Friday, May 16, 2008

Photos taken at 5.15.08 CORE meeting

Top three photos: John Lazares;
Nancy Hamant;
Group: Barb Carvey, Nancy Hamant, Dave Parshall, Marie Fetters, Nancy Boomhower, Ryan Holderman







OEA and quack, quack, quack!

Duane Tron to John Curry, May 16, 2008
Subject: Re: From CORE President, Dave Parshall
[Duane's response to Dave Parshall's "Rebuttal to OEA's slanderous comments about CORE", 5/15/08]

- I am a former local president and treasurer.
- I served as a building rep for 15 years.
- The group that is irrational has been the self serving leadership at OEA.
- OEA sold us all out after we retired.
- They conspired to reduce the HC contribution down to 1% and removed the spousal subsidy for many of us after we had retired.
- The 35 year and 88% is NOT cost neutral as they alleged and they did create an environment of "haves and "have nots" among retirees. In other words, a two tier system.
- They have refused to address the inequities among Ohio's retired teachers and present a plan to offset the inequities that presently exist due to their selfish and self serving interests.
- They did hire Herb Dyer and rubber stamped the poisonous atmosphere he created at STRS.
- They have attacked us for trying to defend ourselves and our retirement from their abuse, lousy leadership, and mismanagement of OUR retirement system.
- They have been devoid of compassion and empathy for retirees who are suffering due to their callous disregard for the dignity and welfare of ALL retirees, especially those of us who retired prior to 1999.
- They have demonstrated total disregard for those they feel are no longer dues paying members of THEIR union.
- Legislators are absolutely correct about HB 315 and their contention that STRS has created enhanced benefits for newer retiring members. In fact, I am not aware of a single retirement system anywhere in the country where a retiree can get 88% of their three highest salary years when retiring at 35 years of service. Not a single plan anywhere except at STRS.
Do I respect the leadership at OEA? NO! Do I trust the leadership at OEA? NO! Do I support the leadership at OEA? NO! Will I support the current OEA leadership in anything? NO! Will I support any move to get rid of OEA and render them irrelevant? YES!
OEA's criticism of CORE is nothing but a smokescreen to deflect criticism away from THEIR failed policies and lack of leadership in doing what's right, and in the best interest of ALL retirees! Will I continue to attack OEA? YES! Will I continue to provide proof of their self serving behaviors and arrogance toward older retirees? YES!
My personal take? The present leadership at OEA makes President Bush look like a truly kind, compassionate, considerate, and caring president! This is a really profound statement and indictment as to who they are, what they are, and what they honestly represent! Dave is correct! They can't stand the truth because it hurts their fragile and big egos, and shows them for what they really are! If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has large web feet, waddles like a duck, has feathers, and lays eggs; it is an overwhelmingly fact that it is a DUCK! They are what they are and they can blame CORE and try and deflect criticism away from themselves but all I can say is quack, quack!
I want OEA to know that I am not, and have never been, officially a member of CORE. I have supported CORE on many issues on behalf of retirees but have NEVER been a member, so that shoots the heck out of their contention that ALL of the criticism directed toward OEA has originated from CORE! Sorry guys! It just ain't so!!
Duane Tron

Labels: , , , , ,

A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.
............~ Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987)

