69% of the total cost of the plan. The 2012 subsidy for a retiree with 30 years of service is 72%. This table is also available on the STRS Ohio website. 
• Increasing annual Basic and Plus Plans' deductibles and out-of-pocket limits — sets new amounts for the Medical Mutual Basic Plan, the Medical Mutual Plus Plan (see charts to the right) and the STRS Ohio Prescription Drug Program. 
• Adding urgent care and emergency room copayment per occurrence to the Basic and Plus Plans — $35 for urgent care and $50 for emergency room copayment per occurrence, then subject to deductible and coinsurance (emergency room copayments waived if admitted). This is consistent with the Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO). 
• Increasing physician copayments under the Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO) — increases physician office copayment to $20 and implements a $40 out-of-network physician copayment in Ohio. 
• Combining Tier 3 and Tier 4 drugs as non-preferred brand-name drugs with 100% coinsurance. In addition, about 120 drugs would move to Tier 3 from Tier 2. This change encourages the use of generic drugs. 
• Revising proton pump inhibitor (PPI) program — discontinues the separate PPI copayment program, adds home delivery for over-the-counter PPI medications and moves all brand PPIs to Tier 3 (except Nexium for Medicare enrollees only). 
• Revised Prescription Drug Program deductible and out-of-pocket maximum — will be indexed to standard Medicare Part D coverage levels. 
The board also voted to continue the Health Care Premium Assistance Program for 2013 and to continue Medicare Part B premium reimbursements at the 2012 amounts. Details on these programs will be included in the 2013 health care open-enrollment materials. 
Proposed Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 Calls for Slight Increase 
The Finance Department presented proposed system budgets for the 2013 fiscal year (July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013) during the April board meeting. The proposed operating budget totals $90,513,400, an increase of 0.9% over the current year's budget. The current head count of 592 full- and part-time associates is not being increased in the coming year. The budget also provides funds for several new initiatives, including a health care audit, additional investment research and quotation system services and improvements to the member self-service section of STRS Ohio's website. The proposed capital budget for fiscal year 2013 totals $1,845,700. The board will be asked to approve the budgets at its June meeting.

If you think losing $30,000 over 10 years is bad.....check out the FIFTEEN YEAR IMPACT!

From John Curry, April 20, 2012
And discover that you now have lost $60,000 with that 2% COLA (supported by STRS Board with their vote yesterday) vs. your old 3% COLA. If you have difficulties comprehending this table please ask and I will help.
Column A shows what is received with current 3% COLA.
Column B shows what is received with one year COLA Suspension and then 2% COLA for the following years.
Column A - B [A minus B] shows how much is lost each year if the new plan is adopted.
(Click image TWICE to enlarge.)
A - B shows a LOSS of $60,000 after fifteen years.  That is $744,000 - $684,000 = $60,000.
ADD all the YEARLY LOSSES in Column A-B to obtain the same figure, $60,000.

ORTA, you should be ASHAMED of yourself!
(OEA-R, you're in the same boat!)
Why? Read THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS.
April 20, 2012.......................................................

Here, Ann, is a table that you should send to your uninformed membership...something you should have sent them a long time ago.....

John Curry to ORTA Executive Director Ann Hanning, April 19, 2012
.....something they should have been given instead of a presentation by a guest speaker telling them how to feed the birds in their back yards while they were eating meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans at one of their friendly local ORTA county chapter meetings. This chart shows what a typical older ORTA member retiree (with a pension of $25,000) will be losing thanks to one year COLA freeze followed by years of a 2% COLA vs. the current 3% COLA that they now have. 

You could have stood up at the public speaks portion of today's STRS board meeting and demanded that the lowest STRS benefits recipient retirees among us (like the chart link included here will demonstrate; link above) like many of your members in their 70s,  should have been an exception to and excluded from  to the COLA freeze/cut (like the Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System did....BUT YOU DIDN'T. But, all is not lost, the majority of these older retirees still remain ignorant of this impending financial disaster.....ignorance is bliss, isn't it, Ann? What they don't know won't hurt them, will it.....OR WILL IT? Just keep on serving the meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans and maybe they won't notice it...what do you think? Silence is complicity, Ann....silence is complicity. Pass the green beans, Ann, after all....that's what is important to retirees, right? They don't have the slightest idea about the "Scenario 8" that was thrust upon them today......and probably never will. They will, however, feel the pain....for the rest of their lives. Unlike current active educators, they have neither the health nor the means to go back to work to rectify this situation. 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dave Parshall's speech to STRS board April 19, 2012

