Saturday, January 28, 2006

John Curry to Conni Ramser: 'Try it, Conni, it won't poison your mind'

From John Curry, January 27, 2006

Since I never read Dr. Leone's statement, I will offer no opinion on it or Gary Allen's comments.
I will be happy to respond to questions that I was involved in. I do not take responsibility for others.

Ms. Ramser,

In reading your reply above to Kathie Bracy, you state that you have not read Dr. Leone's 13 page presentation re: misspending and mismanagement which happened at the STRS -- "I never read Dr. Leone's statement."

I find it rather odd that you haven't read it as tens of thousands of retired and active educators have read this very same document or parts thereof which appeared in educational journals, newspapers, and college publications throughout Ohio.

Your letter goes on to say that, and I quote, "I do not take responsibility for others." Ms. Ramser, in fact, you take the responsibility for over 100,000 STRS retirees lives and responsibility of the lives of over 200,000 active teachers in the State of Ohio as an STRS Board member. You should also take responsibility to know what has happened during the history of the organization you are a leader of.

So that you can get a better understanding of what has transpired at STRS before you came on the Board, I have included an attachment (from the Cleveland State University -- American Association of University Professors) which contains that very same Dr. Leone report that you say you didn't read. You, as an STRS Board member, have an obligation to inform yourself of a document which listed the not-so-nice expenditures of your (and my) retirement system's monies and which acted as the catalyst for the majority of legislators in the State of Ohio to demand the resignation of the former Executive Director of STRS, Herbert Dyer. Try it, Conni, it won't poison your mind.

John Curry

An STRS retiree
A Proud CORE member
An Allen County Retired Educators Association Member
A person who expects ALL board members to be well versed on documents that relate to the past and current operations of the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio

ORC 3307.15 - not just a wish,

Public Meeting Notice for Feb. 1-3, 2006: Board Retreat at STRS

Public Meeting Notice for Feb. 1–3, 2006

A special meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board will be held on Feb. 1–3, 2006, for the purpose of a planning retreat and any general matters that may arise. The meeting will be held at the STRS Ohio offices in Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006
9 a.m.*
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006
9 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 3, 2006
9 a.m.

* Please note that a meeting of the Audit Committee is scheduled on Wed., Feb. 1, when the Retirement Board Planning Retreat recesses.

Worth quoting

"Thank you Herb Dyer, the OEA leadership [sic], Damon Asbury and staff for permitting us to be so generous to you and your families. What would we have done without you? Well, for one, we would still have our health care benefit."

--Tom Curtis

Tom Mooney responds to RH Jones re: 13th check

From: Tom Mooney
To:RH Jones
Subject: Re: Retired Teachers not keeping up with the COLA.
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006
George Taylor is deceased. Herschel Grim is now OFT's Retirement Consultant.
OFT is very concerned about the suspension of the 13th check. We are as outraged as any other STRS member at the spending habits of STRS in the past. But, the real reason the 13th check was cut is that the stock market tanked. This also eliminated the surpluses that the STRS had been using to bolster the health care stabilization fund. So, retirees got hit twice: steep increases in health care premiums and loss of the 13th check. This was all very bad planning on the part of STRS of course, but it doesn't change the fact that the money isn't there, until we can persuade the legislature to increase contributions or the stock market soars again or both.
If more money does become available, all of us would have to choose whether to lobby for a rollback in health care premiums first or restoring the 13th check. I think most OFT retirees would give priority to reducing health care premiums, then restoring 13th check.
The 13th check is not required by law. It is up to the STRS Board and depends on surplus earnings.
I'm not clear about 20% raise (who got them and when?) We are not in favor of any fat raises for anybody at STRS now. They would have to show clear and convincing evidence that some category of employees is seriously underpaid compared to comparable jobs elsewhere and that we are losing staff we need because of it.
The bonuses for non-investment staff were outrageous, but they are history, although at great cost in litigation and settlement payments.
We're on the same page as far as past practices by STRS. But, the current board can't print money. We have to work to increase contributions by active teachers and keep pressuring STRS management to contain health care costs, and hope for economic recovery to boost earnings. Health care is still not funded for very long. And, STRS must reduce its funding period before it can improve any benefits.
Anyway, that's how I see the big picture.

From: RH Jones
To: Tom Mooney
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2006
Subject: Retired Teachers not keeping up with the COLA.
Tom Mooney, OFT Dir. and George Taylor, OFT Health & Retirement Consultant,
According to a recent Kathie Bracy Blog, a June Hughes reports that the OFT: "---achieved legislation for the payment of a yearly 13th ck.---." Tom and George, are you both asleep on this? Where has OFT been while or 13th ck. was taken away? With 2-OFT sponsored STRS BD members now serving, and in light of the huge STRS non-investment employee raises and bonuses (While some are reported by Tom Curtis as being as high as 20%.), where has OFT been?
The media reports some school boards awarding as high as 9% salary adjustments raises to active teachers. Some will retire at twice the amount that many of those presently retired receive. However, will these same actives find themselves in a similar situation in the future as they retiree. Therefore, at this time, a legislated CompoundCOLA is in order. And, in the meantime, an immediate restoration of our already legislated 13th ck. If the ORC 3307.15 is "solely for the benefit of the members," than why is this outrageous 20% STRS employee increase even considered by the STRS BD. For the sake of active & retired teachers, I beg you both to have your Legal Dept. look into this, perhaps illegal activity?
Robert Hudson Jones, retired teacher

June gets the prize! A 40 word response from Conni Ramser

.....but read the response; any Board member could have written it! C'mon, Conni, you can do better than that!! KBB
From: June Hughes
To: Conni Ramser
Subject: Re: Conni
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006
BUT Conni, you didn't read about the abuses that were discovered by Dennis Leone. I find that irresponsibly lacking in your decision making processes. Don't you agree? How can you be informed if you have a tunnel vision of information? Who, what and where did you get information? You are in a very important position of making decisions concerning millions of dollars, no one organization(s) or persons(s) should have power over decision making because NO ONE organization or person(s) represents all contributors therefore forget who you have or had memberships and think only STRS members who are selling homes because of high property taxes, having difficulty paying for utilities, etc. No retiree wants to have to go back to work at an age when we've contributed so much with very little if any qualms about the amount taken out of past and present checks. Who wants to get up everyday and say "Welcome to Wal Mart"? They don't pay enough for me to consider such a company! I hate it when I see 80+ year olds having to work, don't you? You do know this is true. Teachers have been and may still be on food stamps because of poor decisions made by 'elitist' board members. Don't be one of them! Until any of you walks in the shoes of a retiree, you may not realize the problems we have. Well, if you really want to know, ask US! Please remember that it should never be an Us/Them situation. How can a real estate sale bring less money - ie, Florida property and the commercial building? Real estate has been increasing in value by leaps and bounds. My house has increased in value, I know because after 30+ years of living in it, I had it evaluated and have decided I must sell. June
From Conni Ramser to June Hughes, Jan. 28, 2006
June, We are all STRS-actives and retirees. I spend quite a bit of time reading information from a variety of sources trying to make informed decisions that will help the system grow and prosper. I think that benefits all. Conni

