Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jim N. Reed: An STRS Member Resolution

From Jim N. Reed, January 17, 2013
If you are a retired educator it is time to pay attention to your State Teachers Retirement System. Not by going to an ORTA meeting, following endorsements of the OEA or even assuming the STRS is always working in your best interest.
This spring Dennis Leone's name will appear on the ballot for a retiree seat on the STRS board.
In 2003 his investigative reporting fully disclosed years of STRS mismanagement. This prompted him to run and earn a successful term.
He runs again because of his concern with the recently passed pension "reform" for STRS.
Leone is concerned about the pension's solvency. A provision gives the Board legal authority to make major financial decisions without General Assembly approval. Experience has demonstrated this can be a recipe for empowerment and entitlement that can endanger the security of retirees.
He challenges COLA reductions for retirees, especially the eldest. (OEA, ORTA and current STRS retiree representatives on the STRS Board approved the COLA cutback.) Why was the reduction not "phased in" as were active educator "reforms?"
The Health Care Stabilization Fund may be targeted for elimination. It could disappear as did the 13th check and the spousal premium subsidy for health care insurance (while health care benefits were reduced and premiums increased).
During Leone's first term he unsuccessfully encouraged the Board to prepare an emergency contingency plan in case of a national financial collapse. The subsequent stock market failure cost STRS tens of billions in assets.
Leone has warned that current Board policy is flawed. Interest rates for assets and active teacher contributions have been seriously overstated.
Leone believes the Board should always legislate based on the question,"How will this action impact retirees, and will it affect retirees adversely?
For more information refer to
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