Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Shirlee Zerkel: Pill rationing by STRS

April 26, 2006
I have been doing some research about quantity limits on STRS medications. This is what I have found in the STRS Health Care Book for 2006. My book is for the basic plan but the drug lists are the same for both plans. In the past years if the drug had limits on quantities, this is what was stated above the entire list "In some cases it may be medically necessary for you to exceed the preset limits. In those instances, proper authorization is required. In such cases your doctor should initiate prior authorization by calling Caremark" Now in the 2006 Plan Book, Drug Limitations is divided into 2 sections.
The second section includes Hypnotics and Male Erectile dysfunction therapy medications. Above that section it reads:
"If you request that a prescription be filled for a drug listed below that is subject to quantity limitations, the prescription will be filled up to the preset limits. If additional quantities are needed, you will be responsible for the entire cost associated with the medication. Appeals for coverage of additional quantities will not be considered for the following medications."
That list includes Ambien, Ambien CR, Dalmane, Doral, Halcion, Lunesta, Prosom, Restoril, Sonata, Caverject, Cialis, Edex, Levitra, MUSE, Viagra. It appears that this was to start in 2006.
The new Medicare D, AARP plan also has limits on the drug Ambien, and Ambien CR, but I do not know what the extent of their limits are.
This STRS change was to be effective for 2006. I do not understand why the sudden enforcement in April not January. This information was found as I carefully read the STRS 2006 book. They did not really try to inform us of such changes. We seem to have to hunt for the ways that our benefits are reduced.
I feel that a special notice should be issued at the end of each year and included in the enrollment pack of information to all members who use the STRS insurance and drug program. This notice should include all the changes that members can expect to experience in the following year. The only notice that STRS gave us last year was the increase in premiums and that tier one drugs would be reduced by a small amount. I hear that premiums will probably really rise in 2007. Let's hope that the medical benefits do not decrease as well. Our small pensions can't stand more raising of premiums and reducing of benefits. Retirees have reached their limits of medical costs as well.
STRS staff increase in premiums is not nearly what ours is and their benefits far surpass ours. Their family plan premiums do not even come close to what we pay for our spouses alone. They even have free dental coverage and no deductible on their health insurance.
Shirlee Zerkel

Monday, April 24, 2006

Beth Shulman: Retirement Insecurity

Retirement Insecurity
By Beth Shulman
April 24, 2006

Beth Shulman is the author of The Betrayal of Work (The New Press, 2003) and a spokesperson for the Russell Sage Foundation’s Future of Work program.

General Motors’ announcement that that it would no longer provide traditional pensions to its employees hired after 2001 was stunning because of its size. Yet GM is hardly alone in trying to pare down or eliminate conventional pensions. Every day, from healthy companies like Verizon to bankrupt firms like Delphi, there seems to be a new announcement. United Airlines, Bethlehem Steel, Motorola, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Hewlett Packard, along with many other pillars of our economy, have frozen their pension plans, insisting they cannot afford to keep their promises.

The impact of simply wiping out traditional pensions resonates far beyond corporate boardrooms and company shareholders. It’s a unilateral move to cut out a main clause of our social contract, the model that a majority of Americans and their families have relied on for nearly three quarters of a century.

Are we really ready as a society to declare the end of retirement as we know it? In order to retire, must employees now bear all the costs and take all the risks? And at the very least, shouldn’t we have a serious, national conversation before we simply accept a major shift that will have such a significant impact on our economy and the quality of life in our country for generations to come?

Traditionally, pensions were part of a three-legged stool of retirement: Social Security, personal savings and private pensions from employers. Each leg is essential to ensuring that Americans can retire without fear of being desperate or a huge drain on family, friends, church or community.

Yet Americans are having a difficult time saving. With stagnant wages and the escalating costs of housing, gasoline and college, many are just living paycheck to paycheck. That leaves pensions.

For most of the late 20th century, employers offered defined-benefit plans, pensions in which retirees received a fixed sum each month based on their length of service and income. By contrast, today’s newer defined-contribution plans, known as 401(k)s, give wage earners a tax break for putting part of their own salary into an account which they can draw on after they retire.