To Conni from Ralph Lloyd: From one who saves LIVES (without bonuses) to one who saves WORDS (and sits on our Board)

From Ralph Lloyd, January 28, 2006: Letter to Conni Ramser
I have two questions for you to discuss at the STRS Board Meeting, but before I state them, I feel that I should introduce myself.
I am a retired teacher of 33 years, in the Carrollton Exempted School System in eastern Ohio. I was quite active in my Local OEA group and served as President and also served several years on the negotiations committee. I was also very active in my community and retired as an Assistant Fire Chief in the Carrollton Village Fire Department after 42 years of service there (it is a paid-on-call Department). I also spent 25 years, first as an EMT and later as a Paramedic, for my community.
I am a life member of OEA-R, NEA-R, ORTA, CORE, and OFCA (Ohio Fire Chiefs Association) and maintain membership in my Local CCRTA and NEORTA.
Question number 1. Why does the STRS board not follow Roberts Rules of Order during their business meetings?
Question number 2. Why should people that are hired to work for us, in any capacity, recieve bonuses for work they are expected to do?
Before I leave you I should like to remind you that I taught for 33 years and never recieved a bonus for the number of students who excelled in my Higher Math classes, nor did I receive any bonuses for the buildings I saved or the lives I saved, all because that was part of my job.
Ralph L Lloyd

Thoughtful questions and comments from June Hughes and Molly Janczyk. 24-word response from Conni [hey, I got 38 back from her]

Note: I put Conni's words in red so you wouldn't miss them. Glad the other two contributors to this post have better developed communication skills. KBB
From: June Hughes
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006
Subject: Re: Conni
But Connie, the question is who are you committed to, to seek a solution(s) for health care and pension funding, us or them? If you don't know history, how can you make an intelligent and informed decision and be fair about it? History teaches us many things and much of it is for all of us to learn about mistakes made by others (read Leone's findings carefully). Please, I say puuuuleeeeeeze!! read those offenses committed by past board members. Otherwise I wish you a colder winter house than mine because of the extreme higher costs I've been facing for utilities, health costs, gasoline, overpriced prescriptions (Advance/Caremark), etc. I know God says "Vengeance is mine", but I've been privileged to see, without action on my part, vengeance to happen while I am still alive. So think carefully of your own future without any action on my part other than to defeat any possibility of you continuing to remain on the board! June (retired 1990)
From: Conni Ramser to Molly Janczyk
Subject: RE: Conni
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 14:27:56 -0500
Yes, I served on the OEA Executive Committee. I am committed to seeking solution for health care and pension funding. Those are my priorities. Conni
From: Molly Janczyk
To: Conni Ramser
Sent: Fri 1/27/2006
Subject: Conni
Correct any errors:
Following Allen's letter which blasted Leone in June of 2003, weren't you appointed to the OEA Exec Committee? When asked , you seemed quick to tell people you were NOT on the OEA Exec Com when Allen sent his statement. However, it seems obvious that you were on the committee during the period of time when Kirk Shuring, retirees and some actives seperately went to Allen asking him to apologize and make amends for the sake of the future. I was one of the retirees, among many, begging him to consider this via email. At the time, Gary and I had a responding dialogue going and he indicated all in due time. He did invite Lazares to the tower after he was elected and implied to me, if Leone were elected, such would occur with Leone. It never did. Allen reportedly told others he'd take their suggestions under advisement, which we have heard caused dissention of some of the higher-ups at OEA. We also hear there is a 50-50 division among OEA with those who want to be collaboratively working to solve problems.
It seems completely and utterly impossible for you NOT to have participated in any those discussions or been privvy to these issues at that time. I would think you would have full knowledge of what was happening. Doesn't make sense. How can any board member not care enough to read Leone's research report when is was a triggering element of sorts for internal changes at STRS, revamping of the board, and a new pension reform law? Ridiculous.
Now, you have Len Codispotil telling OEA-R members, that CORE is diametrically opposed to OEA. How is that possible when we ARE OEA and Lifetime OEA-R? Where would OEA be if not for us? We WERE the local reps and worker bees who raised this organization. We put Allen in his position. We have a right to feel underrepresented when we were told in 2003 by Bill L. "OEA has active on the building" and were laughed at by the young slick OEA reps saying, "You have yours; we want ours." Now, with all the bad press, OEA is sure to include current and future retirees in its language.
We simply wanted and fought for a change from an OEA dominated board voting spending approvals for themselves 100% of the time. Is this a dictatorship when dissent is not tolerated or an organization for ALL educators who have a right to seek change when necessary? That seems so very threatening to some of you and you then call us names and say we are the problem.
I am most happy to send you the researched facts by email for your convenience - all which were provided by Damon Asbury and researched by numerous investigative reporters. I will send you the articles and Allen's letter since you seem illiterate on these issues.
Your co-candidate, Mark Meuser, a respectful and seemingly more opened minded individual, welcomed the information stating he , too, was not that familiar with the past events. I hope your attitude, already being a board member, would be to invite information which resulted in change and dynamics of the board.
We have been disappointed in you as a board member, Conni, trying to shut down dialogue and motions to the board shaking your head and repeating, 'I object' several times to Leone's substitute motion and adhering to tired ways. You are young and should be open to all membership as is your duty according to law.
Expect some information, please read it for your knowledge and perhaps return your point of view. It is fine to not be responsible for another's act and true. But to plea ignorant of it simply doesn't ring true. I would suggest this for Mark as well. Know the background and speak to it. It brings credence to your candidacy. The other point is: I expect from the past 2 elections, that you will get further stating that while you are OEA, your duty is to determine issues not by voting most of the time with OEA policy but for the STRS Membership ONLY taking all sides into consideration with blinders to outside influence.
DO seek information on the subject from leaders of all sides, printed materials, discuss purely with other board members as to their reasons for a stand. It seems board members are voting without concrete facts in front of them and without knowledge of board protocal and without the depth of information to see how it truly affects all membership. It seems NO ONE stand up for proper protocal and views other than ones of a more corportate mentality other than Leone and Lazares. Since this is not being tracked, we are happy to do that. Every board meeting is going to be noted with who speaks, offers input for true and full disclosure, seeks depth of understanding of issues prior to voting as is required evidenced by their input and votes according to law and not because they want to get along.
It is most sad to see board members NOT SPEAK up for other board members' rights or try to shut board members down and it will not go unnoticed. Minutes will be sent to every organization leader for their consideration of who they sent to rep their membership. STRS Membership wants to know WHO contributes and WHO stands up for what is right. You will not agree on all things but you sure need to come prepared for your stand and speak to it so membership knows your reasoning.
You are there for contribution and it is not for the meek or those not passionate regarding STRS. WE HAVE BEEN WARNED BY CONSULTANTS THAT THE UNFUNDED LIABILITY WILL GO TO INFINITY IF 8% IS NOT MET EVERY YEAR! WE HINGE FRAGILE AND VULNERABLE ON OUR INVESTMENT STAFF ALONE BECAUSE WE DID NOT PROTECT RETIREMENT AS WE SHOULD HAVE DECADES AGO guaranteeing a source of revenue for HC and making bigger changes way back in the 80's when trouble loomed. This is not for the weak minded or the willy nilly and this system could fail completely without strong leadership from this board. Actives face NO health care if solutions cannot be found.
Voting should NEVER occur if not properly and 100% prepared! Some among you are saying AFTER THE VOTE, I shouldn't have voyted that way when you consider other views. CONSIDER ALL VIEWS WITH DEEP CONVERSATION AND OPEN MINDS BEFORE THE VOTE! We can't afford errors like that if we want a secure retirement. This isn't a bet in Vegas! It is retirees' LIVES- both current and future.
The healthcare hinges on legislation which should have been sought in the early 90's when a bill to guaranted HC was proposed. OEA and STRS found it unnecessary. Now it is mandatory. Have you counted your eggs in the basket? I wonder how many legislators-those legislators that STRS told us would never help us since they think we retire too young and feel we should manage ourselves..........are now in our basket.
I support this legislation but have serious concerns it can be passed. Young educators face futures with no healthcare and it is a catastrophic thought. How can we encourage education with no pension security? There is no retirement without healthcare as current retirees know having had to go back to work, sell homes, refuse medical care and RX's. This is reality.
The young man who came to the STRS Board meeting suggested putting the full
5% onto him as it legislation did approve the employer paying 2.5% of the
5%, it still would be on him with cutbacks in raises, schools, areas for the kids. This was a wise young man who said he could bear it better than retirees and while wouldn't like it, knew it was necessary for him to have HC in his retirement. He understood that no educator can save enough to ever pay for his HC let alone for a family as well.
STRS Board Members have an uphill challenge ahead. Listen to each other, vote YOUR CONSCIENCE BASED ON EVERY DETAIL YOU CAN HEAR AND READ. Consider all points with in depth discussion prior to voting; seek each other's views. You have a duty to know everything before you vote OR DO NOT VOTE! This isn't a team, it's a board fighting for membership and you darn well better know the battlefield before you cavalierly decide other's lives simply based on the comment of the moment-oh that sounds good; well, no, that sounds good. You have to go deep into the subject BEFORE you come to that table without predjudice.
You have a sacred duty! Earn our respect. So, far, all we see is: Leone and Lazares speaking up. Ramser and Brown trying to shut them up. Some just trying to get along and not wanting to offend anyone and be in the background. A couple locked into corporate mindsets with absolutely NO understanding of the real world. A couple considered info but changing with each set of facts.
We need the big picture of future effects on membership-not one gorup:STRS non investment STAFF. STRS Membership are out here with destroyed lives and still their is talk of raises for them. Actives face futures with no security. What is wrong with some of you people? MEMBERSHIP FIRST! BY LAW! FIRST!
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." - Plato

