Friday, August 28, 2009

Linda Meinelt to Mike Nehf and STRS Board: Current retirees have no recourse; don't touch the COLA!

From Linda Meinelt, August 27, 2009
Subject: September 1 meeting
September 1 is a very important day for STRS retirees.
We are counting on you, Mike, and the Board to make the right choice for retirees. Don't rely on repeating what you did in Georgia. Leave the COLA at 3% for current retirees.
Future retirees have time to plan for changes that will be coming their way.
Current retirees have no recourse. They have had their health costs skyrocket, their out -of-pocket costs increase substantially and the 13th check disappear.
We are asking you to look deeper into the STRS costs including personnel and building expenses to find ways to cut those costs.
Please remember your commitment is working for the good of the STRS stakeholders.
Listen to what the speakers said at the last meeting and leave the 3% COLA !
Linda Meinelt

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shirlee Zerkel: Response to Laura Ecklar

From Shirlee Zerkel, August 27, 2009
Subject: Thanks for your quick response!
Dear Ms. Ecklar:
I want to thank you for your very quick response to the email I sent to Mr. Nehf. I did check in the current STRS Ohio newsletter and it did state that the HPA was serving in an advisory capacity, but I was surprised to find them seated with the Board at the regular monthly meeting.
In your email to me you stated that the Board some months ago agreed that input from the HPA, as well as from individual members would be encouraged. I, as an individual member, would like to know what a member needs to do in order have similar input in the Board discussions. I know we have the public speaks portion of the meeting and the emails but those are one-sided; they are not discussion.
Thank you and I am looking forward to your answer,
Shirlee Zerkel
OEA-R Life member
CORE member

From the grapevine......

August 27, 2009
As reported in the March 2009 Board News following that month’s meeting, the Retirement Board agreed that input from the HPA, as well as from individual members, would be encouraged during the board’s deliberations in the coming months.
Wanna bet that if anyone tried to do this during a board meeting that they'd be told they should sign up for their three minutes during public speaks?
This is a colossal copout and Laura Ecklar should be ashamed!

Mario Iacone to STRS board: Fairness Part Two

From Mario Iacone, August 26, 2009

Dear Board Member,


Please consider fairness to all retirees in the proposals to be submitted to ORSC.

Fairness to older retirees

Fairness to recent retirees

Fairness to future retirees


OLDER and RECENT RETIREES having their pensions significantly eroded by increased Health Care costs and removal of the spousal subsidy.

Please do not allow INVESTMENT LOSSES of 2008 to further reduce pensions by reducing COLA.

Please observe that the Funding Period problem is not a result of STRS benefits, but the result of an Investment Philosophy that puts at risk the pensions of all retirees, current and future.

Click image to enlarge.

Thank You,

Mario Iacone


Shirlee Zerkel: A response from Laura Ecklar

From Shirlee Zerkel, August 26, 2009
Subject: Response to E-Mail
To all, This is the response to my question of why Leibensperger and Hanning were at the table with board a the last two meetings. Wonder where the third fellow she mentioned was. Also note that she stated that individual member can respond in the discussions. What do you think of her answer?
From Laura Ecklar, August 26, 2009
Subj: Response to E-Mail
Dear Ms. Zerkle,
Mr. Nehf has asked that I respond to your recent e-mail regarding the Healthcare and Pension Advocates for STRS (HPA). This group used to be known as the Health Care Advocates for STRS (HCA). The group is a coalition of the major management, professional and retiree organizations representing Ohio’s public K-12 and higher education teachers, including the American Association of University Professors, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Inter-University Council of Ohio, Ohio Association of Community Colleges, Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators, Ohio Council of Higher Education Retirees, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Retired Teachers Association, Ohio Education Association and Ohio Education Association-Retired. The coalition co-chairs are Bill Leibensperger, Ann Hanning and Larry Lewellen.
As reported in the March 2009 Board News following that month’s meeting, the Retirement Board agreed that input from the HPA, as well as from individual members, would be encouraged during the board’s deliberations in the coming months. The involvement of the HPA was also noted in the August 2009 STRS Ohio newsletters.
I hope this answers your question. Thank you.
Laura Ecklar
Director, Communication Services

Donna Seaman to board and others: let our COLAs alone!