From STRS: Recap of May 2008 Board meeting

From STRS, May 16, 2008
Subject: [News] April Board News Details Retirement Board Actions and Discussions
This week, the State Teachers Retirement Board held its monthly meeting. Following the regularly scheduled meetings, a report titled "Board News" is posted on the STRS Ohio Web site, as well as mailed to a number of members and education organization representatives who have requested it. As a member of STRS Ohio with an e-mail address on file, you will also receive this report each month. The April report follows.
MYERS WINS 2008 ELECTION Tim Myers was elected to the Retirement Board to fill the contributing member seat being vacated by John Lazares. He will take his seat on the board on Sept. 1, 2008, and serve a four-year term through Aug. 31, 2012. He has been with Elida Local Schools for 26 years, where he provides computer training for middle school students. Before going to Elida, he was a special education teacher in Columbus Grove Local Schools for one year.
BOARD REVIEWS ENROLLMENT AND COST TRENDS AFFECTING HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS At the Retirement Board's May 2008 meeting, STRS Ohio staff presented an overview of the various factors that affect the premiums STRS Ohio members pay for health care coverage under the Aetna and Medical Mutual plans. The majority of STRS Ohio Health Care Program enrollees are enrolled in the self-insured Plus or Basic Plans offered through these plan administrators.
As noted in previous discussions with the board, the factors that affect health care costs nationwide also affect STRS Ohio's members. Escalating health care premiums, along with accompanying higher out-of-pocket expenses, are a national issue facing all Americans. The overall national medical and drug trends continue to outpace the CPI (Consumer Price Index). For retirees, these trend rates typically increase by 10% to 12% each year.
Contributing to these high trend rates is the continuing introduction of new medical technologies, high cost services and drugs, and the defensive practice of medicine (i.e., the extensive use of testing to avoid malpractice litigation). Biomedical and specialty drugs, such as oral cancer medications, in particular are exponentially adding to costs. Year-over-year cost increases are projected to be 20% to 30% for these types of medicines. For STRS Ohio, these drugs could increase to 25% from 10% of the total amount spent on prescription drugs in just the next two to three years.
STRS Ohio's health care costs are also driven by increasing utilization and escalating adverse selection, particularly among non-Medicare spouses. Unfortunately, it is difficult to moderate premium increases significantly without making major changes in health care coverage. For example, to reduce a 30-year benefit recipient's premiums by just $1 per month requires more than $5 million in annual health care plan cost reductions.
In June, STRS Ohio staff will present proposed premiums for all of its health care plans for calendar year 2009. Longer term, the Retirement Board and staff will be looking at future changes to manage health care cost trend rates in the context of a strategic planning process that will begin this fall. At that time, one of the focal points will be possible changes that can attract and retain healthy enrollees through plans that are aligned with the marketplace and create and maintain healthy risk pools.
RETIREMENT, INVESTMENT TRANSACTIONS APPROVED The Retirement Board approved the following retirements and investment transactions:
• 118 active members were approved for service retirement; 84 inactive retirements were approved.
• In April, fixed-income purchases totaled $589 million, real estate purchases totaled $54.6 million and STRS Ohio withdrew approximately $140 million from domestic equities.
STRS OHIO'S PROPOSED BUDGETS PRESENTED AT ORSC MEETING STRS Ohio's proposed budgets for fiscal year 2009 were submitted to the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) on April 21 in accordance with Section 3307.041, Revised Code. STRS Ohio staff held preliminary meetings with several ORSC members to answer any routine questions before the formal budget presentation at ORSC's May 14 meeting by Robert Slater, STRS Ohio's chief financial officer. At that meeting, only a few questions were asked by the ORSC members and no recommendations for changes were made. As part of the discussion, ORSC member Dale Van Vyven asked about the savings that result from STRS Ohio's internal management of investment assets instead of using outside money managers. Mr. Slater indicated that CEM studies show the savings total about $80 million annually. Mr. Van Vyven indicated he thought this was an important point to highlight.
In other business, a report by the five systems on their experience with the Iran/Sudan divestiture policies was noted and a written response was provided to each member of the ORSC. As of March 31, 2008, the market value of STRS Ohio investments in "restricted list" companies has been reduced by 23.21% from the June 30, 2007, program start date. This is due primarily to less dollars invested in companies on the restricted list, plus some decline in market value.
STAFF RECOMMENDS EXTENSION OF NRS CONTRACT Nationwide Retirement Solutions, Inc. (NRS) has been providing administrative and record-keeping services for STRS Ohio members' defined contribution accounts since 2001. STRS Ohio staff recommends extending the contract with NRS for five years at a proposed 17% reduction in costs, based on current defined contribution plan participation. There was no objection voiced to this recommendation.
MEDICARE PART B COORDINATION OF BENEFITS AT RETAIL PHARMACIES AVAILABLE TO STRS OHIO MEMBERS ON JULY 1 Under Express Scripts (ESI), the STRS Ohio prescription drug program currently has coordination of benefits (COB) for certain Medicare Part B-covered medications dispensed through the home delivery service provided by NationsHealth. NationsHealth is a Medicare-approved mail-order pharmacy that is authorized to dispense Part B medications and bill Medicare accordingly. With the growth in Medicare Part D plans, coordinating Part B drugs at retail pharmacies has also now become feasible.
Effective July 1, 2008, STRS Ohio's prescription drug program administered through ESI will begin Part B coordination of benefits at retail pharmacies. Medicare Part B-covered medications dispensed at retail pharmacies will require submission to Medicare for payment before STRS Ohio's prescription coverage will pay as secondary. Since Medicare will be the primary payer for these medications, drug expenses charged to the Health Care Stabilization Fund will be reduced. Additionally, enrollees may experience cost savings because, once claims coordination occurs, enrollees will pay the lesser of: (1) the 20% Medicare coinsurance or (2) the applicable copayment. While more than 90% of retail pharmacies are Medicare approved, some enrollees will need to change pharmacies to receive their Medicare benefit. Communication materials will be mailed to Medicare enrollees in June to advise them of this change and the steps they need to take to maximize their prescription drug coverage.

STRS May 2008 Board meeting: May 14, 15, 16

From STRS, May 7, 2008
The State Teachers Retirement Board and Committee meetings currently scheduled at the STRS Ohio offices, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, are as follows:
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
...10 a.m. Disability Review Panel (Executive Session)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
...9 a.m. Audit Committee Meeting
...10 a.m. Retirement Board Meeting
...Ad Hoc Committee for Retreat Review
Friday, May 16, 2008
...9 a.m. Resumption of the Retirement Board Meeting
The Audit Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 15, in the Hearing Room. The Retirement Board meeting will come to order at 10 a.m. and begin with a report from the Member Benefits Department regarding health care. The Executive Director's Report is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., followed by public participation. A meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee for Retreat Review will be held when the Retirement Board meeting recesses. The Retirement Board meeting will resume at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 16. The day's agenda will begin with a report from the Investment Department followed by a report from the Information Technology Services Department, routine matters and any other issues that require the Board's attention.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A new domain name for WCRTA

From Ryan Holderman, May 15, 2008
WCRTA's new domain name!
Dear One & All:
WCRTA now owns the domain name: so you can also access our new website using this address:
It's a bit easier to remember than
Give it a try and let us know what you think of the new site.
Molly Ganz & Ryan Holderman