Kathie Bracy to Damon Asbury: How can an appointee with only months left in term be elected Vice Chair?

From: Kathie Bracy
To: Damon Asbury
Sent: January 28, 2006
Subject: Rules for Vice Chair position

Damon --

According to the Board rules, "To be eligible for election to the position of Vice Chair, a Board member must have served at least one full year as a member of the Board and have at least two years remaining in his or her term. In addition, the Board member must be serving in an elected position on the Board."

How is it that Conni Ramser has this position when her term is up in seven months, and she was appointed, not elected to her position as a Board member?

If you can enlighten me, I would appreciate it.

Thanks --

Kathie Bracy

Molly Janczyk: Informative 2006 campaign literature for Tom Hall and Mark Fredrick, candidates for STRS Board

From Molly Janczyk, Jan. 26, 2006

Somewhat reduced version; feel free to adapt or use the following:
Many educators are continuing to push for changes at STRS, electing fresh and independent thinkers who will vote for STRS Membership, acting solely on the behalf and for the benefit of ALL membership in an equitable manner.
CORE is endorsing Active Prof. Tom Hall and Active classroom teacher Mark Fredrick. OFT is also endorsing Mark Frederick as an OFT member.
CORE represents all educators who will be retired under STRS' pension system. Actives, the future retirees, and current retirees are the membership of CORE unless they chose not to be.
CORE formed as a result of misspending by the former OEA-controlled STRS Retirement Board of 2001-2003. These spending abuses were uncovered by Dennis Leone and John Lazares. Dennis Leone requested information from STRS and was provided data by Damon Asbury, current Exec. Direc. who was Ass't Exec. Direc. at the time. Leone then researched and found numerous areas of misspending and informed the public at the 5/03 STRS Board Meeting. Some of the STRS membership had notified media by then, and investigative reporters researched and verified all the findings outlined in Leone's report. All research, facts and reports are available upon request.
Information was turned over to the Ohio Ethics Commission (OEC), which uncovered ethics violations and forwarded them to the Columbus City Prosecutor, Lara Baker. Baker has filed charges against former Exec. Direc. of STRS, Herb Dyer, who was forced to step down, and Hazel Sidaway, former OEA Active Board Member. The OEC Exec. Direc,. David Freel, visited CORE and stated many more violations are forthcoming, affecting all levels at STRS. We have reason to believe all the former 5 active board members and one former retired board member who formed a block of approval voting for perks and pleasures will be charged for receiving gifts, dinners, etc., illegally.
Misspending members' money is comparable to your broker skimming from your earnings on your contributions. That is what occured here. Money for the above areas was taken from earnings on STRS membership contributions.
Since Leone's report and the formation of CORE, many of these areas have seen cutbacks due to diligence appearing before STRS monthly, demanding changes and meeting with Damon and Staff on a regular basis. Bonuses and staff have been reduced as well as cars, credit card use and gas. Subsidies eliminated for cafeteria and fitness and down to $130,000 per yr for childcare soon to be a cost neutral. Non investment staff receives no bonus , only investment staff which is typical in other like systems. parties, dinners, etc, must be paid for by Staff, not STRS funds.
Active educators elected active candidate John Lazares to the STRS Board in 2004, ousting long time OEA incumbant Eugene Norris. Retirees elected Dennis Leone to the STRS Board in 2005. Both these men answer only to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3307.15: the law which mandates that the STRS Board act solely on behalf of its membership, for its benefit only.
This year 4 Candidates requested endorsements from CORE for the active seats up for election in 2006. CORE interviewed them on 1/19/05:
-Prof. Tom Hall, Economics Prof. at Miami U.
-Prof. Brackett, American-African Studies
-Mark Meuser, classroon Math teacher and OEA local Assoc. Pres. of Gahanna-Jefferson
-Mark Fredrick, classroom English teacher with some investment background.
CORE chose to endorse:
1. Economics Prof. Tom Hall of Miami Univ. for his prolific background and experience in investment and market trends and economics. He has authored numerous books and articles in these areas. Hall was adament that former board behavior never be repeated and outraged at the misspending of members' money. He feels capable to help lead the board to future solutions to problems. Hall comes with no organization influencing him. He will have an open door to the educators, the membership of STRS.
2. Mark Fredrick, classroom English teacher, for his dynamic thinking approach for problem solving and ability to connect in his interaction with the audience. He promised to be an independent thinker as a board member with only membership as his influence. He is also endorsed by OFT for his strong qualities. Mark, as an English teacher, is used to stacks of reading and has some investment background to help with the understanding of the challenging reading and study to come on issues. Mark, too, promised to have an open ear to the STRS Membership and hear their concerns.
CORE realizes that many board members come unprepared to STRS and need a long learning curve due to lack of experience in issues before the board. CORE feels both these candidates were better prepared and were more knowledgeable of the issues they face as board members as well as the history of misspending at STRS.
Please help elect these 2 fine candidates who will fight for your rights. Both made strong statements regarding securing your future retirements and health care. Neither is bound by any organization's politics or agenda.
Flyers will be sent for you to print and share with your staff and actives you know. Only actives and inactives (not retirees) are eligible to vote in this election. Ballots will be mailed in early April to be returned in early May.
Please help keep STRS independent with board members who represent YOU as dictated by law and not their organization.