From Donna Seaman, August 26, 2009
Subject: Special board mtg.
STRS Board and Mr. Nehf:
Please remember on Tuesday, Sept. 1, when you have your special board meeting, that
14 out of 15 speakers at the Aug. 20 board meeting, begged, implored, and insisted that you leave retirees' COLA benefits alone! (and why are you limiting the public speaking session to 15 people?)
If you were listening to those of us who spoke that afternoon (were you listening?), you learned how important that small change benefit is to retirees who no longer have job opportunities with which to supplement our retirement income.
STRS continues to change and cut retirees' benefits: the loss of the 13th check; reduction in health care benefits, and increased premiums for lesser coverage, now a possible reduction in COLA.
Yet STRS staff continues on its merry way with virtually no cuts in staff, benefits or salaries!
Your statement that "reducing operating expenditures is always important--but not a solution" is offensive and insulting. Staff cuts and reductions to STRS operational spending would give the board some badly needed respect and credibility. But you appear to listen only to Mr. Nehf (who cut COLAs in Georgia) and STRS staff who, of course, don't want to absorb any of the losses/cutbacks you inflict upon retirees. Your inference that internal cutbacks would be nothing but a "drop in the bucket" compared to the overall STRS assets is not believable or acceptable!
It's time for some major changes. You might be noticing that many more retirees are becoming involved, are attending board meetings, are speaking up, and are sending e mails to you and legislators. Wake up, board members! Start doing what is right for retirees! That is your fiduciary responsibility!
New board members, please take note.
Thank you.
Donna Seaman, 2002 retiree (These views are my own and do not reflect those of any organization.)

A reminder to retirees from CORE president Dave Parshall

August 27, 2009
The STRS Board will meet to decide on the final long term financial plan to present to the ORSC. This will likely impact all of us. You all are encouraged to be there in person to hear what the plan will be and to see how the decisions are made. This meeting, on September 1, begins at 9:00 am at the STRS building at 275 West Broad Street. On September 9th the ORSC will meet to consider all the plans submitted by all the state retirement systems. Details about the meeting will be coming soon.
Dave Parshall, CORE

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tom Curtis to STRS: The goose that lays the golden eggs for all of you has had enough!

From Donna Seaman, August 25, 2009
Subject: Re: 082409 Seaman, Re Curtis To Ecklar, Concerning Today's STRS News
Tom: Thanks for your reply to my suggestion about a possible class action suit. You are right but, still, I am so frustrated (as are you and others) about the helplessness and hopelessness of trying to initiate changes at STRS! Did my comment to you, and your response to me, go to John Curry's e mail address list? If not, maybe it should!
Donna Seaman
From Tom Curtis, August 25, 2009
Hello Donna,
Sorry to say this, but litigation against the board and STRS by the stakeholders will likely never happen. The STRS management certainly realize this fact. What is the sense of it? We the stakeholders would be spending our own money to sue people that would be using our own money to defend themselves. The system is rigged against us. It is just a more sophisticated type of mafia, called state government. We have no arm of the government that represents us. They take our money, promise us many things in retirement, change their minds and then they determine what we get back. Ain't that a great deal?
During the time we were causing Herb Dyer to retire, so many of us searched high and low for someone, anyone or law enforcement agency that would take any decisive action against the STRS management and board. Absolutely no one would take any action on our behalf, other then the Ohio Ethics Commission (OEC). That one organization was the one probably chosen by the politicians of that time to hand down a slap on the hand to those possibly guilty of felony offenses. We were assured by the head of that commission that what they had found was all there was. Right!
In July of 2003, Dennis Leone had the ear of the State Inspector General, Thomas Charles and he was ready to start a forensic investigation into his and others' findings of misspending. Jim Petro, the state attorney general, held a seat on the board at that time, and Betty Montgomery, auditor of state also held a seat on the board. Together they lobbied Governor Taft to line item veto the funds for Thomas Charles to make his investigation. That was the end of that investigation.
In my opinion, it makes no difference who is in office, politics is politics and nothing happens at that level that does not involve politics. You and I are the test mice for the programs they control. We are truly nobody in the eyes of politics and those in charge.
Also, there is very little true support amongst the stakeholders for such action. No firm in the state of Ohio could/would represent such litigation. This is a sad scenario, but these things we have already established.
Tom Curtis
From Donna Seaman, August 24, 2009 3:45 PM
Subject: Re: 082409 Curtis To Ecklar, Concerning Today's STRS News
Way to go, Tom Curtis! Maybe some of us should begin considering possible class action litigation against the board and the STRS administration? Donna Seaman
Tom Curtis to Laura Ecklar, August 24, 2009
Subject: 082409 Curtis To Ecklar, Concerning Today's STRS News
Hello Laura,
Within the STRS News posted today, it is once again noted that, "Further, while reducing operating expenditures is always important, it is also not the solution to the funding problem."
While I agree with that statement in part, the OSTRS executive staff IS the problem and that has yet to be addressed properly.
The staff has received the "Cadillac" income and benefits for many years, while the stakeholders continually are asked to tighten their belts and cough up even more funds to get what they were promised throughout their careers. This scenario is beyond absurd! No one in his/her right mind would buy into this scenario. Due to the OSTRS management's incompetence, the wheels are starting to fall of off the gravy train you people have been riding since 1992.
From my own experiences starting in 2003, reducing operating expenditures as never been seen as important by the staff. All I have ever heard are justifications for not reducing operating expenses. I have heard more of that then I can stomach.
What has been relinquished since 2003 has been done so with a huge amount of arm-twisting. Then the STRS administration, board and OEA have taken credit for such, which is absolutely not the case!
Both the OEA and ORTA have stood by and sanctioned this ridiculous environment and provided absolutely no help! All they want is our money as well!
Further, the very people that have caused such reductions to take place have been called disgruntled retirees, dissidents and many other titles brewed up by a bunch of incompetent people unwilling to be accountable for the job they were hired to do. We have not gotten value for our dollar ever since Herb Dyer became the executive director in 1992 and went to bed with the OEA.
In my opinion, you and the other current administrators are never going to do the job you were hired to do. Since 1920 the STRS has received a dedicated flow of income from the educators of this state. All the staff has been asked to do is produce a guaranteed pension and HC benefit for the retiree. The HC benefit is in a death spiral today, and will be gone within the next decade, if not sooner. This is due to the OSTRS management and OEA's failure to find the dedicated flow of income to properly fund the HC program they promised would be there at retirement. What a hoax!
Obviously that has not been the highest priority of the staff, otherwise the stakeholders would not be currently looking at taking on yet more expense to provide what we were promised throughout our careers.
This whole mismanagement and misspending mess started with Herb Dyer and the OEA sanctioning his arrival in 1992.
As I stated the first time I spoke to the board in June of 2003, I will fight for the reform of the OSTRS. until I die, which would not be soon enough in the eyes of the greedy and heartless people currently managing the
Today, I am calling for the resignation of the administrative staff and board of the STRS due to their obvious incompetence and mishandling of our retirement funds for many years.
I assure you, the coming onslaught of stakeholders demanding such will be something none of you has ever experienced, or probably ever thought about. It is coming and your days ahead will not be pleasant. But then, you only have yourselves to thank for the situation you have placed our retirement system in, due to your feelings of entitlement and greed. The goose that lays the golden eggs for all of you has had enough!
Tom Curtis - 1998 Retiree