It’s not surprising that employers prefer defined-contribution plans. They offer the company the option of matching a worker’s contributions. But it’s just an option and a number of employers opt out. The number of American workers covered by 401(k) plans rose from 14.4 million in 1980 to nearly 60 million in 2000. Meanwhile, the number of private sector employees covered by defined-benefit plans plummeted to only one in five.

These 401(k) plans will not be sufficient for most people to retire. The median amount of money in a 401(k) plan for individuals ages 55 to 64 is only $23,000. Most experts believe that it will take at least $200,000 to $300,000 in addition to Social Security for the average American to have a secure retirement.

Many homeowners expect a one time windfall from the sale of their much-appreciated homes to take up the slack. But will it? Refinancing a home mortgage for spending money means committing to make mortgage payments that will last well into retirement. What’s more, relying on the sale of a house to capture all the equity depends on a stable housing market, not to mention being able to find somewhere else affordable to live afterwards. Economists have grown hoarse warning us that today’s hot housing market is a bubble just waiting to burst.

While USA Today reports that lawmakers who retire at 60 receive an immediate pension of $25,000 and lifetime benefits that could total more than $800,000, most Americans may end up at retirement age with only one leg of the stool—Social Security. But Social Security is not now nor was it ever intended to be enough to live on alone. The average Social Security benefit is only $12,000. Instead of having the ability to retire with some dignity, future generations of senior citizens are more likely to have to arrange to sleep on their adult children’s pull-out sofas—if they’re lucky enough to have children who can afford to help support them.

How did retirement become so precarious? In a few years, all but the most affluent among us may have to keep working well beyond the age of 65. That’s not what we signed up for. And it’s not the way things have to be.

Before we simply roll over and accept the end of traditional pensions, we could put some other choices on the table. Social Security needs to be strengthened. At the same time, Congress could offer firms incentives to keep their traditional pension plans intact. We could require employers to pay into a new hybrid plan that would blend the best of the 401(k)’s portability and simplicity with the dependability and longevity of traditional defined-benefit pension plans.

As a first step, we could reverse the current 401(k) trend that leaves out workers who can’t afford to put money into the plan. We could require employers to contribute to 401(k)s for every employee. The employees could then match that contribution if they could afford to do so. Everyone who earns below a certain level could be offered tax credits for their deposits.
Thanks to June Hughes for submitting this.

Tom Curtis to Jerry Martin: Breakdown of STRS investments

April 24, 2006
Hello Jerry,
The STRS Investment Dept. made their report during last Thursday's board meeting. They are placing more money into fixed income, but I am sure that it is not as much as you might like them to do. Here is the breakdown of our investments as of March 31st:
Liquidity Reserves......................... 2.9%
Fixed Income..................................20%
Total Equities...............................67.2%
Real Estate.....................................7.3%
Alternative Inv.................................2.6%
Fiscal 2006 Year to date return
Total Fund......................................15%+
Mitchell did indicate they would be pulling more into fixed income, how much I have no idea.
The newspaper article you sent me (attached) about the big 7 countries being concerned about the value of the American dollar states exactly what my feeling has been for sometime. Our national deficit is going to break us all sometime soon.
Dave Speas tells me that every great culture/grouping of people back through history went through the same cycle the USA seems to be going through.
They start as manufacturing economies and heavily involved in the development of the country and knowledgeable about the politics of the day. Then when the economy booms and everyone is enjoying all of the fruits of their forefathers' labor and wisdom, they move to a service economy, complacency and finally to their downfall. That seems to be the same scenario we are following in the US and at the STRS.
Just what makes our leadership in this country, at the STRS and us as individuals, ignore history?
I guess it really comes down to the entire population being to well off and not willing to take matters into their own reference of concern. The 'let someone else do it' attitude becomes prevalent. Therefore, someone else does do it, but garners a feeling of entitlement for doing such, gets greedy and begins taking more then they deserve and justify such in their own minds.
The problems at the STRS are so identical to what is happening at the national level. When times were good, no one wanted to be bothered being concerned about how things were operated. They simply took the approach that others will take care of it and do things correctly. That attitude, by probably the largest group of employees in this country (outside of the US Government), which also has the greatest amount of education, is so naive in thinking others will not abuse their power and funds.
For the most part, I find the only people that have been highly concerned about the problems at the STRS are those greatly affected financially. Those not heavily burdened by the gross misspending and gross reduction in healthcare benefits and costs could really care less. Further, it totally amazes me that many educators are simply willing to believe in the OEA. The OEA leadership is so responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today.
This does not speak well for the highly educated people in the education field. In my opinion, they are critically ignorant about their retirement and health care situation. Why are they so willing to allow someone else to take care of it, when so many will desperately need both once they retire? Being ignorant of what was going on in the past is one thing, continuing to choose to be ignorant about what has happened and is still happening is ludicrous.
Take care,
Tom Curtis
From: Jerry Martin, Sunday, April 23, 2006
Subject: Investments
Tom, With inflation rising (whether the gov. admits it or not), the economy tailspinning, the deficit out of control, the dollar tanking, don't you think that the Bd. should focus on the secuity of the STRS investments?
Jerry Martin

