Saturday, August 19, 2006

Blog hits 20 K

From John Curry, August 19, 2006
CONGRATULATIONS TO KATHIE BRACY! Her STRS blog has just surpassed the 20,000 (20,049 to be exact) hits milemarker! She has devoted hours and hours to this blog to keep it up to date and - IT SHOWS!!
The other two sites which also discuss STRS matters are listed below with their titles and the number of "hits." Kate is outhitting them most every day - and the reason is obvious - she publishes a blog with info that retirees (and actives) can relate to and she is not afraid to ruffle feathers when a good "ruffling" is deserved. The "other sites" are below along with their total "hits."
ORTA 11,063 hits
Ohio STRS Watch (blog) -- 4,439 hits
John - a Proud CORE member and a Proud Kathie Bracy blog reader
For STRS commentary go to
Thanks, John! And kudos to you and all who provide material for my blog, and to all the READERS -- you ALL make this blog possible. Note: I started this blog Oct. 9, 2005, but didn't add the hit counter till Jan. 15, 2006 (because I didn't know how). Just started a new blog this week, for any interested musicians: KBB

Dennis Leone and Paul Boyer: STRS payments and actions

Dennis Leone To: Paul Boyer
Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006
Subject: STRS Payments and Actions

Actually, Paul. what the STRS Board did on Friday afternoon (8-18-06) was worse than what you wrote. The Board voted 5-1-1 to reject my formal recommendation NOT to employ a head hunting firm from Chicago (Ferguson Partners) to hire 3 or 4 real estate employees that are needed at STRS. I was the only yes vote on this rejection motion. Meyers abstained, Lazares was absent, while the no votes came from Ramser, Flannagan, Chapman, Billirakis and Puckett. After rejecting my formal motion, the board voted (same 5-1-1 vote) to pay the firm the first installment ($135,000) of its total $315,000 fee. I voted no, Meyers abstained, Lazares was absent, and the rest voted yes. Before the vote, the minutes will reflect, I stated my reasons for opposing the hiring. I stated that when the Board approved the hiring of the additional real estate employees in May, we were NOT told to expect needing to fork up another $315,000 for a head-hunting firm. I also said that amount was simply "too much," especially given that seconds earlier we raised the health insurance premiums for retirees. The staff said they tried to hired the new people but couldn't find the quality they desired. I said: "Try again." Meyers said that he agreed with former Board member Judith Fisher that my objection to such things was "intrusive" and "micro-managing."
There was something worse that the above action. The Board gave Damon permission in executive session to pay the legal fees of 3 staff members who decided to secure their own, personal lawyers after they were subpoenaed to testify in the Hazel Sidaway trial. I stated my profound opposition to this first in executive session, then again in public when I was the ONLY Board member (Lazares was absent) to vote against Damon's list of expenditures for the past 2 months (which included the payment of the private, personal staff member legal fees). These 3 staff members chose NOT to even seek or use the free assistance from the STRS legal staff or the State Attorney General's legal staff. The 3 staff members had not been charged, indicted, or even sued. They decided on their own to hire their own private lawyers for their own personal protection. (I told the Board that as a school supt, I added a rider to my own home insurance policy to give me extra protection if someone sued me personally.)
STRS has NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER paying the private, personal legal fees of these employees. (Maybe STRS should also buy them a new washing machine for their homes?) I stated publicly that the Board was setting a terrible precedent and that the expenditure violated, in my opinion, ORC 3307.15. In response, other board members told Damon to let staff know that future reimbursement requests of this nature will not be considered. This, in my opinion, is an admission that the payment is wrong NOW. I told the Board publicly that I intend to write a letter to Jim Petro and issue a formal complaint against Damon and my own Board. SB 133 commands Petro to rule on such complaints now. I am not sure how he will respond given that attorney John Patterson from his staff sat silent in executive session when this was decided.
When board members do stupid things like this, like Ramser did when she made her statements in the Canton Repository last month, they are not only hurting STRS, they also are hurting our chances of getting legislative support for health care.
On the plus side, the Board unanimously agreed to start -- slowly -- putting together a contingency plan in the event there is a terrible catastrophic event that sends the stock market south. While there is NOT board agreement on what to do, at least we are moving forward on it. The staff was asked to develop a laundry list of possible actions that we can consider. Board members also were asked to submit ideas they have. This will get interesting.
Also on the plus side, the Board approved 5-2 a motion I made to prohibit full-time rehired retirees from utilizing STRS health insurance after 1-1-09. Not surprisingly, Ramser and Puckett voted no. (Lazares was absent.) The staff presented data showing that rehired retirees paid $4 million in premiums last year, but had $6 million in claims. I also gave a speech regarding how wrong it is that school districts are "using" STRS to help reduce their insurance costs, AND how districts are not even considering new or laid-off teachers and principals for their open positions. What a terrible statement for OEA and State Supt Susan Zelman to see Ramser and Puckett vote against this needed change. It affects the future of our profession.
One oddity occurred regarding the rehired retiree vote. I assumed (wrongly) that my fellow board members were opposed to the idea that such a change should also apply to rehired retirees who work full-time in the private sector. My first motion was to approve the change 1-1-09, but NOT for rehired retirees who work in the private sector. This motion died for a lack a second, so I made a second motion, which was to deny health insurance for ALL rehired retirees who go back to work full-time at places where health insurance is offered to full-time employees. This passed 5-2, effective 1-1-09. I hope the STRS staff is ready to deal with complaints from rehired retirees who undoubtedly will claim that their private health insurance is inferior to what STRS offers.
Dennis Leone
From Paul Boyer, Aug. 19, 2006
Subject: payments

