Friday, July 31, 2009

Jim N. Reed: Follow-up letter to Kevin Boyce

From Jim N. Reed, July 31, 2009
Subject: Appointment of Dr. Dennis Leone to represent your office on STRS Board
Dear Treasurer Boyce,
I must admit to some disappointment in not hearing from you following my earlier e-mail contact. (I did receive an obligatory, generic response promptly but we have received that "courtesy call" before with no real intent to pursue our concerns or recommendations.)
Some of my CORE colleagues were so appreciative when an elected state official (you) responded to them in so timely a fashion when they contacted you regarding the appointment of Dr. Dennis Leone to the vacant seat on the STRS Board, a seat that by law is to be filled by an appointee of the Treasurer of The State of Ohio bringing the total composition to its legal eleven members.
I implore you to do some research on Dr. Leone and carefully examine the hardworking, understanding and sacrificial representation he has afforded Ohio's retired educators during his recently terminated four-year term.
As a 45-year public school educator and STRS stakeholder I am convinced his representation is crucial to keeping our retirement system secure for today's and tomorrow's (including my daughter and son-in-law) retirees.
Again, thank your for your diligent consideration of this critical appointment.
Jim N. Reed
Baltimore, Ohio

Thursday, July 30, 2009

John Lazares to speak August 4 in Norwood

John Lazares to speak re. STRS at Norwood (Cincinnati area)...please read this for details
On Tuesday August 4Th at 7:00pm, former STRS board member John Lazarus will be speaking to interested STRS members
( Current retirees and future retirees are welcome and need to hear the information first hand)
The meeting will be held at: Allison Elementary School (in Norwood)
4300 Allison Street ( one block west of Montgomery Rd )
Norwood Ohio 45212
Parking available on the Allison Street Playground
As most are aware, STRS is considering significant changes that will affect current and future STRS members....
The adjustments considered include:
1. reducing/ eliminating the cost of living percentage ( COLA)
2. reducing health care benefits (Members & Spouse)
3. changing the formula for determining benefits (LESS)
4. raising the number of years required before retirement
5. others TBA
This meeting is important to current retired STRS and to anyone planning to retire with STRS benefits in the future!

A reminder from Lloyd Knudsen to Mike Nehf and STRS Board: WE are the reason the system was created in the first place -- and STILL exists today

From Lloyd Knudsen, July 29, 2009
Subject: STRS COLA discussion
To Mr. Nehf and the STRS Board members:
As President of the Medina County Retired Teacher's Association (MCRTA), our Executive Committee has asked me to write to you on behalf of our 300+ members to voice our concerns with your long-term contingency planning.
Retirees can NOT AFFORD any more cuts from STRS. Please do not cut our annual, simple 3% COLA! Retiree cuts began when we lost our 13th check. For those of us retired a long time, that was a large financial annual loss. Then STRS eliminated the subsidy for spouses under our insurance coverage. That alone was a huge financial hit for many retired couples. Then, annually STRS increases our retiree insurance premiums while decreasing our insurance coverages. And now, you want to reduce or eliminate our pension COLA.
Many retirees are really hurting financially. Maybe retirees who are getting the 88% payout are living a comfortable life style but they are in the vast minority. It's sad to say, but most retirees have few, if any real financial options at this point in their life. Unless you consider working at McDonald's or Wal-Mart a viable financial option.
I urge this board to put aside those two popular misconceptions that retirees "are just living too long" and that they are STRS' "single biggest expense." Let me remind you--STRS was built by and made successful by active teachers who grew up to become retired teachers. WE ARE THE REASON THIS SYSTEM WAS CREATED AND STILL EXISTS TODAY! Please do not forget that in your deliberations.
Respectfully submitted,
Lloyd Knudsen
MCRTA President
Proud to be a 30-year Ohio retired teacher

30 year/30K...a message from CORE President Dave Parshall...."once again an STRS representative stated to the board the previous 30 year pension lie."