STRS April 2006 Board News

PROPOSED BUDGETS FOR 2006-2007 PRESENTED TO RETIREMENT BOARD...At its April meeting, the Retirement Board had its first look at the proposed system budgets for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. The proposed operating budget total of $89,558,000 reflects a 4.6% increase from the current year's budget, which totals $85,603,800. The proposed budget for the next fiscal year is 7.1% lower than the peak budget for the 2002-2003 fiscal year. Overall staffing levels have been reduced by more than 100 associates since then; in addition, non-Investment expenses have been reduced by $10 million over the past two years.
In presenting the budget to the board, staff noted that the increase for next year is due primarily to two factors. The first is the conversion to hard dollars from soft dollar arrangements in investments. Previously, a portion of commission dollars (known as "soft dollars") generated on securities transactions was used to pay for some investment research services. For the past two years, STRS Ohio has been transitioning to paying for these services through "hard dollars" that are reflected in the system's operating budget. This transition from soft dollar expenditures to hard dollar expenditures, which will be completed at the end of the 2006-2007 fiscal year, follows "best practices" in the investment industry, is more economical for STRS Ohio and adds transparency to the cost of investment services. The second major factor impacting next year's proposed budget are the adjustments made by the Retirement Board last month to the total compensation provided to STRS Ohio's Investment associates.
The budget presented to the board also noted continued significant decreases totaling $1.9 million in such areas as board and staff travel, communications, professional and technical services, and repairs and maintenance.
The proposed capital budget for next year totals $3,164,200. Additionally, the system will be spending $11,440,300 on the Vitech project that will replace STRS Ohio's obsolete pension management computer system. In developing the budgets, staff was driven by these board directives:
- Make system operations in all areas as "lean" as possible, without jeopardizing delivery of pension benefits and services and health care coverage to members; adversely impacting investment operations; or failing to meet fiduciary responsibilities or legal requirements.
- Provide an appropriate compensation and benefits package and work environment to attract, retain and engage highly motivated associates.
- Comply with all Board Policies.
- Address Retirement Board priorities.
- Demonstrate and communicate to members that STRS Ohio is managing operating expenses prudently.
The Retirement Board will be asked to approve the budgets at its June meeting.

WORK ON HEALTH CARE MEMBER EDUCATION AND ENGAGEMENT CAMPAIGN CONTINUES..STRS Ohio staff and representatives of the Health Care Advocates for STRS continue to discuss the proposal for an ongoing and dedicated revenue stream for the STRS Ohio Health Care Program with active and retired members around the state. This spring, more than 2,000 individuals will hear about the legislative initiative STRS Ohio is pursuing. Surveys distributed at the active meetings continue to show majority support for the proposal to increase member and employer contributions, consistent with the data collected from more than 10,000 active members last fall. Some school districts have voiced their opinion about the proposal, noting that school funding issues make it difficult for them to support an increase in employer and/or employee contributions. Opportunities for face-to-face conversations with school board members, superintendents and legislators, as well as continued outreach to members, are being pursued. At its April meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board approved draft legislation that would give the board the authority to increase member contributions up to 2.5% and employer contributions up to 2.5% to exclusively fund the STRS Ohio Health Care Program for current and future retirees. The next step is for the Legislative Services Commission to finalize the bill language. This should be completed later this year.