To all board members and Damon:
It is my understanding that the board approved spending $315,000 at the August meeting for staff members. HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY SPEND $315,000 on Staff when retirees cannot pay for RX's and HC?
DAMON AND Ms. ZELMAN: WHY would you slap us in the face racing to get this done before the Sept. 1 effective date when Damon will have to have all expenditures over $100,000 approved by the Board???

We have fought long and hard with you people to right these wrongs and you continue squandering OUR money on things that should not be. Please wake up and pay attention to ORC 3307.15 and act as you are called on to be good fiduciaries of OUR money.
Paul L. Boyer
Retired since 1985
Life member OEA/OEA-R,
Proud to be named
“Core” of CORE

Friday, August 18, 2006

Current OPERS health care monthly premiums (2006)

From: John Curry
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 12:38 PM
Subject: Current OPERS health care monthly premiums (2006)

Some STRS retirees are asking what OPERS retirees are paying now (2006) for healthcare as compared to STRS retirees. Below is the break-down of current Medical Mutual 80/20 PPO monthly premiums for OPERS retirees who have 30 or more years of service credit:

Retiree (eligible for Medicare A) $ 0.00

Retiree (under age 65) $ 0.00

Retiree (over 65) without

Medicare A $ 0.00

Spouse (eligible for Medicare A) $40.00

Spouse (under age 65) $80.00

Spouse (over 65) without

Medicare A $80.00

Child(ren) $40.00

Note: This information was taken directly from the OPERS website on today's date (8/18/06).

John Curry - A Proud CORE member

Chuck Chapman's speech to the STRS Board, August 17, 2006: It is past time to address the childcare center problem

August 17, 2006
I am Chuck Chapman, life member of OEA and ORTA, with thirty-two years of teaching service. I am Legislative Chair for Medina County RTA.
The Board-approved plan for making the childcare center cost neutral by the 2007-2008 fiscal year was approved at the March 17, 2005 meeting.
Educators have been accused of not being good business managers for a long time. It seems to me that if I was operating a business that was losing large amounts of money, I would do something about it to correct the situation promptly. Of course, using someone else's money makes a difference.
Retirees have no argument about the positive effects of a childcare center on the work site. There is no question the benefits for employees are great. A parent feels very comfortable when their child is being cared for in the same building where they are working.
There are thousands of childcare centers around the country. They are being operated as a business and for a profit. They are good models to copy.
Why can't we follow their practices and operate our facility at a profit? We should not be trying to be cost neutral. If we feel it is so important that, as Mr. Slater reports, it saves us $370,000 for staff training and recruiting, then why do we not make it a profit-making business?
We have been promised for over two years that the center would be cost neutral. I urge the Board to encourage Mr. Slater and Dr. Asbury to correct this situation now and not in 2007 or 2008. It is past time to correct this costly problem.