Duane Tron re: cost of healthcare increase for the "average family" this year

Duane Tron to John Curry, May 15, 2008
Subject: Re: How much will the cost of healthcare increase for the "average family this year?"
Amazing? They indicate that in 2007 a family plan for four cost $14,500.00 and yet we are paying $10,200.00 for a family of two in 2008. Granted they are going to say it is due to our older age! That is a bunch of baloney as I know some of the most expensive medical bills are incurred by families with children. I had my tonsils removed as a child. That was paid for by my father's health insurance. I fell on a milk bottle that exploded and had surgery on my chin, mouth, and face. Insurance. I was accidentally pushed through a plate glass door in high school while horsing around and that was paid for by insurance (big bucks). I was hospitalized with bronchial pneumonia and that was paid for by insurance. I broke my nose twice and broke ribs. That was paid for by insurance! I suffered two ingrown toenails. Yep! Paid for by insurance. Wound up with blood poisoning in my right leg. You guessed! Paid for by insurance. Played in a couple of intramural softball leagues between the ages of 25 and 40. Tore my Achilles in my right ankle, blew out a bicep, suffered a concussion, and separated a shoulder. All paid for by insurance! You know back in the days when insurance costs due to younger age are lower than older age.
Let's see in 1994 underwent colon rectal surgery due to job related stress. In 1985 spent time in the hospital due to smoke inhalation and heat stroke from fighting a house fire. In 1995 fell on the ice and destroyed my right hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. Total cost at the age of 51 from a fall? A cool $125,000.00. You know in that age range when insurance costs are much lower than for us old people! John, age has nothing to do with insurance costs as a whole! During the past 43 years my wife has been hospitalized twice. Once to have our daughter and once for a hysterectomy. That's the extent of her hospital expenses during 43 years of marriage.
The insurance company has spent much less on me since I retired 12 years ago than at any time in my entire life. I have been hospitalized twice. Once for three days and once for two days. The only cost that has increased for my care since retirement is medication and that has only increased about 20% overall from what it had been. I am actually doing more to take care of myself, eating better, getting more exercise, monitoring my blood pressure and other areas of concern now than at any time in my life! I rarely drink any alcohol (an occasional glass of beer or wine with a meal)! I don't smoke cigarettes and haven't for over 35 years. I have cut out almost all fried foods. I don't use sodium except for what's in the food being prepared. I drink skimmed milk, use Eggbeaters, and have reduced my bad cholesterol down to less than 40 count total. I have cut my intake of red meats and increased my diet of vegetables, nuts and fruits. Do we receive any discount or reduction for healthy lifestyles? NO!
Most of these costs are the same crap we're getting from the oil and gas companies and others intent on destroying this country and our way of life. They invent a lot of bullshit and pass the costs on to consumers alleging the need for the increases due to increased costs. The increased costs aren't being driven by consumers but are being driven by greedy people who want to make as much money as they can while spending as little as they can! And they are doing this at the expense of average Americans and for their personal gain.
I studied statistics at the graduate level and am very good with using them. I know how to use statistics and make them say anything I want them to say. I know how to work the numbers to make any situation look bleak. This is what the health insurance companies, oil companies, pharmaceutical companies and all of the rest have been doing for the past 20 years. They just spread the numbers out to say what they want and then they lie, and lie, and lie about what's happening. Note, they always point to statistics, supply and demand, the markets, shortages, price increases, etc. As I said, most of the huge price increases are linked to creating excessive profits by using false and bogus statistics. My take for what it's worth!
From John Curry, May 15, 2008
Subject: How much will the cost of healthcare increase for the "average family this year?"
Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report
Health Care Marketplace | Average 2008 Employee Out-of-Pocket Costs for Family Health Care To Increase 10.5%, According to Milliman Index [May 15, 2008] The cost of health care for the average U.S. family with employer-sponsored health coverage will increase 7.6% this year, due in part to rising prescription drug prices, according to a Milliman study released on Wednesday, Dow Jones reports. The fifth annual Milliman Medical Index analyzed historical claims data and trends in provider contracting and examined the drivers and components of medical spending. According to the study, the cost of medical services, including premiums, will increase by $1,109, from $14,500 in 2007 to $15,609 in 2008 for an average family of four enrolled in an employer-sponsored PPO.
The study also found that the cost of pharmacy services is expected to increase by 10.6% to $2,302, compared with single-digit increases for physician services, inpatient and outpatient care (Knight, Dow Jones, 5/14). Drug spending has slowed the past two years, according to the study. However, this year's increase is a trend that Milliman believes will continue, the Wall Street Journal reports (Fuhrmans, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 5/14).
According to the study, employers are expected to pass on more of the cost to their employees. Employers will shift around 10.5% more of the cost to workers through higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, the study found. Of the total $15,609 cost, employers will pay $9,442, while employees will spend $3,492 on premiums and $2,675 in out-of-pocket costs (Dow Jones, 5/14). In 2008, employers will pay roughly 60% of medical costs, while employees will pay 40% (Johnson, CQ HealthBeat, 5/14).
Comments According to study co-author Lorraine Mayne, a Milliman principal and consulting actuary, this is the second consecutive year employees' share of spending will increase by double digits (Dow Jones, 5/14). She added that the report is "likely to increase pressure on the next presidential administration to address health care costs" (Fuhrmans, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 5/14).
Gary Brace, Milliman principal and study co-author, said, "This is a trend we expect will continue for several years, as fewer high-volume drug patents expire," adding, "For many Americans, this rate of increase is exceeded only by fuel and certain food costs" (Dow Jones, 5/14). According to CQ HealthBeat, "The study adds to the existing gloom and doom related to medical costs as projections by federal analysts show that health spending in the United States will double by 2017" (CQ HealthBeat, 5/14).
The study's findings are available online.


Dave Parshall: Rebuttal to OEA's slanderous comments about CORE

May 15, 2008
[The remarks to which Dave responds appeared in campaign material put out by OEA at the time of the 2008 STRS Board election which ended May 5. At least one school district was given the material to distribute to teachers; perhaps all were.]
1. "...[CORE], a group of retirees who continually attack OEA."
Sometimes the truth seems to be an attack. CORE will respond when we feel that OEA is not acting in the best interest of both active and retired teachers.
2. " fact CORE pushes views that too often run contrary to the interest of active teachers, such as eliminating the 35-year retirement benefit."
The real fact is that CORE has never suggested that the 35-year benefit be repealed. What is true is that this needs to be further studied because it was based on actuarial assumptions that have been proven to be untrue. It is also true that while lobbying for HB 315, CORE found that a number of the members of the House brought it up and referred to it as "enhanced benefits," stating or implying that they could not sell HB 315 to their constituents who will never have such lavish pensions. We now have a two tier retirement system with those who have very good pensions while 36,000 retirees with 30 years or more of service earn $30,000 or less and many earn $20,000 or less. Even knowing all this, CORE has not called for the repeal of the 35-year enhancement. We are the only ones speaking for those who have no voice.
3. "Some in CORE claim that electing an OEA member would give OEA control of the STRS Board."
This also is not true. CORE knows full well this current election would not give OEA control of the Board. But we also know that this is the long term goal of OEA. It was in the past.
4. "More importantly, Board members serve as individuals and have a fiduciary responsibility to represent all members of the system, not just one organization."
It is great to hear OEA state this. If they had only followed this in the past, there would have been no need for Dennis Leone's landmark report exposing the many problems at STRS by an OEA-dominated rubber stamp board. If you don't know or learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. CORE hopes to prevent this. The sad reality is there should be no need for CORE. OEA and ORTA let us all down in the past. We hope they have learned from this because CORE sure has.
5. "CORE's attacks on OEA are viscous [sic; 'vicious' intended?], unfounded and irrational. They seem to blame every problem -- from the rising cost of health care (a national crisis) to downturn in the economy -- on the union."
Once again the truth can seem like attacks when you don't want to hear it. Many of our CORE members helped build OEA across the state in the 60s and 70s and beyond. We fought the hard battles of representation and unification with NEA and were some of the first negotiators trained by OEA. We preceded even the Uni-Serv Unit movement. Many of us served as presidents and officers of our locals for years. We were just shocked at what we discovered about OEA and the problems we found at STRS after retirement and the lies we were told. Have you forgotten Herb Dyer? Actives, wake up! All educators, actives and retirees, need to stand together.
About the current health care crisis, OEA has never answered the question about why they opposed the legislation that the legislature porposed to fix the STRS healthcarre problem back in 1992. They chose to push it off to the future. Why? Now look at the mess we are facing. STRS retirees don't have time to wait for national single payer plan. This could take ten years, even if we can change Washington in '08. Finally, many of our members are still life members of OEA and ORTA. We support many of the causes that OEA fights for Ohio educators. We would love to get back to our "golden years" and tell you that everything is fine, but sadly, at this point we can't. Many of us are too busy cutting pills to save money.
Dave Parshall, President
Concerned Ohio Retired Educators (CORE)