STRS OHIO RANKS NO. 2 IN SERVICE..In 1998, STRS Ohio was one of eight leading international pension systems that sponsored the inaugural Benefit Administration benchmarking project developed by CEM, Inc., of Toronto, Ontario. The purpose of the survey was to provide insight into benefit administration costs, service levels and industry best practices. Today, more than 53 retirement systems from the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands participate in the annual study that represents pension funds serving more than 18 million members.
Since the inception of the Benefits Administration Survey, STRS Ohio has earned the No. 1 ranking in service for seven consecutive years. However, for 2005, STRS Ohio fell short of the first-place ranking by two points.
During the presentation detailing the survey results, staff noted that costs incurred in delivering member services have been gradually trending downward during the past three years. The eventual replacement of the currently outdated pension management computer system, known as Legacy, with the new Vitech system will help reduce costs in this area. Staff will continue to focus on reducing administrative costs while not negatively impacting members' current high satisfaction with services provided by the system, such as availability of counseling sessions, short wait times for calls to the Member Services Center, two-week turnaround times for the processing of benefits and estimates, and timeliness of communications.

RETIREMENT, INVESTMENT TRANSACTIONS APPROVED..The Retirement Board approved the following retirements and investment transactions:
- 35 disability retirements were granted.
- 171 active members were approved for service retirement; 129 inactive retirements were approved.
- In March, fixed-income purchases totaled $1.406 billion, domestic equity purchases totaled $1.579 billion and real estate purchases totaled $23.7 million.

FIRST MEDICARE PART D REIMBURSEMENT REQUESTED..STRS Ohio has submitted an initial request for payment for the Medicare Part D subsidy. This request for approximately $7.64 million covers prescription drug claims paid during January and February for STRS Ohio enrollees in the Caremark and AultCare prescription drug plans. Finance and Health Care associates have been working since last fall to complete the registration and payment request processes required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We have received word from the CMS that payment will be sent to STRS Ohio by the end of May. Beginning in July, CMS will allow STRS Ohio to submit monthly payment requests, including back payments for March through June.

Jim Kimmel to Judge Glaeden: Hazel deserves fine, community service and jail time

The Honorable Carrie E. Glaeden
Franklin County Municipal Court
General Division, Courtroom 13A
375 South High Street
Columbus, Ohiio 43215
April 24, 2006
Your Honor:
As a retiree of STRS-Ohio I wish to suggest what might be an appropriate sentence for Hazel Sidaway, former STRS Board Member. I was, quite frankly, amazed to learn that even at the end of the trial Ms. Sidaway continued to justify herself saying that she discussed business "at appropriate times" while attending the Broadway production of "Hairspray" in New York City on STRS dollars. Judge Glaeden, as a 80 plus year veteran teacher I have a pretty good instinct when someone "gets it" and when someone does not. Hazel STILL doesn't get is.
For this and the other ethics violations please consider these penalties for Ms. Sidaway:
1. Maximum financial fine of $1000.00 per count.
2. Spend an extended time in community service at a nursing home, making sure she is assigned to some of the older retired teachers who have been hurt the most by the STRS excesses for which Ms. Sidaway, along with others, are responsible.
3. Serve some time in jail, perhaps as a form of "shock" probation at the very least.
I have suggested the jail time because, having followed the trial, it is my opinion that this is the only way for Hazel to fully comprehend what she has done. It will also send a strong message that these crimes are indeed serious. Thousands of active and retired teachers want justice as a first step in changing the STRS culture of entitlement.
James O. Kimmel, M.Ed.
STRS Retiree

Janczyk, Leone & Curry comment on Grant, Ehlers, Sidaway, Hvisdos, O'Brien & Petro

From Molly Janczyk, April 23, 2006
Subject: FW: Felonies Not Committed by Grant and Ehlers

My understanding was that they just wanted covered in case of any possibility of something brought against them: scared to be involved or considered involved; but I figured it was not much since their own attorneys told them to testify and there was no problem against them-nothing to worry about. Also based my remarks on David Freel, Exec Direc of OEC when he spoke to us and said very plainly, they just didn't find anything beyond ethics violation misdemeanors to take to prosecutor and that STRS did not compare to the OP&F in what they did. But, if some of them can be developed into felonies, I am sure not against that!!!!! Looks like the only hope we have for now is with the STRS attorneys. Thanks for the update .