Kostyu re: Teddy & Kenny

Educators seem to favor Strickland
Canton Repository, August 18, 2006
By Paul E. Kostyu, Copley Columbus Bureau chief
COLUMBUS - The applause at the end of Republican candidate J. Kenneth Blackwell’s speech to school officials was polite.

He caused a noticeable murmur among local school board members, business officials and administrators when he said Thursday that public school administrations are top heavy, need to be cut and some services should be privatized. The savings, he said, could be redirected to classrooms.

There was another murmur when Blackwell said he supports and wants to expand school choice. He said despite the poor performance charter schools showed this week in the annual Department of Education report cards of schools, charter schools have made public schools better because of competition.

By contrast, the reception for Democratic candidate Ted Strickland was near jubilation. His hourlong speech was interrupted by applause 12 times and the audience laughed at his jokes at least four times. There was no laughter during Blackwell’s speech, though he tried to get it.

There may have been other predictors about the reception the two candidates for Ohio governor expected. Printed information the Blackwell campaign provided was on a 51⁄2 -by- 8-inch slick card. Strickland’s came in an 81⁄2-by-11-inch slick folder with an eight-page insert. Also, Blackwell’s introduction to the audience was considerably shorter than Strickland’s.

Both candidates recognized the importance of education in reviving a long-moribund Ohio economy. Both favored continuing a school building and remodeling program begun under current Gov. Bob Taft. And both recognized that education funding relies too heavily on property taxes.

Even though Blackwell is married to the superintendent of the Cincinnati public schools, a system from which he is a product, a lot of his presentation clearly didn’t sit well with the audience.

Strickland’s stories of the early teachers and coaches who had an effect on his life evoked responses from the audience.

“Do you believe deeply in your heart in the importance of public education?” Strickland began — to applause.

“Do you want a governor who will value your work?” he asked, again to applause. “I know how hard you’re working for our kids.”

Blackwell said the state had broken its covenant with taxpayers twice when lawmakers promised money from a state income tax, and later, the lottery, for education. Reiterating a campaign staple, Blackwell said Ohio’s tax system is scaring away businesses and people.

“The tax base is getting smaller, older and less affluent,” he said. “The business of taxing, spending and taxing no longer works.”

As governor, he said, he would “reallocate existing dollars” and institute “spending reform to keep the covenant with children” and raise in four years the amount of general revenue funds going to education to 56 percent from its current 46 percent.

He also promoted his plan to require the so-called “65 percent solution,” where 65 cents of every dollar go toward classroom instruction, while privatizing transportation, food, janitorial and other services.

“Your first obligation is to take care of classroom instruction,” he said.

Strickland said the 65 percent solution “is not a solution. It’s a bad idea. Local school boards and superintendents ought to have flexibility” to use funds as they see fit.

Strickland also said he wouldn’t “cross my fingers” when sworn in as governor to uphold the Ohio constitution.

“I’ll take the mandate of the (Ohio) Supreme Court seriously,” he said, referring to the court’s four decisions over a dozen years that the state’s system of funding schools is unconstitutional.

And he said he would not hand out public dollars to charter schools “without public oversight.”

Reach Copley Columbus Bureau Chief Paul E. Kostyu at (614) 222-8901 or e-mail

Blackwell gets cold shoulder from educators

Friday, Aug. 18, 2006

Blackwell gets cold reception, Strickland applauded
Republican candidate for governor draws groans from educators

Beacon Journal staff writer

Before either gubernatorial candidate took the podium, Marie Parker had her doubts about Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

What she heard Thursday didn't settle her nerves.

Parker is not a Democrat. She can name a handful of Republicans for whom she has voted. But Parker, a former Revere school board member from Summit County, wasn't impressed with Blackwell's stance on education.

In a crowd of hundreds of school officials who listened to both candidates Thursday, she wasn't alone.

Blackwell drew a chorus of groans with his plans to outsource administrative jobs, reform collective bargaining and limit nonclassroom expenses to 35 percent of school budgets.