Molly Janczyk

Thank you, Tom Mooney! [Gary Allen, where are you???]

From Molly Janczyk, Jan. 26, 2006

This was in response to my question to him for his position.

Tom is approachable and as you can see will respond to questions/concerns. Sometimes, it takes a while as he is often out of town.

From: Tom Mooney
To: Molly Janczyk
Subject: Re: CORE Meeting Minutes for January 19, 2006: Endorsement Results
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006

It seems to me that CORE and OFT are on the same page, if not on every issue, on the vast majority. As we all get more facts and numbers from sources we can trust, it obviously is helping make the issues more clear.

I am encouraging OFT Board members, candidates, leaders, and activists to respect and take CORE very seriously.

By the way, I will be returning a call to John L. today.

All the best,


Mark Meuser: A smart candidate who will soon be smarter (Conni - better pay attention)

From: Mark Meuser
Subject: RE: Leone's entire Position Paper #1
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006

Thanks for all of the documents. I will read them carefully over the next several days.

Is Gary Allen in denial or covering up? You be the judge

OEA president out of step with pension woes

Some interesting comments from the general manager of the Canton Repository in this flashback, 2-1/2 years ago. Has anything changed since then? KBB

Monday, June 16, 2003


General manager of The Repository

Here is the height of bureaucratic arrogance: Herbert Dyer, executive director of the State Teachers Retirement System, said last week that the nearly $15 million spent on bonuses and artwork was money that “belongs to the board,” not the teachers who contributed to the system. It is a statement so preposterous that it does not need further commentary.

On the other hand, a statement by Ohio Education Association President Gary L. Allen criticizing the Chillicothe City Schools superintendent who brought the STRS spending spree to light does deserve commentary. Mr. Allen must have forgotten for a moment that he represents the people to whom the money does belong — teachers currently contributing to the fund and teachers who are retired. He should be applauding Chillicothe Superintendent Dennis Leone, and his members should be asking him why the union he heads didn’t lead the charge against this spending. In fact, a current STRS board member is a former OEA president, so it should have been easy for the OEA to spot this profligate spending three years ago and raise the collective voice of its members. The OEA leader is out of step with his members, who are angry about this spending while their pension system has lost $12.3 billion in the same time period.

Meanwhile, another group worth criticism is the Ohio Retirement Study Council, which oversees Ohio’s five retirement systems. If the council, whose general purpose, according to its Web site, “is to advise and inform the state legislature on all matters relating to the benefits, funding, investment, and administration of the five statewide retirement systems in Ohio” does not include review of pension boards’ spending, it should. While some members of the council who also are legislators are raising their voices in outrage, those voices, too, should have been raised three years ago.

Notably silent are the members of the STRS board, who, as my son the teacher says, “seem to have all the accountability of a Cleveland television weatherman.” A board such as this sits as trustees of the teachers’ money, not as pigs at the pension trough.

Hanke is general manager of The Repository. He can be reached by telephone at 580-8301, e-mail – or fax, 454-5745, or by writing 500 Market Ave. S, Canton, 44702

Molly re: CORE Alert

From Molly, Jan. 27, 2006
Yes. That's why I sent this to all of you: CORE ADV and John. I guess I used to hear it discussed at meetings and hadn't heard anything, so wondered, that's all. I am glad it is being utilized and hope on a regular basis for what is considered imp. updates by the board.

From: Ryan Holderman
To: Molly Janczyk
Subject: Re: CORE ALERT
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006
Dear Molly:
The CORE alert system is alive and well. I just updated it last week and sent the information to John Curry.
According to CORE's policy, information sent out via the CORE alert system must be first approved by the CORE Advisory Board and then sent by John, the only one authorized to do so. I think that's a very good policy.
Perhaps a discussion of sending more frequent alerts should be initiated with the Advisors.
Hope this helps,
From Molly Janczyk, Jan. 26, 2006; Subject: CORE ALERT
Has it disappeared???????? I think it is a vastly underused vehicle. It should have updates and imp info 1-2 times a month, at least. We gathered all those names , many from me, and what is going on with it? Just wondering.