From Dave Parshall, July 30, 2009
More information about the data from Damon
While You Study ORTA’s Pension Data Consider the Following:
The following chart was given to CORE in November of 07 by then director of STRS Damon Asbury in response to a public records request made by CORE. The request was made after a meeting between STRS, CORE, ORTA, and OEA during which STRS stated to our face that there were no current retirees with 30 years of service credit and a pension benefit of $30.000 or less. We knew that this was a lie and made a Public Records Request. During the now infamous fall of 08 healthcare meeting aimed at selling Medicare Advantage to us to save us less than one year of the Healthcare Stabilization fund, once again an STRS representative stated to the board the previous 30 year pension lie.
After that meeting, I went up to the STRS representative and strongly suggested that either he or Damon lied to us in the public information document which of course would be illegal. He told me then that all of the pensioners with 30 years and pensions of $30,000 or less benefits were surviving spouses whose husbands or wives left them with reduced benefits. Damon also told us that a complete study of what effect the 88 % rule would have on the pension fund was being completed. Damon told us in writing that study would be completed and released by July of 08. The STRS representative told me that the 08 study was done.
After this confrontation with STRS a second public records request was made, this time with Mr. Nehf. CORE met with Mr. Nehf and received the revised data. This time there were numerous sheets with additional information and more complete data. But the bottom line is that the summary information that Damon gave us concerning the pension breakdown was accurate. However, Mr. Nehf admitted to us that there was never an additional study of the 88 % rule beyond the one done in 2004. Bob Slater in 09 announced to the STRS Board that the 88 % rule has cost the pension fund 1 billion dollars so far. This additional pension enhancement needs to end and be grandfathered out. Next week I will be sending out additional information and a plan for grandfathering any changes to our annual allowance CPI (we do not really receive a true COLA).
Dave Parshall, CORE
Click image to enlarge.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


From Mario Iacone, July 26, 2009


ACTUALITY: There is nothing to suggest the above is true except for various statements and implications by some at STRS.

To the best of my knowledge, ORSC is not telling STRS to cut COLA. That is a copout!

ORSC has listed many items that can be used to help restore the 30 Year Funding Period and COLA is just one of them.

Retirees need to contact members of ORSC to find out the truth.

I have read the ORSC reports. Nowhere have I found ORSC stating to the retirement systems that COLA must be cut.

If I am wrong, I would appreciate substantiating documentation from ORSC to prove that I am wrong.

Lloyd Knudsen: COLA Alert for all STRS retirees

From Lloyd Knudsen, July 26, 2009

CORE leaders,
Here is a COLA Alert we (Medina County RTA) have sent out to our local members about the impending COLA debate at STRS. We thought other CORE members might be interested in distributing it also and help bring some "heat" to our STRS Board members.
Lloyd Knudsen, MCRTA President
Chuck Chapman, Legislative Chairman


The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) you received from STRS in your last pension check on July 1, 2009 may be the last COLA you ever receive.

*** The STRS Board will be meeting on August 20 & 21 to decide the fate of

our retiree COLA. The Board will vote to decrease it, eliminate it entirely

or with your help and support--keep it intact!

Please write our STRS Board members and our Executive Director, Mr. Mike Nehf at STRS, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215-3771 or email them at the email addresses listed below.

WHAT TO TELL THEM: Retirees have born the brunt of most if not all the financial cuts at STRS over the last few years. Retirees lost their 13th check; retirees lost their spousal insurance subsidy; and retirees annually see their insurance premiums escalate while their insurance coverages shrink. Retirees can NOT AFFORD any more CUTS!

STRS Board member email addresses:

Dennis Leone:

Taiyia Hayden:

Craig Brooks:

Tim Myers:

Steve Puckett:

Mark Meuser:

Jeff Chapman:

Conni Ramser:

Regina Burch:

Mike Nehf (Executive Director):

Write NOW—your financial future may depend on it!

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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