His opponent, meanwhile, Democrat Ted Strickland, elicited laughter and applause.

Blackwell is pushing for strict economic restraints on government spending, privatized schools and a dip into Medicaid's potential savings to improve Ohio's educational system.

Blackwell said that the improvements in public-school academic performance, evident in this week's release of district report cards, shows that competition from publicly funded, privately run charter schools is helping the entire system.

Blackwell angered educators earlier this year with a proposed constitutional amendment to limit the growth of government spending. The education community argues that the state has yet to comply with an Ohio Supreme Court order to wean school funding from property taxes and to adequately fund the system.

Blackwell was asked in several different ways to elaborate on his plans, and after referring to earlier remarks, said, ``I can't tell you again.''

Strickland was even less specific, although he said that his proposal would try to satisfy the Ohio Supreme Court's nine-year-old order to fix school funding.

When asked afterward by reporters to elaborate on that plan, Strickland said: ``I will do that if I win this election.''

Strickland drew applause nearly a dozen times during his 40 minutes with the crowd. Three times, listeners applauded his stance against what he calls ``for-profit'' charter schools -- an element of Blackwell's solution.

``About $500 million, I believe, was taken out of our public system to fund underperforming charter schools last year,'' Strickland said. ``I think that's a waste of resources -- for-profit charter schools trouble me greatly.''

Though they both said charter and public schools should be held to the same standards, only Strickland received applause.

``People in this room have to take what you heard today and talk to people,'' Bill Kerr, a school official of Jefferson County, said after the speeches. ``I don't think we get involved enough in politics. This is going to be one of the most important elections.''

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Proposed constitution for CORE

A working copy of the proposed constitution for CORE is printed below; it may also be viewed on the CORE website, Discussion on its contents is open until September 14, 2006, when a ratification vote will be held at the CORE meeting that day (details coming later). Please plan to attend and participate in this vitally important meeting. It's YOUR future! KBB

Working copy approved for consideration July 20, 2006


Concerned Ohio Retired Educators

We, the members of the Concerned Ohio Retired Educators, hereinafter identified as CORE, in order to develop a well defined and effective organization do hereby establish this Constitution.

Article I - Name

The name of the organization will be Concerned Ohio Retired Educators, henceforth referred to as CORE.

Article II - Mission Statement

CORE is a (C4) non-profit corporation whose mission is to advocate for the preservation of retirement benefits, including health care, to all Ohio educators under the control of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS).


To monitor the compliance of the STRS Board and staff with ORC 3307.15.

To support Board members who "discharge their duties with respect to the funds solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries."

To advocate for the security of adequate retirement benefits.

To advocate for a dedicated stream of funding for the Health Care Stabilization Fund in order to guarantee health care for all STRS members, spouses, and dependents.

To monitor inappropriate spending of STRS funds by the STRS Board and/or any STRS employee.

To establish a fair and equitable balance of active and retired members to serve on the STRS board.

To research and collect information about STRS, legislation, and other related matters, and to report and distribute this information to Ohio's current and future retired educators.

Article III - Membership

Participation in CORE is open to all Ohio educators, future and current retirees and their dependents. We must all work together to ensure the success of CORE and to preserve retirement rights for Ohio's educators.

Article IV - Governance

1. CORE will be governed by an Advisory Board of a minimum of seven members. It shall be the duty of the CORE Advisory Board to receive input from the CORE membership, establish policies that reflect the ideas and attitudes of the membership, direct the actions of all CORE officers, and approve all documents or communiqués that represent official CORE publications.

a. Nominations for selection as a CORE Advisory Board member may be made by anyone listed as a CORE member and meeting all requirements of active membership as set forth in Article III of this document.

b. Selection of a CORE Advisory Board member to complete the remainder of the term shall occur within thirty days of a vacancy on the Board.

c. In the event of a vacancy on the CORE Advisory Board, selection of a replacement shall be determined by a two-thirds (66%) vote of the existing CORE Advisory Board.

d. Removal of a CORE advisor shall follow the procedure outlined in Article VIII of this document.

2. CORE shall elect a President who shall preside at all meetings. The President shall carry out the directives of the CORE Advisory Board and be the official spokesperson for CORE.

a. The President will maintain the power to appoint all committee chairpersons, shall present all motions to the body, and shall be present at 90% of the CORE meetings.