Ralph Lloyd to Board and Damon: Illegal spending

From: Ralph Lloyd
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2006
Subject: STRS Board actions

To: STRS Board, Damon Asbury,
In response to the last Board meeting on 18-20 January 2006, any expenditure of an elected board MUST be voted on by the membership of that Board. What you did by allowing the increase in the STRS workers paychecks was in violation of Roberts Rules of Orders. In fact, any expenditure without BOARD approval is illegal. Does this mean any expenditure?, yes. Any raise, any bonus, any bill, must all be voted on in the General Meeting. You may, however, vote for x dollars to be spent to cover something that may occur before the next meeting. Shame on you!!!!!!!!
Ralph L Lloyd

Paul Boyer to Conni Ramser: You have shown your true colors; shape up or ship out

From: Paul Boyer
To: Constance Ramser
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006
Subject: Colors
Well, Conni, you have sure shown your true colors by declaring that you have never read Dr. Leone's manifesto of all the misspending that went on by the OEA dominated STRS board until we retirees found out about it and worked to make changes. What in the world are you doing on the board and why are you running again when this truth is now out?
Also, you were completely out of order when you told Dr. Brown that Dennis's substitute motion was out of order and he declared it so. You have no right to even be holding that office because according to the rules that were sent out sometime last year, the vice chairman had to have two years left on his/her term and you only had one.
I am a student of parliamentary procedure and went to the books for confirmation. A substitute motion can be made at any time and must be voted on before the main motion. If the substitute prevails, then the main motion is dead.
Now, either shape up or withdraw your candidacy for another term.
Paul L. Boyer
Retired since 1985
Life member OEA/OEA-R,
Proud to be named
“Core” of CORE

Tom Curtis: Letter to RTAs; Speaking to your Association

From: Tom Curtis
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006
Subject: 012806 Curtis To All RTA's, Speaking To Your Association

Hello RTA Officers & Members,

My name is Tom Curtis. I am an STRS disability retiree with 27 years of service, having retired from Plain Local Schools in Canton, Ohio in 1998. You may already be aware that I have been actively involved since early 2003 in helping Dennis Leone and John Lazares in their attempts to bring about reform at STRS.

By mid 2003, a group of retirees and actives who had begun attending the monthly STRS board meetings banded together to protest the STRS’ blatant and unchecked abuse of our funds. We started by corresponding with one another by email. This quickly mushroomed, and that October a group of dissatisfied STRS members got together in Westerville and organized to put an end to these spending practices.

Concerned Ohio Retired Educators (CORE) grew out of this grass roots effort. We looked to Dennis Leone and John Lazares to provide the initial leadership for us, and they have been doing so ever since. With a lot of help from CORE, both are now on the STRS board, continuing their efforts to restore decency and bring badly needed reform to STRS.

CORE members endorsed Dennis Leone’s position paper, STRS Organizational Matters and Spending Practices, which he presented to the Board on May 16, 2003. Dr. Leone wrote it after conducting an extensive investigation, with John Lazares, into STRS’ management and spending practices, uncovering untold numbers of shocking abuses that had been taking place with the full knowledge and blessing of the Retirement Board. After repeated, futile efforts on his part to get answers to his questions from the STRS Board, Dr. Leone sent his report to superintendents and principals all over the state. In the outrage that followed, someone took it to the press, and that was the beginning of a great deal of publicity since. Anyone who has not read this document should, along with another document Dr. Leone prepared and presented to the board on August 8th 2003, Restoring Faith, Trust and Confidence in the STRS.

It has taken CORE members three years of attending the STRS monthly Board meetings to realize the true magnitude of the operation of the STRS and to come to some basic understanding of what has taken place with the funds educators have paid into the STRS since 1920.

I am a CORE Advisory Committee member. This does not in any way indicate that what I write or say is the consensus of CORE; it is usually my own opinion, unless otherwise noted. CORE has no officers, constitution or by-laws. CORE has been criticized for this, but we have found we have been fairly effective with this approach and continue to operate in this manner. However, I receive support for much of what I write and say from the CORE membership. Do all agree? No. Do I always get it right? No. Do I keep on trying to better understand the dynamics of the STRS? Absolutely! Have I been both applauded and criticized for things I have written? Absolutely. Have I given this my full attention? Ask my wife, she will tell you the amount of time and out-of-pocket money I have spent supporting this cause.

I am writing you today to let you know that I am available and willing to speak to your RTA or other organization about the current situation and status of the STRS, as I see it. I feel compelled to educate everyone I can about the abuse of our funds, which could disappear in a heartbeat of the stock market. You are no doubt aware that many of our health care benefits and subsidies disappeared in 2004 because of the last huge market downturn in 2001-2002.

You may contact me by email, phone or snail mail. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope to visit your organization this year.


Thomas Curtis
5621 Griffith Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720

Curtis & Janczyk, invitation to candidates to February CORE meeting

Tom Curtis to Molly Janczyk
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006
Subject: Re: 012706 Curtis To Baldwin, Invitation To Candidates

I made no mention of any endorsement and implied none. I simply am asking them to come and present themselves to our group. Because we have endorsed someone, does not mean that everyone will vote for that person. We are simply providing them an equal opportunity to meet our group.

From Molly Janczyk
Friday, January 27, 2006
Subject: RE: 012706 Curtis To Baldwin, Invitation To Candidates

I think this is inappropriate. We are having them under false pretense and it seems a ruse. To endorse another would seriously compromise Tom Hall. I really feel this is not a good thing to call this an interview as tho they may receive endorsements and if it is, dangerous for our candidate. It makes no sense to me. If it is not an interview, then we are not being honest.

From: Tom Curtis to Joyce Baldwin
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006

Hello Joyce,

When you have time, would you kindly send the following invitation to the following candidates?

Conni Ramser
Joseph Kocian
Gwendolyn Bryant
Jeff Geist David Moore

Thank you in advance,
Tom Curtis


Dear Candidate for the STRS Board,

As a member of the Advisory Committee of the Concerned Ohio Educators Association (CORE), I would like to extended an invitation for you to attend an interview meeting on February 16th at the STRS Building in Columbus.

The interview process will begin at 11:45 am in the second floor Sublett room and will conclude at 12:50pm, just prior to the "public speaks" portion of the STRS Board meeting, which will begin at approximately 1:00pm.

I would encourage you to come to the STRS building early in the morning and attend the Board meeting, which will begin at 9:00am. I would also encourage you to stay for the afternoon meeting, as well. It is to your benefit to attend this day, so you might gain a better understanding of the position you desire on the STRS board.

During this interview process, each candidate will be asked a series of questions and given an equal period of time to respond to each one. These questions are designed to permit each candidate a spontaneous response and will not be sent to you prior to coming to the interview process. This process will permit the audience to gain an understanding of your knowledge of the position you are desirous of being elected to.

There is free parking in the parking deck directly behind the STRS building on Broad Street. Please contact me by email, phone or snail mail by February 6th, if you are planning to join us. Four of the nine candidates completed this process on January 19th and we are hopeful the remaining five of you will all join us on February 16th.