Article: The Trouble With Medicare Advantage

“In West Virginia, 37,000 retired state employees and teachers covered by the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) were forced out of traditional Medicare and stripped of their supplemental plan. They were enrolled in Advantra Freedom, an MA plan administered by the for-profit giant, Coventry Health Care. In November, in PEIA hearings, hundreds of angry West Virginian retirees testified against Advantra Freedom.

The Trouble With Medicare Advantage

Maggie Mahar

Everyone understands why Congress was so reluctant to cut physicians’ fees. Reimbursements for primary care physicians are very low—so low that 30 percent of Medicare recipients who are looking for a new medical home can’t find one. Cut fees, and fewer doctors will take Medicare patients. The AMA, seniors and the AARP are all up-in-arms. Few politicians like to disappoint this trio.

But why are so many Congressmen willing to cut Medicare Advantage? After all, one out of five seniors is in the program: Won’t they be upset?

The truth is that, as many seniors have discovered, Medicare Advantage fee-for-service (the plan Congress has now voted to phase out by 2011) is not turning out to be an advantage for them.

Here is what David Fillman, an International Vice President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents some 1.4 million workers, had to say about MA’s fee-for-service insurance when he testified before Congress in January:

“Insurance companies have targeted our employers for the hard sell, including offers to pass through some of the federal subsidies to state and local governments.”

Fillman rightly calls the subsidies a “windfall” –Medicare pays fee-for-service Medicare Advantage 17 percent more than Medicare would spend if it delivered the services itself.

Public Employees Forced into Medicare Advantage

Fillman goes on to explain: “The new accounting rules issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) place a tremendous strain on public retiree health benefits and add to the lure of these private Medicare plans. The GASB rules require public employers to estimate future costs of their retiree health benefits – 35 years into the future – and publish them on their annual financial statements. To reduce this paper liability, more public employers are proposing a switch from their own solid retiree health plans, which include traditional Medicare, to these private Medicare plans. This is a major factor in public employers’ decisions to switch to Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plans.

“In my state [Pennsylvania] Governor Rendell plans to replace our Retired Employees Health Program (REHP) for state government retirees with a Medicare Advantage private-fee-for-service plan and proposes to cut our prescription drug benefits,” Fillman explained. “He is removing retirees who are aged 65 and older from the secure state plan and forcing them out of the traditional Medicare program. By removing retirees from the secure state public plan (REHP), the Governor is denying them their right to access the secure Medicare program they have paid into all their lives.

“Our retirees are moving from the Medicare defined benefit plan with a solid wrap-around supplemental, to an unknown plan. Although these private Medicare replacement plans must be the actuarial equivalent of Medicare they have a broad hand in shaping the details and setting co-payments, premiums and the real value of benefits from year to year.” In other words, the plans are complicated, and the plan you sign up for this year may not cover the same benefits next year. As Fillman puts it, “Experts have joked that if you have seen one Medicare Advantage fee-for-service plan then you’ve seen one MA plan – for that year.