3. CORE shall elect a Vice President.

a. The Vice President's duties shall be to preside at all meetings and functions that the President cannot attend and remain current on all CORE business.

b. The Vice President shall act as parliamentarian in charge of all rule observances at stated meetings, protocol, etc.

4. CORE shall elect a Secretary.

a. The Secretary shall keep the official minutes of all CORE meetings and regularly report them to the membership.

5. CORE shall elect a Treasurer.

a. The Treasurer shall handle all dues, maintain and regularly report on the status of all accounts, and keep an accurate roll of all CORE members.

Article V - Operations

1. Voting Eligibility

a. Those members meeting all requirements of active membership as set forth in Article III and in attendance at any meeting where a vote is taken, will be granted voting privileges.

2. Election Process

a. Elections shall be held at the CORE Annual Membership Meeting in September of each year.

b. All officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the eligible voting members of CORE in attendance at the CORE meeting designated as an election meeting.

c. All persons must give consent for their names to be placed in nomination and attest to their willingness to serve if elected.

d. The President will take nominations from the floor, the nomination process must be closed and the movement seconded. The nominated parties will be allowed to vote.

e. All voting shall be done by secret ballot to be collected and tabulated by the Secretary and one voting member of CORE to be selected by the CORE Advisory Board.

f. The election results shall be reported to the CORE membership by the Secretary within forty-eight hours of the election.

3. Term of Office

a. The term of office shall be for a period of no longer than two years.

b. All officers may succeed themselves if so elected by the membership.

4. Meetings

a. All meetings will occur at a time and place to be designated by the CORE Advisory Board and will follow the general procedure set forth below:

i. Attendance ii. Report by the President iii. Committee Reports iv. Vote on all Committee motions/decisions v. Any other Business vi. Dismissal by the President

b. There shall be a minimum of four (4) meetings per year.

c. The CORE Annual Membership Meeting shall be held in September of each year.

d. Committee Chairs may call meetings of their committee as needed.

Article VI - Finances

CORE will finance the activities it engages in by the following means:

1. Contributions

2. Special projects or events organized by the CORE Advisory Board.

Article VII - Amending the Constitution

This constitution is binding to all members of CORE. But the constitution is not binding unto itself.

1. Amendments to the constitution must be proposed in writing to the CORE Advisory Board. Any voting member of CORE may propose an amendment.

2. These amendments will be placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of CORE and notification of the consideration of the amendment will be sent to members via the CORE E-mail Alert system.

3. Voting to ratify the proposed amendment shall take place at the second regular meeting after it has been presented to the CORE Advisory Board.

4. Proposed amendments will become effective following approval of two-thirds (66%) vote of all eligible voting members in attendance at the ratification meeting.

Article VIII - Removal of Officers

Any officer of CORE in violation of CORE's purpose or constitution may be removed from office by the following process:

1. A written request by at least five members of CORE.

2. Written notification to the officer of the request, asking the officer to be present at the next meeting and prepared to speak.

3. A two-thirds (66%) majority vote of the eligible voting members in attendance at the meeting is necessary to remove the officer.

Article IX - Adoption and Effective Date

This constitution shall become effective immediately upon adoption.


Article I - Membership

Section 1: Registration is required for CORE membership.

Section 2: There are no formal fees for CORE membership. Donations are crucial to the support of CORE's mission.

Section 3: Honorary memberships can be bestowed by a majority (51%) vote of the CORE Advisory Board.

Article II - Notification of Meetings

Section 1: It will be the duty of the Secretary to send notices of regular or called meetings to members at least two weeks prior to the date of the meeting.

Article III - E-mail Lists

Section 1: CORE shall maintain a contact list (database) of those who wish to be informed of CORE activities, etc.

a. Access to the CORE database shall be limited to:

i. The author of the database ii. The CORE President iii. The CORE Secretary iv. The CORE Treasurer v. The person designated by a majority vote of the CORE Advisory Board to send official CORE Alerts.