From Dennis Leone, Sun, 23 Apr 2006
Molly, from the information I received this past Thursday, you are apparently correct. The 2 employees had no idea the lawyer was going to say all that he did. It was an embarrassment to them and both have written to Damon to say that. Neither of them even went to Hairspray. Since they were with board members earlier in the day, they obviously had knowledge of what the board members would be doing that night, but that's about it. The 2 of them are STRS real estate analysts. It was, in my opinion, THEIR job to be in New York..........and apparently some board members -- in the past -- felt it was their job too. How stupid for 5-7 board members to fly around the country inspecting STRS-owned real estate. We hire people who are supposed to be experts in those areas.
Dennis Leone
John Curry Writes:
Molly, covering up or attempting to cover up evidence (as in the paper trail of Cleveland Indians ball tickets) IS A FELONY. Kostyu's recent Sidaway trial article stated:
"Something more troubling, however, became clear at Sidaway's trial. Based on her own testimony, former in-house STRS attorney Cynthia E. Hvizdos apparently gave Sidaway bad legal advice, and she may have helped cover up the violations once the ethics commission began its investigation.
"Cindy Hvizdos agreed to assist in purposely disguising the tickets," Nick said about her testimony. "She might be liable."
Prior to the trial, Hvizdos offered to help Sidaway, who didn't disclose that communication with her own attorney. He was caught off-guard and put at legal risk for failure to disclose the communication to prosecutors. Hvizdos retired because she has multiple sclerosis and apparently no longer practices law. So it's not likely she will face charges or sanctions."
Hazel even shocked her own attorney by this dirty laundry statement that came to light in the trial. If the prosecution doesn't run with this, then they aren't worth their salt. BUT - the Columbus City Prosecutor's office does not prosecute felonies, the Franklin County Prosecutor (or a visiting out-of-county prosecutor should there be a conflict of interest) does. You know, Ron O'Brien (Franklin County Prosecutor), the guy who was the beneficiary of a campaign fund raiser hosted FOR HIM in Cleveland BY none other than former STRS Board member Jim Petro earlier this year. Now, Ronnie wouldn't want to see egg on Jimmy's face, would he?

Crooks at STRS? Surely you jest!

From a Columbus retiree
April 24, 2006
After reading many of these letters, etc. it is more obvious to me now than it was 8 years ago what a bunch of crooks these people are. If you recall I appealed my retirement only to be called a liar and to be told I was trying to cheat the retirement system by none other than Jack Chapman, Hazel Sidaway and Herbert Dyer. They made these accusations to my face in an appeals hearing. When I reported their actions teachers, CEA, and friends did not believe me. I charged then that they were crooked in the actions, as well as amoral and unethical. Their actions clearly demonstrated this to me. At the time I was shocked and saddened by their pompous demeanor. Finally in the last few years it has come to the surface what crooks they are. I appreciate everything you and CORE are doing to bring the misconduct and unethical actions to light.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Another nightmare we could ALL soon face: quantity limits on pills