“Aside from the confusion and added complexity, the forced shift to a Medicare replacement product can obscure a reduction in benefits and a shift of costs onto beneficiaries who have limited incomes and may be in fragile health.”

Advantage supporters like U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, like to argue that Advantage fee-for-service offers Choice : “Medicare Advantage offers seniors personal choice and control over their health care decisions” But if benefits aren’t transparent, how can seniors make a real choice?

We oppose this forced switch both from our understanding of its impact on Medicare generally as well as our fellow AFSCME members’ experiences in West Virginia. Those retirees were forced out of Medicare and into an MA private fee-for-service plan last July,” Fillman observed. “We also are beginning to hear from AFSCME retirees in Ohio who were just switched over this month to a Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plan.

“In West Virginia, 37,000 retired state employees and teachers covered by the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) were forced out of traditional Medicare and stripped of their supplemental plan. They were enrolled in Advantra Freedom, an MA plan administered by the for-profit giant, Coventry Health Care. In November, in PEIA hearings, hundreds of angry West Virginian retirees testified against Advantra Freedom.

Seniors Tell Their Stories

One senior at the Charleston hearing, Peggy Beavers, complained that Coventry is “known throughout the country to cut costs any way they can”, and said she did not understand why she would be forced out of Medicare into a replacement product offered by “a company that’s all about making a profit for itself.”

“Specifically,” Filllman testified, “AFSCME is concerned about the following complaints we have received from West Virginia and other states regarding PFFS plans. These concerns are typical of the problems inherent to MA private-fee-for service plans.

  • Even though these plans are marketed as nationwide and have no networks – this is false. They limit access to care and choice because significant numbers of doctors and hospitals have refused to accept the card, especially out-of-state. For example, many West Virginia retirees who moved out of state could get no doctor to accept the private MA plan.

  • MA private fee-for-service plans may offer additional benefits, such as gym memberships (the only major additional benefit in West Virginia), or hearing aids and eyeglass coverage, but they modify their benefits to cut corners in more important areas, such as limiting hospital days or charging higher co-pays for nursing homes than Medicare. Indeed, officials in West Virginia actually told a state legislative committee in November that “we know that … retirees who use more medical care will be worse off under this plan”.

  • PFFS plans more frequently deny claims in order to hold down costs.

  • The appeals processes are more difficult under the private plans. Retirees are no longer enrolled in traditional Medicare and must go through the company rather than Medicare’s transparent appeals process. Further, beneficiaries are often bounced between CMS and the insurance company seeking redress.

  • The subsidy to the private plans causes government employers, many of whom have secure, self-insured medical plans, to switch control of their medical decisions to these private companies, break up their efficient risk pools, and allow private companies to profit off our retirees.

  • The plans are not stable. They can and do pull out of markets, disrupting health care services and causing much anxiety among beneficiaries.

“There is a lack of quality and accountability. These private replacements for Medicare are exempt from basic quality reporting requirements.

“In addition, “ Fillman concluded, “we are concerned that Medicare Advantage plans are a drain on our state and its retirees. The more than one million Pennsylvania seniors who are enrolled in traditional Medicare are paying about $25 million in extra premiums to subsidize the 32 percent of beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. The State is also paying for these subsidies. The Medicaid program in Pennsylvania pays Part B premiums for low-income beneficiaries and this cost was an extra $6.3 million in FY 2007.

“When Congress opened up Medicare to private plans, it was based on the claim that the health insurance industry would be more efficient, provide more care coordination, and do so at less cost to taxpayers. PFFS plans do none of the above, and enrollees who are forced into them are no longer enrolled in Medicare.

“Again, the root of these problems is the excessive financial incentives to develop and market these products which are designed to replace the tried and true Medicare program. These problems, the trend towards private plans, and the devastating privatization of our traditional Medicare program must be addressed. We concur with the recommendations made by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC ) that MA private plans should compete with traditional Medicare on a level payment playing field.”

Shirlee Zerkel: Why, Mike?

From Shirlee Zerkel, August 25, 2009
Question about June and August STRS Meeting
Dear Mr. Nehf:
I have noticed on Thursdays at both meetings that Bill Leibensperger of the OEA and Ann Hanning of ORTA have sat with the STRS Board and discussed issues concerning retirees with them. Why are they permitted to do this when no one from AFT or CORE have been a part of such discussions?
Shirlee Zerkel
CORE member
OEA-R Life Member

[Uh........anybody wanna venture a guess?? KBB]