April 19, 2012
STRS Board and Mr. Nehf: 
I am David Parshall, a 44 year member of STRS and President of CORE, Concerned Ohio Retired Educators.  We are one of the stakeholders in pension reform.  CORE formed nine years ago, and I have been their only president.  I have stayed active with CORE all these years because we were, and are, the only voice for older retirees who have the lowest pensions. 
Last week we met with Mr. Nehf.  During this meeting, we reviewed with Mr. Nehf the various new Scenarios developed by STRS staff to present to the leaders of the Senate and the ORSC.  It is clear that we now have a small window of opportunity to again propose a new plan for reform.  Flawed actuarial assumptions have finally been corrected, giving the new scenarios credibility.  Any reform we propose will be at best a hard sell with the public and especially the Ohio House.  CORE stands ready to join all the other stakeholders in the fight ahead. 
Any new plan has to be seen as being fair to all members of STRS.  Of all the scenarios that we reviewed with Mr. Nehf, it was Scenario 8 that comes closest to fairness.  However, I must point out that the reduction of our COLA from 3% to 2% and the one year suspension of COLA hits our older retirees with low pensions disproportionately hard.  I am always told that STRS can't afford to treat them differently from the newer retirees many with the unearned 88% pension enhancement and much greater pensions.  This enhancement ends in 2015, but will drain money from STRS for decades.  Can we afford this?  Future retirees have time on their side; current retirees do not. There is no reason that the raise in retirement age to 60 should be pushed beyond 2015.  The average age of retirement is now 59. 
Having made these points, it's time for all of us to be political realists.  Any of our stakeholders can find fault with even Scenario 8, but we no longer have the luxury of fighting among ourselves.  There are those who want to destroy our pensions, and they have deep pockets, thanks to ALEC and others -- remember SB 5? 
I have always told CORE members that I hoped that a time would come when we can all stand together and join forces in a single directed cause.  With increased fairness to our older retirees, this time could be now!  We are in the ninth inning, with two outs and two strikes. If we take the last pitch, the game is likely over. It is time for all Stakeholders to come to together in one loud voice.  CORE stands ready to fight, and I challenge OEA/OFT, OEA-R, and ORTA to join us and support fairness.

Marie Fetters' speech to STRS board April 19, 2012

Public Speaks Session…April 19, 2012 STRS Board Meeting
Executive Director Michael Nehf and the STRS Board:
My name is Marie Fetters. I retired in 2004 after teaching English at Miami Trace High School for 30 years. Soon after I retired, I attended a Fayette County Retired Teachers' Association meeting where Herman Fisher was a guest speaker, informing the group about CORE, Concerned Ohio Retired Educators. Following that meeting, Herm - and his wife Ruby - convinced me to get involved by going to CORE meetings, as well as the STRS Board meetings. Attending both these meetings over the years has certainly given me a more informed voice.
As I got more involved with CORE and gained even more knowledge at the monthly STRS Board meetings, I grew more and more concerned about our health care and pension systems…not just for me, but for the many teachers who'd retired long before I did. I felt - and still feel - that it was incumbent upon me to gather information and speak for those who couldn't at this point in their lives.
Mr. Nehf has been thoughtful enough to meet with CORE officers over the past months, and most recently, last week with President Dave Parshall and me. Mr. Nehf's comments and explanations have been helpful in making sense of things that sometimes defy logic to me.
Right now all of us are aware of the ominous circumstances that the pension systems are in. There's no silver bullet and no solution that can completely satisfy all concerned parties. Many scenarios have been put forward, much discussion, but little movement.
After hearing Ann Hanning's comments at a recent ORTA conference and talking with Mr. Nehf last week, it appears to me that Scenario 8 is the best solution. It certainly is not perfect, but considering other possibilities, it's the best choice we have.
When I was younger - and had fewer life-lessons under my belt - I'm sure I would have fussed more and argued extensively, but as I've gotten older I'm listening more, railing a little less, and trying to find common ground when I'm in a rough spot. Scenario 8 is by no means a panacea, but I believe it's a giant step in the right direction.
There's still much work to be done and no doubt many more contentious meetings ahead, but think of the numbers of teachers - both active and retired - that you are working for and whose interest you have at heart. Even though it might seem thankless at times, but many of us do appreciate your concern, effort and time.  Thanks for giving me a couple of minutes to voice my opinion.