I received the following communications from a retiree I taught with; a person who, like the rest of us, has always gone out of his way to follow the rules and do the right thing. Has anyone else had this experience? Could this be a sign of what's to come for all of us?
Kathie Bracy
April 20, 2006
STRS quietly implemented changes in prescription coverage on April 1. In the past they have imposed quantity limits on certain drugs unless the doctor submitted a letter stating the medical necessity to use the quantity that he/she prescribed. Now, the doctor has no say-so. STRS' new policy is we will tell you how many pills you can have. If your doctor thinks it is medically necessary to exceed that amount he/she can provide samples or the STRS member can pay for the additional pills out of their own pocket. Example: Ambien (sleep disorder medication) STRS says that you can only have 14 pills in a 28 day period. The doctor says that unless the medication is taken every night you will have problems sleeping.
I get it! STRS plan: if members only sleep every other day they will be too tired watch what we do and complain.
April 23, 2006
I found out this past week. I have been on Ambien for a number of years. When I had the prescription filled in March it was filled for thirty as approved with the doctor's request to exceed the STRS limit of 14 per 28 days. Giant Eagle called and said when they tried to run through the 30 it was denied. I called Caremark and they informed me that they no longer allowed doctors to request increases due to medical necessity. They were almost rude about it. The girl said, “if you think you need a more pills than what your retirement system thinks is necessary, you can pay for them yourself.” I called my doctor and ask them to check into to it. They called back a day later and said that it was a fact. STRS/Caremark would no longer allow doctors to request and increase in number of pills or dosage even if the doctor thinks it is medically necessary.

Paul Boyer to Lara Baker: Thanks for a job well done, and don't stop now

From: Paul Boyer
To: Lara N. Baker
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2006
Subject: trial
Dear Ms. Baker:
I wrote to you sometime ago about the trials of Hazel Sidaway and others in the STRS case. Thank you for prosecuting the Sidaway trial so well that you got convictions on two of the ethics charges. We hope this is the beginning of many more to follow because there were many involved in these illegal activities.
I have written Judge Glaeden urging that Ms. Sidaway should receive the maximum punishment including jail time. I want this woman to realize that this is not a laughing matter even though she said she was just doing her job as a volunteer. She was elected to care for us retirees and failed on the job. I hope that even yet there may be some charges of talking business and making decisions while they were dining, etc.
Thank you again for a job well done.
Paul L. Boyer
Retired since 1985
Life member OEA/OEA-R,
Proud to be named
“Core” of CORE

Paul Boyer to Judge Glaeden: Give Hazel more than a slap on the wrist

April 22, 2006

The Honorable Judge Carrie E. Glaeden

Franklin County Municipal Court

General Division, Court room 13 A

375 South High Street

Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Judge Glaeden:

As a member of CORE, Concerned Ohio Retired Educators, I have worked tirelessly for the past three years to get the State Teachers Retirement System straightened out from the sense of entitlement that consumed the board and many of the employees to the place that they spent millions of dollars of our retirement money on themselves and families. I, along with many other members of CORE, am gratified that Hazel Sidaway, a long time board member and recipient of many gifts and trips paid for by STRS or companies that were tied to them, has finally been convicted of ethics violations.

I am sure that you are right now considering what type of a sentence you should give to her. It is my personal opinion that she should be given the maximum sentence provided by the law. I understand that this could include jail time and fine. This woman has shown nothing but contempt for us retirees and the Ethics Commission and continues to say that she did nothing wrong. She needs to receive a punishment that will drastically change that attitude. There is also a matter of reimbursing STRS for the things she illegally received, even though they may have come from companies doing business with STRS.

Whatever sentence you decide to give her, I will applaud you but please, do not just give her a slap on the wrist as Herb Dyer received so that she can walk off holding her head high.


Paul L. Boyer

Retired since 1985

Life member of OEA/OEA-R, NEA, ORTA, CORE

Proud to be named “Core of CORE" by Dr. Dennis Leone

ORC 3307.15 - not just a wish,
......IT'S THE LAW!