Please send me a copy of your vita and prepare no more then a one-page explanation of "Why you are running for the board."

CORE is a group of retired and active teachers that came together in
2003, due to our concerns about STRS organizational matters and spending practices, by both the board and the management. CORE is made up of educators, many of which belong to the following organizations: OEA & OEA-R, OFT & OFT-R, ORTA, AAUP, OCHER, County RTA's and local school union organizations. CORE was very instrumental in helping to elect John Lazares (active) in 2004 and Dr. Dennis Leone (retiree) in 2005 to the board.

Most of you have probably heard of both of these gentlemen, as there have been 100's of newspaper articles written about the STRS and their efforts to press for reform in the past three years. They have set the stage for the reform process that has been taking place at the STRS beginning in


Thomas Curtis
CORE Advisory Committee Member

Curtis and Ramser; blissfully and naively ignoring the past as she addresses the future?

From: Conni Ramser To: Thomas Curtis
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006
Subject: Re: 012706 Curtis To Ramser, Keep Digging Your Hole

Tom, I vote on the issues facing the system as we to move into the future. Those are the issues the people I talk to are concerned about. Conni
From: Thomas Curtis
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006
Subject: 012706 Curtis To Ramser, Keep Digging Your Hole
Hello Conni,
You continue to make yourself appear, by your own admission, to be uninformed and ignorant about issues that are so very poignant to the membership. Yet want their support to elect you to the board. You obviously do not get it! This position you take of not really being involved at that time and thus are unfamiliar with Dr. Leone's paper is exactly the same thing Mark Meuser stated, almost verbatim last Thursday. Was that a prepared statement by Gary Allen? Really now Conni, that just does not fly.
As I have told you when we have talked before, you cannot have it both ways, as the OEA has led you to believe. You cannot conveniently be involved when you want to be and then be uninvolved when you don't like what is going on. That shows a tremendous lack of maturity on your part. I certainly do not want you to vote on important issues brought to the board with that type of mentality.
Were you not president of your local union in 2003? If not, you were vice-president. You have attempted to convince me during our conversations that you are very thorough. You told me you read and research everything that would benefit your local membership and will for the STRS membership.
Your denial of any real knowledge of Dennis Leone's position papers (2) to the STRS board in 2003 not only contradicts this claim, but it insults people's intelligence. Who do you think you are fooling? If you are willing to attempt to try and sidestep your knowledge of this issue, then you have no business being on the STRS board. I view your stance and statement about this issue, as being untruthful. To think, if you would win election to the board this year, you would be the chair of the board next year is unthinkable in my opinion. You need to realize that we are not sheep, as the OEA tends to believe us to be. That era is gone. That is why the OEA active vote last year was the lowest ever. The sheep have left your flock and are probably looking at the OFT for a better and more truthful representation (The OFT's dues are probably more reasonable as well). The OEA leadership has lost the respect of their membership, due to their own actions.
We can thank Mike Billirakis, Jack Chapman, Hazel Sidaway, Debra Scott and Eugene Norris for opening our eyes to what the OEA really thinks about their membership and the STRS membership. Those people, your mentors, ruined the financial security for thousands of retirees due to there on ego's and greed for power. What a disgrace those people brought to the OEA. Obviously, you cannot fool all of the people all of the time!
Take care,
Tom Curtis

Kathie Bracy to Conni Ramser: Do you support Gary Allen's response to Dennis Leone's position paper?

Since I never read Dr. Leone's statement, I will offer no opinion on it or Gary Allen's comments.
I will be happy to respond to questions that I was involved in. I do not take responsibility for others.

From: Kathie Bracy
Sent: Wed 1/25/2006
To: Ramser, Constance
Subject: A question from an STRS retiree

Dear Conni,

Since you are running for the STRS Board and have strong OEA ties, I have a question I would like to ask you so I have a better idea of what to tell people who want to know where you stand. Since it is a yes/no question, you do not need to elaborate unless you wish to.

Gary Allen, president of OEA, in a letter of June 5, 2003 to various OEA constituents, refuted Dennis Leone's findings in his investigative report on STRS of May 16, 2003, which summarized a number of points about inappropriate spending practices at STRS and also outlined recommendations calling for Board members and STRS administrators to change their spending practices, realign numerous policies and better represent the entire STRS membership. ALL of Dr. Leone's findings were based SOLELY on data provided to him by STRS.

In subsequent letters Gary Allen criticized the report heavily, saying it was "destructive" and communicated "misrepresentations," and referred to the findings as "allegations." He accused Dr. Leone of directly attempting to "discredit the STRS management," saying "his motives are unclear" and "his logic is hard to follow."

He also said "Many of the incidents he wants corrected occurred in the past and cannot be changed.....the context in which he addresses these issues appears to be of his own creation." He also wrote: "We believe in the integrity of STRS and the individuals on the Board." Also: "Some recipients [of Dr. Leone's findings] have elected to indiscriminately broadcast the report." He was also quoted in a northern Ohio newspaper as saying that the spending practices of the STRS Board represented "old news."

Repeated requests to Gary Allen to explain his comments have resulted in no response at all. And, as you no doubt know, proceedings have already begun, to bring charges against some of the previous board members (whose integrity he defends) for ethics violations.

Since we can get no response at all from Gary Allen, we would like to know your take on his stance with regard to Dr. Leone's report and Allen's defense of previous board members, more of whom are expected to be charged.

Do you support Gary Allen and his position in these matters?

Thank you.

Kathie Bracy
OEA/OEA-R member since 1965

Friday, January 27, 2006

New! Look now!

Under a January 23 post, "John Curry finds terrific article on Dennis," I added the text from a feature article about Dennis Leone from a BGSU alumni newsletter published in September 2005. Well worth a look -- scroll down! KBB

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tom Curtis to Jim Gibson: An apology

From Tom Curtis, 1/26/06
Hello Jim,
My name is Tom Curtis. It was passed along to me by John Curry that you were offended with a comment made by another retiree concerning the Republican candidates for Governor this coming fall. I apologize for having passed such an email along, now realizing that it angered others that would take Mr Lloyd's comments very personally.
Because I responded to this individual does not mean that I agree with his comments and only informed him that often people vote for candidates for the wrong reasons. I personally will not support Mr. Blackwell, Mr. Petro, or Ms. Montgomery, but I do not concur with what Mr. Lloyd had to say and feel his use of words could have been different, if he opposses them and those that would vote in their favor.
Because Mr. Petro and Ms. Montgomery held a seat on the STRS board for nearly 16 years and allowed the spending abuses Dr. Leone brought to light, I have no desire to see either of these individuals remain in any government office, as I do not trust them. They completely failed us as the "watchdogs" they were placed on the five public retirement boards to be. Then, they claimed a conflict of interest when asked to take legal action against those that willingly abused our funds.
In closing, I again apologize for any hurt feelings resulting in the passing along of that email. Please accept my apology and know that I will be far more senitive about passing along such in the future.
Thank you for your understanding,
Tom Curtis
CORE Advisory Committee Member