Section 2: CORE shall establish an E-mail Alert System for the purposes of quickly disseminating CORE information.

a. The CORE Advisory Board shall, by a majority vote, designate a CORE member as the person responsible for sending all official CORE E-mail Alerts.

i. Only official releases approved by a majority of the CORE Advisory Board shall be sent via the E-mail Alert System.

ii. CORE ALERT shall be included in the subject line of all official releases.

Section 3: The database shall be maintained by a CORE member designated by a majority vote of the CORE Advisory Board.

Section 4: The Treasurer shall forward, in a timely manner, lists of all new CORE members so that they may be included on the CORE Contact List.

Article IV - CORE Website

Section 1: CORE shall maintain an Internet website.

a. The CORE Advisory Board shall, by a majority vote (51%), designate a CORE member as the person responsible for managing and maintaining the CORE website.

b. Any information posted on the CORE website shall be approved by a majority vote (51%) of the CORE Advisory Board before it is published.

c. The CORE website may be updated as directed by the CORE Advisory Board but shall, at a minimum, be updated quarterly.

d. The cost of maintaining the CORE website shall be paid from the CORE general fund.

Article VI - Amending the Bylaws

1. Amendments to the bylaws must be proposed in writing to the CORE Advisory Board. Any voting member of CORE may propose an amendment.

2. These amendments will be placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of CORE and notification of the consideration of the amendment will be sent to members via the CORE E-mail Alert system.

3. Voting to ratify the amendment shall take place at the second regular meeting after it has been presented to the CORE Advisory Board.

4. Proposed amendments will become effective following approval of majority (51%) of the vote of all eligible voting members in attendance at the ratification meeting.

[Note: Not sure why there is no Article V under Bylaws. Oversight or some other reason. KBB]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

FLASHBACK -- 3 years ago -- Secrecy Still Prevailed @ STRS Despite The Sacrificial Lamb Departure and following commentary

"The board was giving poor directions. It needs to look deeper than the executive director." (Senator Wachtmann) He called Dyer “the sacrificial lamb."
Date: August 14, 2003, Canton Repository

STRS board won’t reveal names of candidates for board seat
By PAUL E. KOSTYU Copley Columbus Bureau chief

COLUMBUS — The State Teachers Retirement System plans to keep secret the names of people who have applied for a board seat that’s been open since July 1.

One lawmaker says that’s a mistake.

After telling the Ohio Retirement Study Council on Wednesday that the pension fund intends to communicate better and more openly with its 413,219 members, board Chairwoman Deborah Scott refused to comment about who has applied to be on the board.

Damon Asbury, interim director of the public pension fund for teachers, also said the board only will release the names of finalists once the current board decides who they are. Those names will be released Friday.

The deadline to apply for the board seat is today. Each member of the board can nominate a person as a finalist. Thus, there could be as many as eight candidates or as few as one.

Asbury said none of the names of those who are not finalists will be released.

John Lazares, superintendent of the Warren County Educational Service Center, has made no secret of his candidacy for the seat. He said he didn’t think the STRS board can keep the names secret.

“I’m letting everybody know I’m a candidate,” he said. “They should be open about everything.”

Lazares said if the board wants to restore members’ faith in the pension fund, then it “needs to overemphasize” openness. “When you work for the public sector, what we do is public record. I don’t know what the big deal is. If I was on the board, you’d get the names.”

The board expects to name a successor to Hazel Sidaway of Plain Township — who retired from teaching and the board — by its September meeting.

Cynthia Hvizdos, the retirement system’s lawyer, said Ohio law allows the list to be withheld from members and the public. She also said Wednesday the office of Attorney General Jim Petro advised the pension system that it need not release the letters of applicants for the board seat.

Petro’s office refused to release the letter it sent the system on the subject, saying it falls under attorney-client privilege.

Copley Newspapers has been seeking the list of applicants for more than a month.

Sen. Lynn R. Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, and chairman of the study council, said he was not aware that the candidate list was not public, but said it should be. He said he would send a letter to the board Wednesday encouraging that the list be made public and asking for an immediate response.

“That strikes me as being very problematic,” Wachtmann said. “It is extraordinarily important that you have an open process. The retirees out there ought to know who is under consideration. Everybody ought to know. I don’t understand what they would be hiding from.”