John Curry to Judge Glaeden: Remember the stakeholders

April 23, 2006
The Honorable Carrie E. Glaeden
Franklin County Municipal Court
General Division, Courtroom 13 A
375 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Your Honor,
I am a benefits recipient of the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. I am writing to you to ask that you read what I present to be a victims impact statement to consider before the sentencing of former STRS Board member Hazel Sidaway who was found guilty in your court of two Ohio ethics violations.
There are over 130,000 retired victims of Ms. Sidaway's ethics violations -- the STRS retirees. In addition, there are over 200,000 stakeholders who are actively teaching or who have monies invested in the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio even though they are not presently teaching. Many of these victims are still unaware of what has transpired in your courtroom. Some are unable to speak form themselves as they are incapacitated and are in nursing homes; they will probably never know what happened.
Regardless of numbers of these fiduciaries, Hazel Sidaway -- by her violations of the Ohio ethics laws -- did not, in my opinion, follow the letter or the spirit of the Ohio Revised Code (3307.15) which states (in part) that, "The Board and other fiduciaries shall discharge their duties with respect to the funds solely in the interest of the participants and the beneficiaries; for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to participants and their beneficiaries..."
Attending a Cleveland Indians ball game or the Broadway play "Hairspray" with complementary tickets of significant value furnished by STRS vendors certainly doesn't equate to compliance with either the Ohio ethics laws or ORC 3307.15.
I do not know whether or not you have requested a pre-sentence investigation before your sentencing on May 12, but I request that you consider this fact:

There is a large sculpture ("Integrity") sitting just outside the STRS Boardroom at the STRS. This $100,000 sculpture was purchased with the approval of Ms. Sidaway (and other board members) during her tenure as a board member. It is within view of all board members as they are performing their fiduciary duties by conducting board meetings. With this statue there is a plaque that reads:

"Integrity.....guiding all that we do at STRS Ohio, from retirement Board actions to counseling members and investing money. This sculpture symbolizes integrity through the bronze figure representing members, intertwined with the stainless steel figure providing the security so highly valued by members and benefit recipients alike. The spiraling shape captures the boundless energy and strength that characterizes the system's mission and vision."

In closing, I ask that all STRS stakeholders' interests be considered in the sentence that you deem appropriate to Ms. Sidaway on May 12, 2006. Thank you.


John Curry -- an STRS retiree

Sondra Stratton to Judge Glaeden: Time to pay the piper!

April 23, 2006
The Honorable Carrie E. Glaeden
Franklin County Municipal Court
General Division, Courtroom 13 A
375 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Honorable Glaeden,
I have, as have many other retirees, watched the trial of Hazel Sidaway, former STRS board member, with much interest!!
As the person who filed the formal complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission, using reports made by Dr. Dennis Leone, as well as materials gathered from STRS by various retirees, and newspaper reports, I am extremely pleased that Ms. Sidaway has been found guilty on at least 2 counts. Please do not give this woman a slap on the hand as was done by Herbert Dyer! She deserves the maximum allowable sentence!!! She should be fined and also serve a prison sentences. As one who has enjoyed the very best of hotels at retirees expense, the prison environment is one that she must experience.
While I, personally, would prefer prison, I would pleased for Ms. Sidaway to repay her debt to retirees and society by working it off ( free of course) at STRS. I am sure STRS can always use someone to clean the restrooms, polish the vast amount of chrome, weeping or cleaning floors, do dishes in the cafeteria, or change dirty diapers at the preschool, we also pay for, etc.
You see, Ms. Sidaway has shown a great deal of arrogance while showing no repentance and apparently still feels she has done nothing wrong. During my first visit to an STRS board meeting, one retiree asked if it was true that one of the board members ran up a $350 beach bar bill that was paid by retirees.
The very next speaker responded that it was true while pointing to Ms. Sidaway as the offender. Most people would have been so embarrassed and felt like crawling under the desk. Not Ms. Sidaway. She showed no embarrassment or remorse but rather seemed to act as though she was “entitled”. In fact, I believe Ms. Sidaway had attended a retirement party given in her honor the night before at a cost of over $4,000 of retirees money!!!
Retirees are struggling to pay for health care insurance and health care costs such as medication. We are having to make decisions as to whether we eat or buy needed medication. One lady had to give up purchasing needed orthopedic shoes when we lost the 13th check. Being one of the younger retirees, I know how hard it is for me and can not imagine HOW the older retirees who made less, thus received less retirement, can even begin to manage.
Again, this retiree, as a CORE organizer and member, is requesting the max in sentencing for Hazel Sidaway. She has earned this punishment and deserves nothing less! It is time for those who used and abused our retirement system and money to pay the piper!!
Thank you for listening and taking retirees thoughts and concerns into consideration!
Sondra Stratton, STRS Member
CORE member
Former Treasurer and President of
Brown County Retired Teachers Association
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company