Franklin County RTA Position Statement and retiree comments

From Molly Janczyk, August 24, 2009
Subject: FW: FCRTA Position Statement
Soon to be $25.50. YOU are not important, June! When will you realize that? WE ARE ACTUARIAL MARKS ON A PAGE. NOTHING MORE!!!!
From June Hughes, April 24, 2009
Subject: Re: FCRTA Position Statement
I only get $51 as a COLA!!!! Holey Moley am I causing so much of the costs? NOT!!!
Leave the COLA for us, the people who did not complete at least 25 years to get retirment money paid in but no benefits if they are eligible to get them from another job (Med A and B) unless he or she was caused to retire under a disability while as an educator.
June H (1990)
From Molly Janczyk, August 23, 2009
I agree Bev. I do not understand the figuring unless you are '80.'!!!!
1. WHY is ANYONE RECEIVING BENEFITS FOR FIVE YEARS?????? That is ridiculous. No benefits unless you have a minimum of 15 yrs. What a waste for us and benefit for those who did not stick to teaching and get benefits from other sources and or did not need to work more due to spousal salaries and benefits, etc.
2. Current retirees should be grandfathered as we have been bled to death already. BEGIN CUTS FOR NEW RETIREES AND FOR THOSE RECEIVING THE 35 YR BENEFIT!!!!! LOWER THEIR COLA! THEY CAN AFFORD IT! The rest of us have given up way beyond what we can afford.
COLA: 5 yrs out from retiring: 1.5% when retire.
Beyond 5 yrs out, must be 60 to receive COLA.
Molly J.
From Beverly Rice, August 23, 2009
Subject: Re: FW: FCRTA Position Statement
I agree. I talked with a recently retired teacher in Urbana a couple weeks ago who is getting $l50.00 as her COLA. She will also get the 35yr. deal. It doesn't get any better. Unfortunately, I retired in 1995 and my COLA is $68.00 and a few cents. All this needs to be taken into consideration to be fair to all retirees. This across the board COLA is totally unfair. It was probably the easiest way to do it. I'm going to email the Board and tell them what I think about this as I hope many others will do. Bev Rice
FCRTA Position Statement -- August 20, 2009
The Franklin County Retired Teachers Association agrees with the Ohio Retired Teachers Association in its support of a guaranteed COLA for current and future retirees. Like ORTA, we understand that changes must be made. A spirit of cooperation is needed to discuss all reasonable options. Everyone involved with STRS, active teachers and employees as well as retirees, must share in any sacrifices.
The COLA must be preserved for as many retirees as possible. Unfortunately, a temporary, tiered approach may be essential so that those who retired at low salaries receive the full 3% with a gradual lowering for those retiring more recently or in the future. Once the economy improves, we urge that benefits to retirees be restored or improved.
Other possibilities we think the STRS board should consider are -- raising the minimum age for retirement; -- increasing the number of years used to calculate final annual salary; -- increasing contributions from currently active teachers; and -- changing the formula for calculating pensions, such as the 35-year enhancement.
Please keep in mind that retirees have already suffered losses including -- constantly increasing health care costs; -- elimination of the spousal insurance subsidy; -- loss of the 13th check; and -- the effects of a non-compounded COLA.
FCRTA realizes that the board must make tough decisions. Even so, the needs of the dedicated educators who served Ohio children in the past, present, and future must be preserved.

Defined benefit vs. defined contribution retirements

Molly Janczyk: E-mail addresses of Board members

From Molly Janczyk, August 25, 2009
Subj: STRS email addresses

STRS General Board:
Mike Nehf: ( Exec. Direc):
Mark Meuser (OEA: active): 
Conni Ramser (OEA: active):
Tai Hayden: (CEA/OEA: active):
Tim Myers: (OEA:active):
Jeff Chapman: (OFT: retired):
Dennis Leone: (retired):
Craig Brooks: (Investment Appointee; joint appointment by Speaker of the House and President of the Senate):
Regina Burch: (Investment Appointee by Gov.):
Stephen Puckett: (State Super Appointee):
Sept. 1: Jeff Chapman term ends. Mary Ann Cervantes stepped down in June.
Dennis Leone can no longer attend. [Retired from the Board 8/09]
Beginning Sept. 1:
Jim McGreevy takes an STRS Retired Seat:;
Bob Stein takes an STRS Retired Seat:;
I do not have an individual address for Carole Correthers, the new OEA active Board Member.
But her STRS address should be:
Always last name, first initial

Comments from two retirees re: Shirlee Zerkel's 8/18/09 letter to STRS Board

From RH Jones, August 21, 2009
Subject: FW: Retiree Letter to STRS Board says it all
As you can see from these 2-letters, we are not just a bunch of "wing nuts" but are sincere retired teachers trying to keep the STRS afloat.
RHJones, a proud CORE member
From Tom Duck, August 20, 2009
Subject: Re: Retiree Letter to STRS Board says it all
Shirlee has it figured out! [View Shirlee Zerkel's letter here.] When are the rest of us going to wake up and start writing to the STRS Board/legislators etc.? My wife and I are both fully vested STRS employees (30+ years /not 35-option wasn't available for me). What happened to the 13th check(retired in 1999 -- never received it?), promises of "free health insurance forever (HA! - Never saw it!), now COLA et., etc. ! When does this end!! We both are back to work to make ends meet.(AGES 62, and 61). Retirement is great!!! (And my staff always said I was a positive administrator!! -- Hrumphh!)
Tom Duck
P.S. I rarely hit the $500 minimum on the "Cadillac program" Med Mutual Plus (what a scam!). Delta Dental(pays next to nothing for dental work!) ; Prescriptions - (cheaper at Krogers or Wal-Mart!) etc.! P.P.S. Please forward to STRS and the "Honorable "Lynn Wachtmann/State Rep.

