Sunday, June 10, 2018

POP 5 rears its ugly head.....AGAIN

If you're like me (Kathie Bracy), you've probably received literature in your mail at least three times in the last two years, promising action to save our pension and soliciting your support in the way of membership dues. To date I've seen no evidence on their part to help "save" any of the five pension systems; no reports, nothing. All they do is collect your money. They will not get a penny from me. A Google Earth search for their business address turns up a
house in suburban Columbus (see photo). I'm sure Mr. Winegarner enjoys walking to his mailbox every day to collect all those checks coming in from retirees. 
The Ohio Retired Teachers Association has recently posted on its website ( a good piece by Executive Director Dr. Robin Rayfield, who has been fielding inquiries from retired educators about POP 5. Here is what he says:

ORTA Position on Protect Ohio Pensions (POP 5)

From the ORTA Executive Director, Dr. Robin Rayfield:
"Recently recipients of STRS benefits across the state received a letter from an organization calling themselves ‘Protect Ohio Pensions’ or POP 5. The letter is addressed to STRS Retiree, Survivors, and Disability Recipients and asks retirees to join POP 5. Many ORTA members were asking questions about this group and wanted to know if ORTA was affiliated with POP 5.
The short answer is NO. ORTA is not affiliated with Protect Ohio Pensions nor are there any plans to join with this group. In fact, a call to the other executive directors of public pension retiree groups in the state (Police and Fire Retirees of Ohio, School Employee Retirees of Ohio, and Public Retirees Inc.) indicates that NONE of these groups are affiliated with Protect Ohio Pensions. ORTA’s reasons NOT to become affiliated with this group are:
• ORTA has a 70 years history of advocating for and protecting STRS member benefits. Over that long history
• ORTA has been the ONLY association whose mission is to work on behalf of retired teachers, administrators, university educators, and other associated educators. ORTA’s efforts have insured the stability of the STRS system and the health care programs offered by STRS.
• ORTA views the efforts by POP 5 as redundant and an unnecessary expense to members of our organization. For example:
• ORTA attends all STRS board of trustee meetings, offers testimony, and speaks with one strong voice on behalf of retired educators. Our relationship with STRS has been developed over the 70-year history and is strong at the current time. Although we respect and support any effort by any group that advocates for public pension recipients ORTA is convinced that we know the problems our members face and are in the best position to advocate on STRS recipient members behalf.
• ORTA remains committed to its primary mission to protect the defined benefit program at STRS, maintaining an affordable health care system for Medicare and non-Medicare eligible retirees, providing many other benefits through the AMBA program, and enhancing the lives of STRS beneficiaries through its 88 local chapters across the state.
• ORTA sits on HPA (Healthcare & Pension Advocates for STRS committee). In this role, ORTA is able to recommend policy and offer advice to STRS as they manage our pension system.
As the longstanding voice for STRS recipients ORTA has fought to maintain our pension for over 70 years. Our standing as a recognized tax-exempt, non-profit entity provides for transparency in our advocacy efforts. ORTA members need to be careful with their limited resources. Paying an additional fee for advocacy that is already taking place may not be in the best interest of our members.

Please feel free to contact me at the ORTA office phone (614-431-7002), by email , or by cell phone (419) 583-6924.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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