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Do you see a pattern here?

From John Curry, May 15, 2008
Subject: I think I see a "pattern"....see if you can! A little oversight of Ohio Charters(schools) Gone Wild!

Kudos to the following Ohio Legislators who are trying to get more badly needed oversight on Ohio's charter schools. Below are listed four bills (three in the Senate/one in the House) and their sponsors and co-sponsors. Public school educators should be thankful for these legislators who are trying to get a handle on the lack of accountability currently exhibited by Ohio's charter schools. The link below each bill will take you to our Ohio Legislative website where you can read each entire bill.
Senate Bill 331 (Community School Evaluations)
Sponsor: Roberts(D)
Co-Sponsors: Fedor(D), Miller, D.(D), Morano(D), Sawyer(D), Miller, R.(D)
Senate Bill 332 (Public Records it pertains to charter schools)
Sponsor: Roberts(D)
Co-Sponsors: Fedor(D), Miller, D.(D), Morano(D), Sawyer(D), Miller, R.(D)
Senate Bill 333 (Sale of public school property to charter schools)
Sponsor: Roberts(D)
Co-Sponsors: Fedor(D), Miller, D.(D), Morano(D), Sawyer(D), Miller, R.(D)
House Bill 552 (The cap on start-up community schools)
Sponsor: Luckie(D)
Co-Sponsors: Yates(D), Foley(D), Williams, B.(D), Okey(D), Yuko(D), Brady(D), Szollosi(D), Koziura(D), Skindell(D), Strahorn(D)
Now, about that "pattern"....if you still haven't discovered it...drop me an email and I'll gladly supply some help!
John Lazares to address CORE at
May 15, 2008 meeting.

Next CORE meeting May 15

• CORE meeting Thursday, May 15, 2008
11:45 a.m., 2nd floor of STRS building, cafeteria room behind the Sublett Room
Send agenda items to John Curry ( by May 13
Free parking in STRS parking garage
Map/directions to STRS, 275 E. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43215
CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators) will hold its May meeting on Thursday, May 15th at the STRS Building at 275 East Broad Street in Columbus. Parking is free in the STRS parking garage behind the building. We encourage you to also attend the STRS meeting which usually begins around 9:00 a.m. on Thursday in the meeting room on the 6th floor. CORE meeting attendees usually leave the STRS meeting around 11:30 in order to go to the cafeteria on the 2nd floor to get our lunches. We then take our lunches to the small cafeteria room behind the Sublett Room on the 2nd floor of the STRS building where the CORE meeting will begin promptly at 11:45.
In response to suggestions from our supporters, CORE is calling for input for agenda items for this May 15th meeting. Please send any agenda items you would like discussed to the sender of this email, John Curry ( John has kindly agreed to send your suggestions to the CORE President, Dave Parshall. In order to have an agenda in place and printed for the meeting, please send your item no later than Tuesday, May 13th. Agenda items which are sent after May 13th will be held over to the June CORE meeting.
Dan Vincent is the CORE endorsed candidate for the active educator seat on the STRS Board replacing John Lazares. We will be discussing the election results which are due to be announced by May 10th prior to our CORE meeting.
At the April CORE meeting, we had ten people who volunteered to be trustees of CORE for the next two year term commencing in Sept. of 2008 at our Annual Membership Meeting. It is important that we have good attendance at our May 15th meeting as we will be making decisions regarding officers, the future of CORE, and the rebuilding campaign for CORE’s treasury. PLAN TO ATTEND AND BRING YOUR QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR CORE. We need to set clear objectives for the future so we need your voice. Our supply of yellow CORE pamphlets is almost diminished so we will be asking for suggestions for making the pamphlet even better. IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND FOR THE DAY, AT LEAST PLAN TO ATTEND THE CORE MEETING FOR LUNCH AT 11:45.
You can't send a duck to eagle school."
...........~ Mac Anderson, 2007

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
..........~ Baron John Acton in 1887

RH Jones: GOP has failed retired educators

From RH Jones, May 14, 2008
Subject: Re: Some good news fellow Dems!
To John, Kathie and all:
A few days ago I wrote a message extremely critical of the GOP. And a few weeks ago, I wrote a message of some praise about the party because I thought that they were working with Dems to get HB 315 passed. I thought that there was beginning to be a new time of cooperation on matters of moving Ohio forward. This has not been the case. The majority party in the Ohio legislature (the GOP) has failed retired educators. They have sent that wonderful bill to a committee (the FIRES) committee that is just sitting on it. The bill has not even been mentioned in reports of legislative activity. However, both parties certainly moved together extremely quickly to try to rid Ohio of, in my opinion, an effective attorney general.
RHJones, an Ohio citizen and voter

RH Jones: Where is an Ad Hoc?