Remarks by Dennis Leone to the STRS Board on April 19, 2012

My name is Dennis Leone, and I have been a retiree since January of 2005.  I also recently served as an elected RETIREE member of this board.
I am here today to talk about the word "fairness."  The STRS Board and OEA have utilized an interesting definition of the word "fairness" in recent years as it pertains to retirees.  I'd like for all of you here today to pretend that you retired in 1980 at age 60.   For 20 years beginning in 1980, you were able to budget paying for things like home insurance and car insurance with something called the 13th check.  Suddenly, when you turned 80 in the year 2000, the STRS Board told you "Sorry, we've decided to stop giving you that benefit, and we are stopping it right now."  There was no phase-out period.  There was no thought of protecting the oldest retirees who had the least -- the STRS members who were really counting on that money.  There was no gradual change like -- over 4 years -- providing 75% of the payment, then a 50% payment, then a 25% payment, then stopping it.  No.  The STRS Board definition of "fairness" was to stop it immediately, and that is precisely what the board did.
Then when you turned 83 in 2003, the STRS Board said "Sorry, we've decided to stop helping you pay for health insurance for your spouse, and we are stopping it right now."  Again, there was no thought about providing a phase-out period over even a few years.  Nothing to protect the oldest retirees who have the least.  No.  The STRS Board definition of "fairness" was to stop it immediately, and that is precisely what the board did.

Now in 2012, you are 92 years old, and the STRS Board is considering a plan to say "Sorry, but we need to completely take away your statutorily guaranteed 3% COLA for one year, then shave 1% off your COLA every year after that."  No phase-out period over a number of years…and nothing to protect the oldest retirees who have the least.   The STRS Board definition of "fairness" for these 3 illustrations has been to stop the benefit for retirees immediately with no gradual phase-in to help mitigate the adverse impact of the change.
Now, with active teachers, however, the definition of "fairness" is something different.  The OEA Way, which the board seems to embrace, is to delay and phase in changes in every way possible.  To be "fair" to active teachers, you need to gradually eliminate the ridiculous 88% benefit.  After all, the teacher who has been working for 33 years, and who could retiree with an 82% benefit right now, certainly needs to be protected in the spirit of fairness so she can get to 35 years and 88%.  Right?  
It's the same with the minimum age 60 requirement. Never mind that the current average age of retirement at STRS is 59.1 years.  The OEA Way and the plan the STRS Board appears to be favoring, is to delay the age 60 requirement for 13 long years in order to be "fair."  Let's think about this for a second.  This means that if a current teacher wants to retire at age 52, this 13-year phase-in will protect an active teacher who is now 39-years-old.  Did you hear what I just said?  You are protecting a 39-year-old current active teacher, but you turn your backs on a retiree who is 79 or 89.  But oh, you might say, the new plan calls for active teachers to receive an immediate 1% contribution rate increase.  And what happens after that?  The additional 1% increases that active teachers will receive are phased-in over a 4-year period, in the spirit of "fairness."
Have you ever thought about how different the decision-making would be on this board if the 11 members were retirees.  Even though you should, I really don't think you will be willing to change anything in the final plan to make it fairer to retirees.  I don't believe that you will say "What a minute, we should do a better job of protecting the oldest retirees who have the least."  No sir.  Not at the expense of active teachers because you certainly do not want the wrath of OEA upon you.
Have you asked for the data to see how the elimination of the COLA for one year -- and a 1% COLA reduction in future years -- will affect retirees?  As a board member you should always ask, specifically, how your decisions will REALLY affect retirees before you vote on them.  I did, every time.   Would you believe me if I told you that over just 10 years, a $40,000 pension recipient from STRS will NOT receive $30,000 because of the plan before you?  How do you expect the oldest retirees to handle that?  Ask for the data.  It's your job as a board member to do so.
I recall in 2003, when I was working as superintendent of schools in Chillicothe, I published a 13-page report about the inappropriate spending practices by the STRS staff and STRS Board.  What was the board's reaction (and I wonder if you will do the same this year)?  The board's reaction then was to say "We know what's best for this pension system and its members, not you Mr. Superintendent."    Do you know what OEA did at that time?  OEA sent out a statewide bulletin that said my findings were "misrepresentations" and urged teachers to dismiss them.  Boy, that was a mistake, as those of you who are STRS historians know.
Then in 2008, when I was on the board, I recall how I was the ONLY board member in the spring, summer, and fall of that year, who said "The STRS staff and board members need to stop telling everyone that pensions are secure, because they are not."  I publicly disagreed, in writing - even though ORTA refused to publish what I wrote - that STRS was using unrealistic payroll growth assumptions and unrealistic stock market return assumptions.  Of course, I am sure you remember what happened with the stock market a few months later.  And what did Patricia Frost-Brooks from OEA do then?  She spoke to the board, accused me of being divisive and urged the board to reject recommendations that I was initiating for improvements.  That was the OEA Way.  I was not falling in line with the majority and "company" position.  I wasn't a team player is what she said that day.
You have an opportunity right now to demonstrate "fairness" in a manner that shows you really care about retirees.  STRS is the State Teachers RETIREMENT System, not the State ACTIVE Teachers System.  The definition of "fairness" should not be and cannot be to always hit retirees immediately at the expense of protecting active teachers and making OEA happy by delaying changes over years and years.  Oh I wish you had retired at age 60 in 1980, then maybe you would better understand what I've said here today.
Thank you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An STRS official goes to confession!