RH Jones: OH STRS officals take note

From RH Jones, August 25, 2009

To all:

Re: Inflation is inevitable; we need our COLA

PLEASE go to for a good lesson in dollar inflation. I hope all STRS officials take note.

It is my humble opinion that hyperinflation is coming. To take away any of our non-compounded 3% COLA is to put the OH STRS stakeholders in even deeper financial trouble. Any “take away” at this time is morally if not legally wrong.

I need to say no more,

RHJones, an elderly retired teacher OH STRS member annuitant stakeholder

Special Board meeting scheduled for September 1

From STRS, August 25, 2009
The State Teachers Retirement Board will convene a special meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, for the purpose of discussing long-term fiduciary and financial contingency planning. This special meeting will be held at the STRS Ohio offices located at 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio.

From a little table we can gain a lot of insight if.........if we understand what else that same chart really says to us!

From John Curry, August 25, 2009
Here's the up-to-date chart for hc insurance premiums for 2010 for those retirees who are yet to reach the magic age of 65 (Medicare eligibility) [click image to enlarge]:
This chart has a lot of information but....I want you to pay careful attention to just one small part of this chart. That is, the next to last row entitled, "Spouse." Now, a little more "narrowing down" to the first column after Spouse...this number is $924 and is in the column marked "Medical Mutual Plus 2010." So...what am I driving at, you ask? Well, look at it this way.....$924 is the total cost to STRS to insure one pre-65 year old person (spouse in this case) with an 80/20 PPO health insurance program for just one month. This is the SAME price it costs STRS to insure the retiree him/herself.... EXCEPT STRS pays a subsidy for the Retiree so that the 30 year retiree pays $210 per month (as STRS pays [subsidizes] the other $714 monthly for the retiree's insurance premium.)
You say, I knew what?'s like a close friend said after reading all the exchanges of angry and some not-so-angry emails pertaining to how much COLA to cut or not to cut or....the 88% rule and the 1/2% per year increased contributions along with the employer contributions, ad gets frustrating, doesn't it? My friend, a part time college instructor and also one who is known to be able to see the forest for the trees, basically said this:
Many of these actives and retirees both would have few or no disagreements related to COLAS, high healthcare premiums or employer contribution worries if they all would just understand and demand true healthcare reform from their Senators and House Members who represent them and demand that the profiteering by the greed of hc insurance industry CEO's and other high ranking officers in said insurance companies come to a screeching halt so that those monies can be used for treatment of Americans rather than be used for second and third holiday homes and multi million dollar stock options for those in charge. Yeah, I know, that was a run-on sentence but we are now paying for greed induced run-on profiteering that would fill up a whole lot more pages than this writer intends to fill, wouldn't they? And, without that profiteering [at your expense] we sure could enjoy affordable healthcare coverage, we sure could afford a much more comfortable retirement, couldn't we? A retirement where many of us wouldn't have to go out and work at a job (or second job) just to be able to afford to pay for healthcare in our supposed retirement!
So, instead of attacking the cancer of greed and profiteering by health insurance companies, we educators (as well as many other Americans) will continue pointing our fingers at the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. We also need to be pointing our fingers at our Congressional representatives and demanding real health care reform....are we...... or are we happy with the status quo? Far too many educators are in the latter category, aren't they? I'm sure the healthcare insurance executives are sitting back right now and laughing their hind ends off watching the displaced blame fires popping up all over the country in a well-designed smokescreen that was initiated by those very same health insurance executives....and their lobbyists on K-Street. Worse yet, I see some of my fellow retirees actually fighting against healthcare reform and (unknowingly) furnishing sympathy to the unchecked greed of the insurance cartel who is, at the same time, screwing them right into the ground. Go figure! P.T. Barnum had a saying about people like this...."There's one born every minute."

Monday, August 24, 2009

RH Jones: Legislators have no power to pass retroactive laws

From RH Jones, August 24, 2009
To all:
Re: Ohio legislators have no power to pass any retroactive laws
Courts have determined that legislators have no power to pass a retroactive law -- retroactive law, is a statute that takes away or impairs vested rights acquired under existing laws. Any attempt to change a law must be done in a constitutional manner. Lawfully, you can only move forward, you cannot go in reverse.
Hopefully, when the ORSC goes to the legislature, with changes in mind concerning our rightfully legislated OH STRS benefits previously approved by Ohio’s legislated law, they are aware of the above.
Having taken a course in Ohio school law at the Graduate School of the Kent State University, this is my studied opinion as simple as I remember it.
RHJones, a retired teacher OH STRS stakeholder member

Hey, ORTA, do you REALLY want to promote this website?

