Saturday, February 16, 2013

In a nutshell, just who is Dennis Leone, anyway?

Dennis Leone is a retired superintendent from Chillicothe, OH who first received widespread attention in 2003 when he realized there was a lot of corruption taking place at STRS. Subsequent investigation revealed many instances of gross misspending of retirees' money for instances including parties, alcohol, expensive dinners, trips to luxurious vacation areas, credit cards and cars issued by STRS, a luxurious office building decorated with expensive artworks, etc., not to mention board members were also accepting gifts from vendors, which is clearly against the rules of ethics. In addition, extremely generous bonuses were being handed out regularly not only to members of the investment department, but to virtually ALL employees at STRS, for little more than merely showing up and doing their job. Thanks to Dr. Leone, one executive director and six STRS board members were convicted of ethics charges and summarily dismissed, and the misspendings brought to a halt.

Dr. Leone resisted numerous instances of erroneous and costly decisions on the part of the STRS board, and worked hard to reverse this type of thinking while serving on the board 2005-2009. Much reform has taken place because of Dr. Leone's efforts, yet there is much more that still needs to be done. A board (such as the current one) that permits language potentially very harmful to retirees in the current pension law, such as retaining the authority to take more money away from them at any time without legislative approval, or that does minimal (if any) debating on issues before passing them unanimously or nearly so, needs to be changed. If elected, Dennis Leone will continue to bring reform, in spirit and in letter, to the STRS board. 2.16.13
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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