Some divine guidance requested.......
(Click image to enlarge)
Another Curryism (4/18/12) ......................................................

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

RH Jones re: Take Action to Oppose House Bill 242: Subsidizing Private Education at Taxpayer

From RH Jones, April 17, 2012
To all:
Retired teachers, please support the OEA in their opposition to House Bill (HB) 242. As you may agree after reading about it below, their reasoning makes sense.
My justification for this request is that HB 242 will weaken, even further, the Ohio Public School System. When the system is weakened (as is happening already) due to the national, state and local cuts in funding, our OH STRS suffers less funding as well. Less coming in; less to invest; less to support retirees.
However, make no mistake, if OEA cannot back retired members in our fight to maintain, and to improve our current retired teacher pension, would it not be awful if the retired were to reciprocate and not back actives? This would be terribly polarizing for both groups. As reasonable and educated people, the best that we can do for each other is to be in solidarity. Therefore, as a paid up for life member of OEA, OEA-R, NEOEA, and ORTA, I plead with all of the officials of these unions to be insolid solidarity in also sustaining the backing of retiree issues such as our HC/Rx, simple 3% COLA, death benefits, restoring spousal and dependent HC/Rx, and supporting the 30-year funding goal of the STRS, rather than their attempt to create the goal of 32-years or so. This is being considered, I believe, so that retired teachers will never again see the very fairly calculated supplemental 13th check that helped us stay up with inflation.
Together, we shall overcome the privatization threat and the threat to our delayed compensated pension system (Defined Benefit). Everyone just do the right thing and support our public school system that made this country great - For education for all, benefits all. That is my opinion.
Note: the media is reporting that at the last Barberton school board meeting one of this small town's board members was brought to tears due to having to cut 30-teachers from their staff. This is happening all over the state and will severely impact our STRS. Whatever happened to "pursuit of happiness" for everyone?
RHJones, a proud CORE member

Monday, April 16, 2012

STRS proposes we sacrifice our security

From John Curry, April 16, 2012
Here is a chart from a retiree, which also includes beginning pensions before the first year of zero (0) COLA and then 2% thereafter. It adds up, doesn't it?
(Click image TWICE to enlarge.)................................................................................

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Don Gatchell: A message for 'Retired Teachers Who Plan to Live Beyond 2012'

Retired Teachers Who Plan to Live Beyond 2012,
Hold onto your hats as changes are surely coming at STRS for retirees. Be prepared for lower or no COLA's, higher Health Insurance Premiums with lower benefits, etc. and there is talk about the legality of actually lowering pensions. We have lost enough already to include free Health Insurance and the 13th check and peace of mind about our retirement future. The Problem: simply not enough money to take care of current and future retirees plus a legislature that does not respect public education or educators. They want to privatize Ohio!
The solution by the majority in the Ohio General Assembly is to put the hardship on the backs of the retirees rather than share the sacrifice with actives and employers. Hopefully, all of you who put the current majority in office especially Governor Kasich will request that they rush legislation through the General Assembly that will preserve the STRS pension fund and spread the sacrifice among all stakeholders. We earned it!
Disgruntled Don in Chilli
Adjunct Professor, OU .... for the foreseeable future

A letter from a fellow retiree that really hits the nail on the head!

From John Curry, April 15, 2012
I just received this letter in my email and felt that I have to share it with you. This lady really can express the true feeling of helplessness among fellow STRS retirees. Please pay particular attention to the 3rd speaks volumes about many of those among us who "got theirs and the hell with anybody else!"
A friend of mine just retired last year on the 35 yr 88% plan...she is doing quite well. she belongs to the local ORTA chapter and their meetings are all about lunch and how to attract birds to your yard.
Last night I got a message from her not to forward on any more messages about STRS and our COLA and pension changes as it is just too "overwhelming" for her.
Let's blame this on the shot of raspberry vodka I drank beforehand but I wrote her a note telling her that she has earned her retirement and I hope she enjoys it, that eventually the cost of living will affect her, too. And that one of the huge problems that we have as retirees is that those who have much are not interested in fighting for those who have little. If we were united we could be a powerful group and put some political pressure on this committee. Even STRS.
I have two friends who are committed to writing letters both to politicians and to STRS...I know a lot more retirees than long as they are comfortable now they do not seem to be concerned. I think STRS knows this, the Republican committee knows this, and so they will do what they want with those who have the least. We have no champion. It feels kind of hopeless if retirees will not step up and fight.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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