From RH Jones, May 14, 2008
Subject: Where is an Ad Hoc?
To all:
Dr. Fluke, the Legislative Chair of the SummitCRTA and me (who is a member of his CMTE) has been often asked: “Where’s an Ad Hoc?” As in: “Where’s the beef”, there is none -- You certainly must remember the elderly lady proclaiming that in the hamburger wars of a few years ago. However, many retired educators do have a “beef” in not having ever seen an Ad Hoc increase to adjust their pensions. This has been many years overdue from the legislators.
Concerning the national economic tax rebate, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants found that with retirees, they are apt to spend the rebate to help stimulate the national economy. That being a fact, it seems to me that an Ad Hoc increase for Ohio educators would help stimulate Ohio’s economy. Here are some related facts: Gasoline is $3.95 at a nearby Norton, Ohio BP station. Groceries and utilities, other necessities such as doctor visits, prescriptions filled, and taxes need to be paid from ever shrinking purchasing power for retired teachers. This is a daunting challenge to our living standards in our “Golden Years”. To save the political futures of Ohio’s legislators, the time is now for the Ad Hoc legislature to act is now. This increase will go into stimulating forward movement in Ohio. We will spend the money. And seeing this “make up”, active and retired teachers will feel better about their future retirement. Combined we number nearly ½ million. Counting family, you can double or triple that number.
This is the opinion of one of the many retired educators,
RHJones, a multi-union member