Tom Curtis to Sherrill Callahan re: thanks for RTA info

Hello Sherrill,
Thank you for the information you sent me as well. I attached a CORE application, we would like to invite you and anyone else in your area that might be interested to become a member of CORE. You may simply print the application and return it to the address on the application. The cost is only $5 per person. We utilize these funds to support our candidates for election to the STRS board each year. This year we have endorsed two of the nine candidates, Dr. Thomas Hall, a professor of economics at Miami Univ, and Mark Fredrick, an English teacher in the Cleveland Public Schools. If you would care to have more information about these two candidates and would like to help get petition signatures for one of both of them, just ask and I will provide you with whatever I can.
Take care,

Tom Curtis
CORE Advisory Committee Member
From: Sherrill Callahan
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Subject: Re: 012406 Curtis Resp To Callahan, Re Your Social Security
Thanks for the info about the SSI. I'm completing my two year term. Jim Gibson will be the next president for Clermont County RTA. [Contact info provided here.] Keep up the Great work.

Tom Curtis to Lloyd Knudsen re: petitions

From Tom Curtis, 1/25/06
Hello Lloyd,
Please send your completed petitions into the STRS, care of Joyce Baldwin. Please make a copy to keep in casr there are any discrepencies. That way you can also send me a count of what you turned in. If you are in need of any more petitions for either Tom Hall or Mark Fredrick I have some of each and will send them to you.
Thank you for your continued support Lloyd. It is so greatly appreciated. Bringing some new faces with you last week was also appreciated. We had a nice crowd for our interview of the 4 candidates. I hope your friends were supportive of what we are doing and will return from time to time. If the other 5 candidates respond, we will have a similar meeting on February 16th. Same time, same place.
Take care,
Tom Curtis

From: Lloyd Knudsen
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Subject: STRS election petitions

Hi Tom!
I just wanted you to know that I have someone in my old school district getting petition signatures for Tom Hall in Summit County. Do you have an address and name (other than STRS) to send the signed petitions to or should I just bring them with me to the February STRS monthly meeting? Let me know.
Lloyd Knudsen

Molly: 13th Check

From: Molly Janczyk
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Subject: 13th ck
No, the 13th ck was only a few hundred dollars and an extra ck based on returns. I retired in '99 and mine was about $468. Your formula is 2.2% then if retired in 2000. SB190 , enacted in 2000 bumped up the formula from 2.1% to 2.2% an you get an appprox extra of $140 per month totally $1500 yearly enhancement over what it would have been at 2.1%. So you are ahead over 2.1% and a 13th ck. by $1100 approx a year. ($1500-$400 = $1100)PLUS you got the 3% vs a previous fluctuating lower COLA for an extra couple of hundred per yr. over the lower COLA years. You benefitted from all the enhancements of SB190 for retirees.
From: Anonymous Wed, 25 Jan 2006
Molly I retired in 2000 and always got the 3% and no 13th check. It ended that year. But it was my understanding the 13th check was your full monthly amount given in December. It was like getting 2 of your regular checks. This isn't true.

ORTA not endorsing active candidate

From Molly Janczyk
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Subject: Re: ORTA
Thank you for this response.
From: "Blin Scatterday" To: Molly Janczyk Subject: Re: ORTA Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006
The ORTA executive committee decided not to endorse an active candidate for the STRS Board. We are going to publish a statement from each candidate in the Spring Quarterly.
----- Original Message ----- From: "molly janczyk" To: Sent: Friday, January 20, 2006 10:07 PM Subject: Re: ORTA
Wonderful. We look forward to more time with you. Are you considering endorsing a candidate?
From: "Blin Scatterday"To: "molly janczyk" Subject: Re: ORTA Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006
Thanks for the invitation. I enjoyed listening to the questions Tom asked the candidates for STRS and talking to some of your members.
Blin Scatterday
From Molly Janczyk Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 Subject: ORTA
Dear Ann, Blin, Lou,
It was a pleasure to see you today and share an occasion of sorts. Thank you for joining us and we hope we can meet again for interactive exchange of ideas on like matters. We appreciate this gesture and look forward to the next time.
Molly J.

John Curry: A question from an STRS retiree to current STRS Board member Conni Ramser -- will she answer?

From: Kathie Bracy
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Subject: A question from an STRS retiree

Dear Conni,

Since you are running for the STRS Board and have strong OEA ties, I have a question I would like to ask you so I have a better idea of what to tell people who want to know where you stand. Since it is a yes/no question, you do not need to elaborate unless you wish to.

Gary Allen, president of OEA, in a letter of June 5, 2003 to various OEA constituents, refuted Dennis Leone's findings in his investigative report on STRS of May 16, 2003, which summarized a number of points about inappropriate spending practices at STRS and also outlined recommendations calling for Board members and STRS administrators to change their spending practices, realign numerous policies and better represent the entire STRS membership. ALL of Dr. Leone's findings were based SOLELY on data provided to him by STRS.
In subsequent letters Gary Allen criticized the report heavily, saying it was "destructive" and communicated "misrepresentations," and referred to the findings as "allegations." He accused Dr. Leone of directly attempting to "discredit the STRS management," saying "his motives are unclear" and "his logic is hard to follow."
He also said "Many of the incidents he wants corrected occurred in the past and cannot be changed.....the context in which he addresses these issues appears to be of his own creation." He also wrote: "We believe in the integrity of STRS and the individuals on the Board." Also: "Some recipients [of Dr. Leone's findings] have elected to indiscriminately broadcast the report." He was also quoted in a northern Ohio newspaper as saying that the spending practices of the STRS Board represented "old news."
Repeated requests to Gary Allen to explain his comments have resulted in no response at all. And, as you no doubt know, proceedings have already begun, to bring charges against some of the previous board members (whose integrity he defends) for ethics violations.
Since we can get no response at all from Gary Allen, we would like to know your take on his stance with regard to Dr. Leone's report and Allen's defense of previous board members, more of whom are expected to be charged.
Do you support Gary Allen and his position in these matters?
Thank you.
Kathie Bracy
OEA/OEA-R member since 1965

