Thursday, June 20, 2019

Suzanne Laird to STRS Board: Perception is everything

Suzanne Laird's speech to STRS Board
June 20, 2019
Good morning Members of MY Board:
My name is Suzanne Laird. I retired in June, 2013 with 30 years experience and the promise of a Cost of Living Adjustment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Perception is everything.
Perception is everything.
I took the time to speak to this Board last month regarding the advice I was given by my STRS counselor to retire in 2013 in order to “save” my COLA.
Several others took the time (and courage) to speak as well.
20,000 have now signed the Restore our COLA petition.
Our perception was that we were not heard by this Board. Indeed, the budget being discussed today still includes excessive raises, exorbitant bonuses, and extravagant perks while our COLA remains frozen at zero.
The perception of the general public is that we teachers have been swindled by our own Board.
So now, we are all members of a lawsuit.
This lawsuit is not frivolous — quite the opposite! The facts are, this Board unlawfully and capriciously eliminated the COLA, while unjustly enriching various employees of STRS.
What will the perception be if STRS chooses to fight this lawsuit?
How much of our hard earned money will be squandered on a protracted trial?
A jury of our peers will be deciding this suit. I wonder what their perception will be when the facts are revealed in open court?
You have strayed far from your fiduciary duties: to prudently handle the assets in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
You now have the opportunity to right that wrong, expediently.
Freeze the budget.
Settle the lawsuit.
Restore the COLA.
Perception is everything.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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