Friday, March 29, 2013

Jim N. Reed to the Columbus Dispatch: Does SERS Hawaii junket ring a bell with STRS members?

STRS should recognize Hawaii hubbub 
Columbus Dispatch
March 29, 2013
To members of the State Teachers Retirement System: Does the Hawaii junket by the School Employees Retirement System ring a bell? 
The State Teachers pension fund was seriously damaged and embarrassed about 10 years ago when its executive director, Herb Dyer, and several board members were convicted of violating state ethics laws. Hawaii, New York and Carolina beach airfare, Broadway shows, greens fees, bar bills, etc. appeared on the membership's tab. Entitlement. 
STRS members were saved by Dennis Leone, former Chillicothe schools superintendent, who exposed millions of dollars in misspending by some board members. Member-friendly policies were instituted and I submit he helped salvage a financially unstable system, tainted in the eyes of its knowledgeable members. 
Unfortunately, the beat goes on. Investor bonuses cost membership $4 million in 2012. [According to Bloomberg, the actual figure was closer to $8.1 million.] For investment advice, or ill-advice, individual bonuses frequently exceed the governor's salary. Bonuses continue despite lost assets, poor investment (Facebook), eliminated educator positions, school belt-tightening and failed levies. 
New pension rules cut retirees’ cost-of-living allowance while giving the board authority to legislate without General Assembly approval. 
Anybody seeing an ugly pattern developing? 
I strongly encourage retired members of the State Teachers Retirement System to vote only for Dennis Leone for retiree representative when they receive their April ballots. 
See  for more information.  
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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