“We know who’s running for governor of California,” added Aristotle L. Hutras, executive director of the study council.

Hvizdos said in a July 31 letter to Copley Newspapers that, although records of the pension fund generally are public, there are exceptions. Those include material dealing with “an individual’s personal history record, which is defined to include member records that include address, telephone, Social Security number, record of contributions and correspondence with the retirement system.”

Wachtmann responded, “We can change the law.”

Copley attorney David Marburger of Cleveland said Hvizdos is involved in “lawyer games of semantics playing.” Copley Newspapers contend the list should be made available under Ohio’s public-records law.

“We are specifically prohibited from sharing that information,” Asbury insisted. “The board has a rule and a process that they have agreed to on how the filling of Ms. Sidaway’s seat will occur. That includes that they will have the opportunity to review the letters of interest and they will be prepared to make nominations on Friday.”

Asbury confirmed that retirement system members would have no way of knowing who wanted to be on the board but was not selected. “If those rules are changed in the future, it would be handled differently,” he said.

The board is holding committee meetings today to talk about travel, picking a successor to former Executive Director Herb Dyer, spending, compensation and other issues raised by recent media reports, said Laura Ecklar, a board spokeswoman.

During Wednesday’s study council meeting,

• Scott said board members should be required to fill out evaluation forms about meetings they attend. Her comment followed a story by Copley Newspapers that board members, including Scott, rarely file reports intended to help current and future board members decide what meetings to attend.

• Wachtmann said the removal of Dyer as the pension system’s executive director was not enough. He called Dyer “the sacrificial lamb.” He added, “It doesn’t make it all better. He was acting at the direction of the board. The board was giving poor directions. It needs to look deeper than the executive director.”

Scott responded, “We need to look at changing the way we do business. The board is very committed to interacting with members.”

Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, and a council member, told Scott that “two-way communication is fundamental. It should be interactive in nature.”

You can reach Columbus Bureau Chief Paul E. Kostyu at (614) 222-8901 or e-mail:

This page was created August 14, 2003
©2004 The Repository

Note from John:
In the three years since Dyer's departure, neither the Inspector General nor a team of forensic auditors have had the opportunity to "look deeper" into the inner workings of the Dyeresque higher eschelon staff who have or are still drawing a paycheck from STRS.
A few "sacrificial lamb" misdemeanor convictions (thanks to the Ohio Ethics Commission) have come to fruition, but no felonies to date. The OEC has to turn over any potential felony evidence to the county prosecutor - they can't act on felonies - they can only refer on. Is it because no felonies were committed, no IG investigation was initiated, no forensic audit was ordered, or because of the political friendship that exists between the current Franklin County Prosecutor (Ron O'Brien) and former Board member Jim Petro. Petro WAS on the STRS Board (along with Betty Montgomery) when the Broadway Harispray tickets were distributed, the golf outings (of Chapman and Dyer) were enjoyed, and the dinners and ball games by Sidaway were attended.
Petro (earlier this year) sponsored a campaign fundraiser for Ron O'Brien in Cleveland - O'Brien soon after dropped out of the AG race as Betty Montgomery played the musical chairs game (again) and decided to run for Attorney General. I am sure that Mr. O'Brien wouldn't want to see any additional egg on the faces of Jimmy and Betty due to a lack of vigilance of the STRS operations while on their watch.
County prosecutors have been known to "trash" potential felony cases stating that there was a "lack of evidence" and they also have trashed cases while giving no reason at all. These prosecutors only have to answer to their voting electorate and the current Attorney General (Petro) - do you think the majority of voters in Franklin County have a real interest in the day-to- day activities of STRS? Now a murder or a rape - that's a different story! It's hard enough just informing the teachers of Franklin County of the STRS fiasco as the majority are just too busy ...and as far as answering to Petro....well, I'll let you ponder that one after you digest the "fundraiser" event! John

Monday, August 14, 2006

Proposed CORE constitution

Go to the CORE website to view the proposed constitution for CORE, to be voted on Sept. 14: (will post it on this blog as soon as I can get my laptop computer to a place where I can work from it; I'm out of town till Aug. 26. KBB)
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company