From John Curry, August 24, 2009
Subject: Just what is this "pension tsunami" site that ORTA has a direct link to on their website?
They must want you to read it, don't they? Otherwise they wouldn't put it on their website, would they?
Well, I took a little time to research Pension Tsunami. It starts with what Pension Tsunami states on their very own site....that is:
"The website and the PensionWatch blog and daily newsclip service are projects of FACT -- the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers. FACT's primary focus is on California's public employee pension crisis, but we are also attempting to monitor developments in all three pension spheres -- public employees, corporations and social security ...."
Ok...that sounds innocent enough, doesn't it? They say they are primarily focused on California's public employee pension crisis. I'll give them that. But, let's dig a little more into the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers and Pension Tsunami.....
First, let's visit with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). Here's what AFSCME has to say about the Pension Tsunami websiste. [Note, DB in the "Anti-DB Web Sites" refers to defined benefits know, the kind that most all of us have from STRS?]. Click here to visit website.
"Anti-DB Web Sites
Daily clipping service of pension articles run by the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers"
Now, let's visit a letter from the Retired Public Employees' Association of California and see what they have to say about Pension Tsunami and the Fullerton group (click here).
300 T Street, Sacramento, California, 95811-6912
(916) 441-7732
Fax: (916) 441-7413
(800) 443-7732
February 8, 2009
TO: Board of Directors, Assistant Area Directors, Chapter Presidents, Chapter Board Members and Chapter Legislative Chairpersons
FROM: Bill Duclus, Director of Legislation
SUBJECT: February 2009 – Legislative Report
COPY TO: Aaron Read, Pat Moran, Joelle Ferretti, Joe Umiker, Bob Bess (CSU-ERFA)
This will be a year that we public employee retirees will surely remember. Federal and state legislative issues galore that could affect our benefits. Our vested benefits are being attacked from various so-called taxpayer associations, coalitions, groups and individuals. Just to name a few:
• Grover Norquist
• Lew Uhler
• Jon Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
• John Moorlach
• Dr. Keith Richman with the Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility
Pension Tsunami
• California Taxpayers Association
• Contra Costa County Taxpayers Alliance
• Orange County Taxpayers Association
Fullerton Taxpayers
• Sutter County Taxpayers
The list goes on and on. Many want to roll back our benefits that we earned and together with our
employer contributed to during our employment. We took many sacrifices during our working careers so that we would have benefits when we retired. We did not want to go on the dole, relief, bread line, become homeless, etc. Now many people believe that all public employees and retirees get too many benefits. That is not true. They should review CalPERS’ annual reports, bulletins and press releases and do their homework. It is time we stand up and speak out more vocally for ourselves. We need your help and the help of your relatives, friends, neighbors and maybe your so-called enemies. The World, the United States and California are facing trying times, but this is not the time to take it out on the public employees—active or retired. Recruit a new member today. We need all the help we can get.
Is this enough to convince you, the STRS retiree, that ORTA shouldn't be featuring a link on their website from a group who is against defined benefits pensions WHEN ORTA DOESN'T EVEN KNOW IT? I'd say that's a reasonable statement, wouldn't you?
P.S. Don't believe that ORTA features a link to this site? Here, click on ORTA's home page and see for yourself...before they read this email, realize what they've done and quickly remove the link! ORTA calls this link "Pension Watch, Updated Daily." Just click on that link when you access ORTA with the link below and you'll see what I refer to!
From STRS, August 24, 2009
Last 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 August report follows.
During its August 2009 meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board passed resolutions recognizing the valuable and dedicated service of Jeffrey Chapman and Dennis Leone during their tenure as board members.
During its August meeting, the Retirement Board spent many hours discussing a long-term contingency plan for strengthening pension plan and health care funding. During the discussions, it was reiterated that unless changes are made, STRS Ohio will eventually be unable to pay future benefits. As fiduciaries, the Retirement Board members and staff must make changes necessary to help ensure the long-term solvency of the pension fund.
It was also noted that the system cannot "invest" its way out of the problem. The Asset Allocation Study accepted by the Retirement Board in May 2009 projects an 8% investment return over the long term. With this return, current benefits are not sustainable. Further, while reducing operating expenditures is always important, it is also not the solution to the funding problem.
In explaining the current status of the pension fund, it was noted that the fund had a funding period of 41.2 years as of July 1, 2008. In just one year, the system's unfunded liability has nearly doubled, to an estimated $36.2 billion from $18.2 billion, and the funding period is at "infinity" - meaning the system can never pay off its liabilities unless changes are made.
As a result, the board continued to look at a combination of plan components it could change to restore the long-term solvency of the pension fund. These include: increasing contributions from members and employers; increasing the number of years on which to base final average salary; changing eligibility for retirement; changing the benefit formula; and reducing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). At the August meeting, the board asked for some additional scenarios to be run by staff.
