Monday, April 01, 2013

Jim N. Reed: Letter to the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette

From Jim N. Reed, March 30, 2013
Subject: Dr. Dennis Leone Needed at STRS  
A decade ago a half dozen board members and executive director in the STRS boardroom were convicted of ethics violations.  
Dr. Dennis Leone was responsible for blowing the whistle.  His award-winning investigative reporting focused  on the blatant waste of members' contributions.  
Dr. Leone was so concerned about what he discovered (using public records supplied by STRS) that he ran and won a board seat as a retired member representative. , During his term, out-of-control board entitlement spending  was curbed  and accountability to membership was expected.  Many  member/beneficiary-friendly policies were initiated and a semblance of respectability returned to the boardroom.  
Dr. Leone warned STRS of the potential for a downturn in the economy. He was ignored but correct.
Regardless, STRS continued to pay millions in bonuses to the very investors whose bad judgment devastated our system's bottom line.  
The bonus issue remains.  It is estimated in 2012 $8 million was spent for investor bonuses. Many individual annual bonuses exceeded the governor's yearly salary! This in spite of  teacher position eliminations, school district belt-tightening, state budget cuts and failed levies by exhausted local tax payers.  
Dr. Leone also has a  concern for retirees' COLA reduction.  (The current retiree representatives voted for this reduction.) There is also a stipulation in the recently passed pension system reform law that authorizes the STRS board to make policy without General Assembly approval. We know where that road leads.  
Dr. Leone is running again for a retiree representative seat on the board.  
I encourage every retired STRS member to be informed regarding this election and when you receive your ballot this April  vote for ONLY Dr. Dennis Leone.  
For additional information:  
Jim N. Reed
Baltimore, Ohio
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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