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

STRS FIFTH ANNIVERSARY FLASHBACK -- The Day the Whistle Blew -- May 16, 2003

From John Curry, May 13, 2008
Subject: ***STRS FIFTH ANNIVERSARY FLASHBACK - The Day the Whistle Blew - May 16, 2003***
It just seems like least to this STRS retiree. Five years ago a Chillicothe Schools Superintendent, Dr. Dennis Leone (with the assistance of current STRS Board member Mr. John Lazares, a current STRS Board member and a school superintendent), compiled and presented a disturbingly revealing report to the STRS Board. This report (included below), the results of several months of their own investigation of Ohio STRS, laid out a pattern of misspending, mismanagement, and an entitlement mentality that had been festering for years inside a 93 million dollar glass, marble, and stainless steel adorned facility located at 275 East Broad Street in Columbus, OH.
On that day, in the background and just feet away from where Dr. Leone stood, rested a bi-metal sculpture ironically entitled "Integrity." A sculpture that was recently purchased, with STRS stakeholders' monies ($100,000), that had these words ironically inscribed on a nearby plaque:
... 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 benefits recipients alike. The spiraling shape captures the boundless energy and strength that characterizes the system's mission and vision.
Since the issuance of this report, Dr. Leone and Mr. John Lazares, now as STRS Board members, continued on in their quest for reform at one of the largest public teachers' pension funds in our country. They continued and are continuing their quest for not only the benefits of both the hundreds of thousands of active and retired educators but also out of respect for and dedication to a then little-known section of the Ohio Revised particular, Section 3307.15. A section which reads, in part:
"The members of the state teachers retirement board shall be the trustees of the funds created by section 3307.14 of the Revised Code. The board shall have full power to invest the funds. The board and other fiduciaries shall discharge their duties with respect to the funds solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries; for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to participants and their beneficiaries and defraying reasonable expenses of administering the system; with care, skill, prudence, and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent person acting in a like capacity and familiar with these matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims; and by diversifying the investments of the system so as to minimize the risk of large losses, unless under the circumstances it is clearly prudent not to do so."
To Dr. Leone and Mr. John Lazares... this retiree wishes to thank them for their continuing steadfast dedication and service to all stakeholders of STRS Ohio and, more importantly, to their continuing dedication to the reform of an organization that once was widely known as the "Cadillac of retirement systems." Your detractors on the Board and at the Ohio Education Association couldn't and still can't "hold a candle" to your wisdom and leadership. It's too bad that all active educators and retirees can't take the time to see what has really transpired and is transpiring within a retirement system that is, in fact, their life-blood.
John Curry
Retired educator
May 16, 2003
MEMO TO: All STRS Board Members
Herb Dyer, STRS Executive Director
FROM: Dennis Leone, Superintendent, Chillicothe City Schools
SUBJECT: STRS Organizational Matters and Spending Practices
Over the past three months, I have studied information supplied to me by STRS staff in an attempt to better understand issues that have received considerable news media attention recently. It also has been my desire to learn the truth about numerous STRS financial issues that have been on the minds of many STRS active members, retired members, and employers. I have reached the following conclusions:
1. Membership Issues: According to the STRS Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2002, STRS has 424,171 total individual members. This includes 178,557 active members, 105,300 retired members, 15,730 re-employed retirees, 106,746 inactive members (eligible for refunds only), and 17,838 terminated members (eligible to receive a benefit at some point in the future). There also are 944 employers that send their portion of retirement contributions to STRS. The bulk of these (899) are school boards that represent public school districts, county ESCs, vocational schools, MRDD boards, and community schools - all of which have contributed 14% of every employee's annual salary to STRS since January of 1984.
CONCLUSION: The make-up of the current 9-member STRS Board really is not representative of its membership. Only one member of the Board represents retirees and no one represents the 944 employers that make the very existence of STRS possible. It would seem that the Ohio School Boards Association should either have a seat on the STRS Board or some official role in the STRS decision-making process. The 944 employers send more dollars to STRS than all active members combined, and therefore they need to have direct involvement and a voice in how the millions they send in are spent. Retirees, likewise, are under-represented and feel taken for granted.
2. Declining Assets: To set the record straight, STRS assets peaked on August 31, 2000 at $58.7 billion. Assets dropped significantly over the next 2 years - hitting a low of $41.6 billion on September 30, 2002 -- before rebounding slightly six months later to $42.4 billion on March 30, 2003. The net $16.3 billion drop in assets between 8-31-00 and 3-30-03 represents a loss in assets for STRS over the 2-year period. Enron stock started declining continuously in the summer of 2001, prior to the September 11 tragedy. Unfortunately, nationally recognized external investment consultants utilized by STRS -- some of which had been quite helpful is assisting STRS, benefit from the stock market in the past -- provided bad advice in this instance. Before STRS finally ceased buying Enron shares in late November of 2001, $66 million was lost. The Columbus Dispatch reported on April 18, 2003, that STRS "underperformed" most pension funds nationally in 2002 in the area of investments. The report, based on a national study conducted by Milliman USA, stated that the median loss in investment revenue for public employee retirement systems nationally in 2002 was 8%. The loss at STRS, however, was 11.6%.
CONCLUSION: Mr. Stephan Mitchell has served STRS for the past 30 years, the last 20 of which have been as Deputy Executive Director in charge of investments. It has been published that STRS employs twice as many investment specialists as PERS (even though PERS has greater assets). Mr. Mitchell also has acknowledged that STRS has the largest investment staff of any teacher retirement system in the nation. While the investment returns at STRS have not been good over the past 3 years, and while some argue that STRS should have had a "stop loss" provision in place to prevent the huge losses experienced in the Enron fiasco, STRS investments were quite successful prior to 2000. Mr. Mitchell has had a good track record at STRS and retired members have benefited greatly from the productive investments by his department. Due to the collapse of Enron and other corporations, STRS needs to reassess its policies and practices for investing the membership's money to help ensure that investments are better protected. Even if stock market advice received is normally reliable, it seems there needs to be greater consideration for the use of "stop loss" orders to trigger an investment pull-out at a certain point after the stock has declined (to protect prior gains and/or minimize continued losses).
3. Staffing and Administrative Expenses: According to the STRS Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, administrative expenses climbed at STRS 17.4% per year during the 6-year period between 1996 and 2002. (Administrative expenses include such things as salaries and benefits of STRS employees, legal services, travel, supplies, printing, computer services, etc.) The Columbus Dispatch reported on November 3, 2002 that in the specific area of salaries, STRS costs went up 26% in one year alone between 2000 and 2001. During the same one year time period, the Dispatch reported that total administrative expenses at STRS went up 25%. During the 6-year period between 1996 and 2002 - according to data supplied by STRS staff - the number of people employed at STRS rose from 414 to 725, an increase of 12.5% per year. In a letter dated February 28,2003 from STRS Executive Director Herb Dyer to the Ohio Retirement Study Council, Mr. Dyer wrote that 137 new employees were added in 2001 alone, and 69 of those were in administration.
CONCLUSION: While it is true that a number of new employees were needed to staff the new STRS headquarters in the areas of security, information technology, and various membership services, it is hard to accept these types of increases at a time when the total assets at STRS have plummeted a staggering 28% ($16.3 billion). When the school boards that send dollars to STRS experience declining assets on the home front, they do things like freezing salaries, cutting supplies, laying off employees, and even closing schools. In a nutshell, they reduce expenses by instituting cost-cutting measures. The STRS Board and administration have not satisfactorily demonstrated that they have reduced costs in their "house." While the administration is to be commended for reducing the total number of STRS employees in recent months to 707 (after peaking at 735 in February of 2003), much more needs to be done. To begin with, there needs to be a shift in what the STRS Board considers as priorities. The Board currently is not in touch with the managerial principles and fiscal realities from which their members and employers must operate under in order to survive. The STRS Board and administration are living a professional lifestyle that is completely foreign to their own membership. They need to emulate their membership. They need to set an example, and show they understand how it important it is to do so. This situation must change.
