Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RH Jones: SERS travel expenses an outrage?

From RH Jones, February 18, 2013
To all:
This is a follow-up to my previous letter of concern for SERS retired and active members. I would like to add the following information from the SERS web site: Although the appointed SERS Board member James Rosler is, in character, like our elected former STRS board member hero, Dennis Leone, Mr. Rosler, unfortunately, cannot be voted into office again as our Dr. Leone can be (and, I might add, hopefully will be). Remember appointed member Mr. Rosler for having the courage to speak against the SERS Board approval of the Hawaii travel for three:
1. For Cathy Moss’ Hawaii trip, the SERS Board, 3rd term, members' expense is $3972.03. Her term does not expire until 06/30/2016.
2. Barbara Phillips is the active employee SERS Board member and has the greatest expense at $3,978.16 for her May 19-23, 2013 trip to Hawaii. Since her 2nd term in office expires on 06/30/2013, can the SERS benefit much from her report of the trip in time before her term expires?
3. Mary Ann Howell is the retired SERS Board member whose term also expires on 06/30/2013 and is in her 2nd term of office. Her Hawaii trip expense is $3,281.96. Can she make a report before her term expires?  Note: for the three Board members, the OEA dispensed the information on them.
The SERS web site also reported that the whole SERS Board consists of nine members. Only seven members were listed, leaving two vacant seats. Since only five SERS Board members voted, I wonder if that is a quorum? Five out of nine voting on this total Hawaii trip expense of $11,232.14, when only three of the allotted nine-member board voted for it, seems to be not enough representation.  Could information gleaned from this Hawaii NCPERS meeting be of this great of an expenditure of SERS funds? What ever happened to just serving as the goal for being on a pension board, rather than expecting such perks as Hawaii trips? A logical, rational and reasonable person could certainly not justify this expenditure in any pension system.
Personally, I have dear SERS member colleagues, both active and retired, who served with me in the school system of my teaching career, most of whom were not paid much for their responsibilities. Certainly the SERS Board members should want to preserve the SERS pension system with prudent expenditures of SERS funds that certainly include travel expenses. All manner of successful retirement systems, which waste not and want not, use teleconferencing.
My opinion,
RHJones, retired teacher
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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