RH Jones: In defense of the popular 13th check

From RH Jones
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Subject: In Defense of the Popular 13th Check.
To all:
Once again, I feel compelled to defend the beloved & very popular Supplemental Benefit Check (13th ck.) and to refresh everyone's memory of an outstanding Dave Travis speech made to the STRS BD. on 10/19/01:
"As Executive Director of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association I'm here this morning to respond to the action you took yesterday in voting not to provide a 13th check to the retired teachers of Ohio this year. Representing the 36,159 ORTA members and speaking on behalf of the 100,000 retired teachers of Ohio I urge you to reconsider this action.
The very first Supplemental Benefit Check was paid out to 47,964 STRS Ohio benefit recipients in 1980. The check was for $10 for each year of service and $10 for each year in retirement and cost STRS $17.4 million. Supplemental Benefit checks have been paid every year since then for a total of 21 consecutive years. The smallest unit value was $7 in 1987. Even during the drastic recession of the 80's a supplemental check was paid to the retired teachers of Ohio. Over the past 21 years Ohio's retired teachers have come to depend on this check not just as a bonus but as a necessity to pay bills. Even with increases that Senate Bill 190 provided there are retired teachers in Ohio still living at or near the poverty level.
At one of our Chapter meetings in Huron County just last week I talked with a little lady who was in her late 80's. She asked me if I thought there would be a 13th check this year. I told her I didn't know but hoped there would be one and we would probably know this month. She was very concerned, as she didn't know how she was going to pay her utility bills, especially her gas bill, this winter, without the money the 13th check provided.
There are countless retired teachers of Ohio who are not as fortunate as most of us in this room today. Teachers today earn salaries that seem enormous to those who retired 25 or 30 years ago. The pensions of those retired teachers have been drastically eroded over time even with the 85% restoration of buying power the Senate Bill 190 provided. Many of these retired teachers don't eat at fancy restaurants, take nice trips or buy all the electronic toys that most of us have. Their outing is to a senior center for a $2 meal, or to a retired teacher's luncheon for a $5 meal. Their standard of living is much different than most of us in this room.
I urge you to reconsider your vote of not provided a Supplemental Benefit Check for the first time in 21 years to the retired teachers of Ohio. Even $7 per unit at a total cost of $28 million would help those in need. Retired teachers sometimes wonder if they are as important as this building on which you recently spent over $90million.
Even with an actuarial rate of return of 6.7% which is not up to the actuarial assumption rate of 7.5%, you, as fiduciaries of what we all like to refer to as the "Premier Pension System", can be fiscally responsible in granting a benefit this year. I urge you to do so.
Thank you."
To me, Dave's speech was masterfully on target. The STRS Ohio News, July 2005, pg. 5, tells us that: "Investment earnings must go toward funding pension liabilities versus the 13th check." Therefore, most certainly, a pension liability is honoring the intent the legislature to give the STRS retired members this unique yearly award. This is a most noble attempt to fulfill #3307.15 of the ORC! Thank God for those past union leaders, STRS BD members, and employees, who knew the spirit of this significant benefit for retirees: to give retirees the help they need. Can those of the present rise to that height of stature? As in they did for those 21-years, just execute today what is just and proper, and resume the 13th ck. once again. Please do not try to explain away or make excuses.
Robert Hudson Jones, Retired Teacher serving on CORE & SummitCRTA CMTES

June Hughes responds re: In defense of the popular 13th check

From: June Hughes
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Subject: Re: In Defense of the Popular 13th Check.

And in addition to the 'older' retirees not getting the 13th check, why should employees get a bonus of 1000's but the 13th check, which is miniscule in comparison, not be given to those who have contributed for many years AND never complained about increases of contributions to the retirement system. Again, it's the haves and have nots. Power can be an addictive thing! Why was this bias allowed to happen?
Now we're being told the payment toward our Medicare B may not be the same for next year. Well, when bonuses, unnecessary trips, raises are stopped then and only then can things be reduced for the retiree!
We're being divided into a bad situation here because older retirees are being separated vs those who didn't get a 13th check but did get a nice windfall of more monthly retirement money.
Either all or none is my position!
I happened to run into 7 retirees recently by chance, most are older than me, and none have a computer in order to make contact. Could it be they can't afford it? I had a business after I retired from teaching therefore I had other income for such equipment. Now that I sold that business, I know longer have that extra.
June (retired 1990)

PS Could an agreement made with an internet server to supply all of us access, at a lesser cost, if we have a certain number of members to join?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

From Molly: Damon on SB 190 enhancements for retirees

From Molly Janczyk, 1/25/06

Damon's answers are directly below. The questions are further down and I added YES or NO according to his responses.

THANK YOU, DAMON: I appreciate this very direct answer to help us understand SB190 and its enhancements for retirees. Like many, I was unaware of any except my own scenario retiring in '99.

From: "Asbury, Damon"To: "molly janczyk" Subject: RE: Damon Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 16:58:48 -0500

Molly, I'll try to answer as you request, but I will need to elaborate on a couple. : )

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. Yes

4. Yes, it was a permanent increase to their monthly benefits, but it does not adjust the 85% purchasing power for future inflation. The COLA is supposed to adjust for that.

5. No. Retirees in 1999 and later received the 2.2% formula and were eligible for the 35 year benefit, if they qualified. Those who retired earlier ((in '88 and before)) received the adjustment in their formula to
2.1% and the 85% formula adjustment if applicable. Those who retired between July 1989 through June 1999 were already receiving the 2.1% formula. If they had
31 or more years, they also received the formula enhancement of 2.5 for the 31st year, 2.6 for the 32nd year, etc. until the person reaches 100% of final average salary.

6. Yes. The ad hoc increase provided by SB 190 was also added to the retiree's base benefit on which future 3% COLA adjustments are based.


From: molly janczyk [] Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 1:44 PM To: Asbury, Damon Subject: Damon

You were at STRS for SB190: I need the specific answers in really plain English: ANSWER: YES OR NO

1. Did SB190 bring ALL older retirees up to the 2.1 % formula? whether they retired in 1960 or regardless of when they retired: ANSWER: YES

2. Were some retirees receiving less that the 2.1% prior to SB190? ANSWER: YES

3. If raising them did not meet the 85% rule of bringing them to 85% of their original purchasing power, did SB190 then pay the additional to bring them up to the 85% rule? ANSWER: YES

4. WAS THIS INCREASE OVER 2.1% TO BRING THEM TO THE 85% RULE A PERMANENT PART OF THEIR MONTLY PENSION? ANSWER: YES , the increase was based on 85% purchasing >power at year 2000 ; not beyond; COLA is for that.

5. I thought that only retirees retiring in '99 or later were affected: ANSWER: NO! All retirees not already receiving 2.1% benefitted: Retirees with 31 or more years also rec'd the enhancements for that service: SEE NUMBER 5 explanation above from Damon.

6. THESE ENHANCEMENTS OF SB190 for retirees are seperate from the COLA increase to 3%. ANSWER: YES
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company