4. Costs Associated With New STRS Headquarters: A STRS summary of construction costs for the new and renovated building that opened in September of 2001 shows that a total of $94.2 million was spent. Included in this very nice facility is a fitness center for STRS employees that the staff estimates cost $426,000, and a child care center for STRS employees that the staff estimates cost $818,000. Also included in the cost for the new building was $869.235 for sculptures, artwork, and polished stones. One sculpture cost $378,500, another cost $168,125, another cost $112,500 and yet another cost $100,000.
CONCLUSION: The membership of STRS is NOT sending in a portion of their annual salaries to enable the Board and the administration to spend an incredible $869,235 on sculptures, artwork and polished stones. The new STRS building is not a museum, is it? It is outrageous that these purchases were allowed to occur. There is simply no acceptable answer for it. The need for the new STRS building to have a costly fitness center and a child care center is a subject for debate. What is not a subject of debate is that there are substantial annual STRS operating costs associated with the child care center. When Board members have been asked about the child care center at regional meetings, some have implied that the operating costs for the child care center are covered by the fees that are charged to the users in the STRS building. While it is true that fees are charged, they only covered 46.6% of the total child care center operating costs in 2002 -- according to data supplied by STRS staff. The other 53.4% of the operating costs associated with operating the child care center in 2002 -- according to data supplied by STRS staff -- is picked up by STRS. And how much did this cost in 2002? The STRS Board offered up $487,560 to operate the child care center. STRS members and their employers do NOT pay their required retirement contributions so the STRS Board can annually pick up 53.4 % of the operating costs of a child care center for STRS staff members. If Latch Key programs operated by school districts do not pay for themselves through fees, then they're discontinued. The $869,235 that was spent by the STRS Board on sculptures, artwork, and polished stones, and the $487,560 that was spent by the STRS Board in 2002 to operate a child care center were simply wrong. Both represent a managerial and fiscal embarrassment. The STRS Board seems to forget that their members are in a period of financial decline.
5. The 13th Check: For 21 consecutive years starting in 1981 and ending in 2001, STRS awarded a 13th check to retired members. This check was not based on prior retirement contributions of retired members or their former employers. It was based on positive STRS investment earnings each year -- earnings that occurred from the utilization of the prior contributions of retired members and the current contributions of active members. According to data supplied by both STRS and the Ohio Retirement Study Council in Columbus, the total amount awarded during this 21-year period was $711 million. If one adds the lost investment income to that amount, the total price tag for the 13th check was $1.4 billion. On December 11, 1996, a Joint House/Senate Legislative Committee of the Ohio General Assembly released its 8-month study of Ohio's public retirement plans. Included in this committee's final report was a proposal from the Ohio Retirement Study Council. It recommended that the 13th check to retired STRS members be disbanded. Despite this recommendation, the STRS Board continued to hand out the 13th check for 5 more years at a total cost of $233 million. (And this total does not include another $52 million that was lost in interest earnings during the same 5-year time period.)
CONCLUSION: While retired members deserved the 13th check as a way to help deal with inflation, some now feel that all of those dollars really should have been put into the STRS health insurance fund or in a rainy day fund. According to NEA, no other state has done anything close to what Ohio has done with its 13th check. Only four other states provide bonus checks to retirees, and all of those do so intermittently and/or only with specific legislative approval on an annual basis. It deserves noting that immediately after STRS received the recommendation in December of 1996 to disband the 13th check, literally thousands of teachers and retirees wrote to legislators and STRS Board members to voice their opposition to the proposed disbandment. In fact, OEA urged its members to write letters at that time. While the 13th check seemed like the right thing to do at the time, whether it should ever have started is now being questioned. Had STRS honored the recommendation it received in 1996 regarding this fund, the projected deficit for the STRS health insurance fund for 2004 would not be there. In fairness to STRS, what the Board did in 1996 is what some school boards and collegiate trustee boards do -- they respond to the vocal and written pressure of their constituents.
6. Cash Reimbursements for Unused Sick Leave and Vacation: Existing Board policies permit STRS employees to receive reimbursement on an annual basis for up to 9 days of unused sick leave and 9 days of unused vacation time. Employees must have a balance of at least 20 sick leave days and 5 vacation days to qualify. In 2002, according to data supplied by STRS staff, the STRS Board paid out $701,948 in sick leave reimbursements and $342,980 in vacation leave reimbursements. Collectively, this employee benefit cost the STRS budget $1,044,928.
CONCLUSIONS: How many school districts provide all full-time employees an annual cash reimbursement for unused sick leave and unused vacation leave? It would be one thing to provide such a benefit to a select few, but to provide it to all full-time employees is inconsistent with the practices of the overwhelming majority of STRS members that are employers. It is common for school districts to provide a sick leave severance check to employees when they retire. It also is common for school districts to award a small cash amount of a few hundred dollars to employees who have perfect attendance. What STRS does is not common. These two policies need to be dropped, except for perhaps a few individuals. It deserves noting that until 2002, the STRS Board paid 100% of the family health insurance premiums of employees. Last year was the first time in STRS history that employees had to pay a portion of the Board's total premium cost. The number of STRS employer members that pay 100% of their employees' family health insurance premiums is, indeed, very rare.
7. Annual Bonus Checks to STRS Employees: There are 3 major types of bonus checks that STRS administrators and investment personnel are eligible to receive on an annual basis on top of their base salary and base salary raise. Investment employees are eligible to receive two major bonus checks annually, while non-investment administrators are eligible to receive one major bonus check per year. According to data published in the STRS 2002 Staffing, Compensation, and Benefits Review, the following summarizes the total number of full-time STRS employees who received these bonus checks over just the 2000-2001-2002 three-year period:
Year/Employees Receiving Bonus/Total STRS Cost
3-Yr. Totals: 343; avg. per yr: $12,274,410
In 2002, according to data supplied by STRS staff, there were 82 STRS employees with total salaries (base salary plus bonus checks) in excess of $100,000. Thirty-three (33) STRS employees received total salaries in 2002 that were larger than the current 2003 salaries of the governor and the chief justice of the State Supreme Court. In other words, 33 STRS employees earned in excess of $155,000 in 2002. Fifteen (15) of these cleared $200,000. The following represents the distribution of bonus checks that STRS employees received in 2002:
Total Bonus Amount / Number of Employees Receiving
$10,000 - $19,999 / 55
$20,000 - $29,999 / 17
$30,000 - $39,999 / 14
$40,000 - $49,999 / 7
$50,000 - $59,999 / 2
$60,000 - $69,999 / 7
$70,000 - $79,999 / 7
$80,000 - $89,999 / 1
$90,000 - $99,999 / 3
$100,000 - $109,999 / 1
$110,000 - $119,999 / 5
$120,000 - $129,999 / 1
Total Receiving Bonuses Over $10,000: 118
In 2001, there was one investment employee who received single bonus checks of $110,000 and $68,880 on top of her base salary of $164,000. This brought her total STRS salary in 2001 to $342,880. And according to Mr. Dyer's February 28, 2003 letter to the Ohio Retirement Study Council, all investment personnel also received a 3.2% base raise in 2001.
CONCLUSION: It is almost incomprehensible that during a three-year time period when STRS total assets declined a huge 28% ($16.3 billion), the STRS Board spent $12.2 million on bonus checks for employees. The dollar amounts associated with the bonus checks are mind-blowing. For the 944 employers that send STRS employee contributions each month, the bonuses represent fantasyland finances. Who could have guessed that one STRS employee received single bonus checks in 2001 of $110,000 and $68,880 on top of her $164,000 base salary? Who would have thought that 34 STRS employees would receive bonus check totals in excess of $40,000 in 2002?
STRS Board members and administrators defend the bonus checks awarded for several reasons. First, they say, the money used for the bonuses for the investment personnel comes from a pool of dollars that was received when investment earnings were positive in years past. They say that since investment revenue has declined, money will not be available for these bonuses for very long in the future. We shall see. Secondly, and most importantly, they state firmly that the bonuses for investment personnel have been based on the employee's ability to achieve both an individual investment benchmark and a total fund investment benchmark. Under this standard, an investment employee still could receive a bonus check even if STRS assets decline, as long as the performance of the stock he/she is managing doesn't decline as much. A third reason STRS Board members and administrators defend the bonuses is they risk losing valuable employees to the private sector (where they can receive the bonuses and higher salaries). While this concern could very well be valid, it is not fair or reasonable to expect the STRS membership to accept it given the realities of the financial problems facing everyone else.
In 2002, 65 STRS administrators received bonus checks. Since they had nothing to do with the investment earnings, why did they receive the bonuses at all, given the overall decline in STRS assets? All of them received a base salary increase. While maybe there is some logic in providing a few top STRS employees some type of small bonus for exemplary work, it defies logic for bonuses to be awarded to 395 employees in 2002...and big bonuses at that. There are a lot of excellent school treasurers in Ohio who invested money very well for their school districts in the 1990's. Did any of them get big bonuses for bringing interest earnings into their school district? If any did, it was a rare circumstance and it likely was a very small bonus. Properly investing the school district's money is part of the treasurer's job. That is why they receive a base salary. The large number of bonuses STRS gives its administrators must stop immediately. Bonus checks for so many investment personnel must stop as well. It they must be given, they should go to a select few, and they should more realistically reflect the realities facing the 944 employers and the thousands of individuals who are members of STRS. On November 13, 2002, according to the STRS 2002 Staffing, Compensation and Benefits Review, a company called Buck Consultants recommended that STRS do a better job of "establishing a clear link between individual performance and overall organizational success." The consultants analyzed recent STRS practices for bonuses, and wrote:
"The absence of a direct linkage among organization-wide performance and absolute performance (versus indexed) and incentive payouts is inconsistent with best practices."
To an outsider, the above would seem to mean that if STRS is failing to show profits with its investments, employees shouldn't be receiving bonus checks. Ultimately and unfortunately, it will be the STRS Board who determines what constitutes organizational success, not the membership. Is there any wonder how a membership survey would turn out if the STRS Board took the time to ask their membership what they feel about these issues?
8. Travel-Related Expenses for STRS Board Members: According to data supplied by STRS staff, $177,009 is expected to be spent in 2003 on travel-related expenses for Board member/administrator development, training, professional seminars, and conferences, and for investment transactions, plus real estate transactions. In the three previous years, the total amounts spent were $186,116 (2000), $174,167 (2001), and $170,001 (2002). On May 31, 1995, the Cleveland Plain Dealer called into question the fact that Board members were turning in bills for trips to places like Hawaii and Palm Springs, for lodging at the nation's top hotels, for dining at expensive restaurants, and for beach bar bills. The article said that one Board member named Jack Chapman, who is a current Board member, spent $36,736 the previous year all by himself. According to the article, a planned trip by STRS Board members to China two years earlier was cancelled after the State Attorney General Office complained that such a trip would create an image of "junketeering." In recent years, while no STRS Board member has spend money like the Plain Dealer claims Jack Chapman did in 1994, Board members still spend a great deal of membership money on out-of-state travel expenses. The total travel-related expenses and the number of trips requiring airfare over the past 3 years are shown for each Board member below:
Total Expenses/Paid Number of Trips in 2000.2001. & 2002 Requiring Airfare
Hazel Sidaway $54,216.60 25
Jack Chapman $49,647.11 34
Eugene Norris $47,148.00 21
Deborah Scott $39,916.30 16
Gloria Gaylord $32,941.87 14
JoeEndry $11,727.43 7 (2 yrs.)
Rick Moore $10,437.95 10
Michael Billirakis $ 9,923.28 7
Paul Shreve $ 8,174.91 4 (2 yrs.)
CONCLUSION: While there certainly are valid reasons for Board members and administrators to attend professional seminars and be properly trained, and while the STRS membership wants to be effectively represented at real estate/investment transactions, was it really necessary for Board members to spend so much money for so many out-of-state trips over the past 3 years? The STRS Board and administration say yes. The STRS membership says no. One would think that after the Plain Dealer wrote the article in 1995 about STRS Board member expenses for out-of-state trips, and after a 28% decline in assets ($16.3 billion) since August of 2000, maybe -- just maybe -- expensive trips to places like Hawaii would cease. Not so. Board members Eugene Norris, Deborah Scott, and Hazel Sidaway spent thousands of dollars to go to Honolulu in 2000. Board members Jack Chapman and Gloria Gaylord spent thousands of dollars to go to Kiawah Island off the coast of South Carolina in 2001. Chapman liked it so much that he went back in 2002. Board members Michael Billirakis and Joe Endry spent thousands of dollars to go to Anchorage, Alaska in 2002. Perhaps, in the minds of Board members, the dollar amounts spent and the out-of-state trips taken are not excessive or exorbitant. The STRS Board just simply doesn't understand that if the boards representing the 944 employers that are members of STRS took trips like these at a time when their organization was experiencing financial difficulties and/or declining assets, they'd be run out of town. The public wouldn't stand for it. The "public" that represents STRS is the membership -- 178,557 active members, 105,300 retired members, 15,730 rehired retirees, and 944 employers.
Recommendations: The $100,000 sculpture sitting outside the STRS Board room on the 6th floor is entitled "Integrity." The inscription under the sculpture 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."
1. If the STRS Board truly believes it has the "integrity" to "provide security so highly valued by members," then NOW is the time for the Board members and the administration to have a new priority, a new focus, and a new philosophy regarding their past spending practices. No one is blaming STRS for the downturn in the nation's economy or for the national health care crisis. But when your assets have declined by a huge 28% ($16.3 billion) over just 2 years -- and you tell your membership at the same time that there's no longer enough money to pay for health insurance or an inflationary increase (the 13th check) -- you need to fully understand that:
The Board cannot spend $869,235 for sculptures, artwork, and polished stones in a new/renovated $94.2 million building.
The Board cannot increase administrative expenses 25%, increase administrative salaries 26%, and hire 69 new administrators in the same year.
The Board cannot give STRS employees annual cash reimbursements totaling $1,044,928 for portions of unused sick leave and unused vacation leave.
The Board cannot spend $487,560 per year to provide child care services for STRS employees in a center that the Board spent $818,000 to construct.
The Board cannot give 395 employees gigantic bonus checks every year (34 of them over $40,000 in 2002 alone) totaling $12.2 million over 3 years.
The Board cannot give out bonus checks, period, except to very select few, and only if STRS assets exceed the asset high that was achieved in August of 2000. What the Board has done in the immediate past is tell the retired membership that it didn't have funds for a 13th check, but then came up with the funds for its own internal 13th check -- the one that's a huge bonus increase for 395 employees.
The Board cannot take so many trips in a single year, go to places like Honolulu, Anchorage, and Kiawah Island, or allow single Board members to have 10-15 airfares and travel-related expenses totaling anything close to $36,767 in one year.
2. It is recommended that dollars currently set aside for future employees bonuses be put into the STRS health insurance fund.
3. It is recommended that you seek legislation to change the make-up of the STRS Board in such a way that there is increased representation from retired members and new representation from the 944 employers.
4. It is recommended that you lay off employees, cut costs internally, and initiate steps to reduce total administrative expenses to their Pre-August of 2000 level -- which is when the total assets at STRS started to decline.
5. It is recommended that you receive serious in-service training (at a Columbus location) from managerial experts who can help you better relate to the financial conditions currently facing your individual members and employer members, how your membership is dealing with said conditions, and how STRS can help them.
6. It is recommended that you survey your entire membership -- as corporations do with their stockholders -- specifically to see how they feel about the seven bullet points on pages 11 and 12 of this memorandum. You might be surprised at the answer.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company