At the meeting, the board's actuary, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reported to the board that it concurred with staff's recommended approach, timeline and calculations.
STRS Ohio, along with the other four public pension systems in Ohio, has been asked to present a board-approved plan to the Ohio Retirement Study Council (the legislative oversight committee for the systems) at the ORSC meeting on Sept. 9. To enable this to happen, the Retirement Board set a special meeting date of Sept. 1, 2009, beginning at 9 a.m., to continue its discussion.
At this meeting, the newly elected board members - Carol Correthers, Jim McGreevy and Bob Stein - will be taking their seats at the board table, replacing Mary Ann Quilter Cervantes, Jeff Chapman and Dennis Leone.
STRS Ohio's investment fund performance for fiscal year 2009 (July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009) was reported during the August meeting. The total fund return was -21.66% versus the benchmark return of -20.42%. (A detailed review of the fund's performance was reported in the August 2009 STRS Ohio newsletters to members.)
Final figures for fiscal year 2009 show that total operating expenditures for STRS Ohio were about $10 million less than budgeted. Operating expenditures for fiscal year 2009 totaled $88.8 million.
The Retirement Board approved 2,505 active members and 200 inactive members for service retirement benefits.
Congress was not successful in meeting President Barack Obama's desire for a vote before summer recess. The current bill status is as follows:
- Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee - This committee reported out the Affordable Health Choices Act on July 15 on a party-line vote.
- Senate Finance Committee - No legislation has been finalized; this is the funding piece of the Senate package. The six key committee members are scheduled to continue their discussions through August.
- House - H.R. 3200, also called the Affordable Health Choices Act, was reported out by all three committees of jurisdiction in July - Ways and Means, Education and Labor, and Energy and Commerce. Leadership has indicated they expect to iron out the differences in the three versions and take a bill to the floor this fall.
Congress hopes to be able to negotiate a bill vote this fall when members return, although October is probably too optimistic. While the details of reform are in flux and will be until there is one bill, it is likely the focus will be on those who do not currently have health insurance coverage. The government will be expecting entities like STRS Ohio to continue providing coverage to members. In this first round of reform, the impact for STRS Ohio will be at the outer edges around long-term cost reductions in the national health care system. The August 2009 issue of STRS Ohio's Legislative News includes an in-depth article about health care reform proposals and can be accessed via STRS Ohio's Web site ( Paper copies are available by calling (614) 227-2913.
STRS Ohio implemented the Low-Cost Generic Drug Program on June 8. This program provides a 90-day supply of designated maintenance generic medications through mail order for a $9 copayment instead of the normal $25 copayment. The program is similar to those offered at retail pharmacies for a $10 copayment (e.g., Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target) and covers more than 230 generic medications, which equals or exceeds the number of 90-day generic medications currently offered by any single retail chain.
Communications announcing the new program were mailed to plan participants. In addition, STRS Ohio included an article in the benefit recipient newsletter and posted the program details, including the current list of drugs, on the STRS Ohio Web site ( Through July 24, 12,000 claims have been processed under the program; STRS Ohio members have saved $135,935, while the health care fund has retained about $200,000.
The Public Pension Coordinating Council (PPCC) recently presented STRS Ohio with the 2008 Public Pension Standards Award for Funding and Administration in recognition of meeting professional standards set forth in the Public Pension Standards. PPCC is a coalition made up of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) and the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS). To receive the award, a retirement system must certify that it meets the requirements in six areas of assessment - comprehensive benefit program, funding adequacy, actuarial, audit, investments and communications.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Edna Hansen's speech to STRS Board August 20, 2009

Click images to enlarge.


June Hughes on OEA

June Hughes to Tom Curtis, August 23, 2009
Subject: Re: 082309 Curtis To Hahn, Re: Tentative STRS Plan as proposed by the STRS Administration
Tom, while I was an active teacher 30+, OEA did NOTHING to bring about collective bargaining of any kind. They just collected dues, but not from me. In the mid 70's the CPS educators went on strike because of no increase in pay for 3 years during the high inflationary time. The OEA educators went in to work and collected their normal paychecks while drinking coffee in the lounges because of no students. The members of CFT went on the picket line for 19 days and received NO pay for those days. Did an OEA member even bring us coffee? H*** NO! CFT did help then but now I hear they've joined hips and lips with OEA. Tsk tsk. what a shame there is no competition even in educator bargaining units.
June Hughes (1990)

Letters from/to Tom Curtis and others

Tom Curtis to Mike Nehf & Board, August 21, 2009
Subject: 082109 Curtis To Nehf, STRS Staff Cost Reductions
Hello Mike,
Now that we the stakeholders have seen what recommendations you and the board are recommending to the ORSC, it is time to see what reductions you will be making concerning the STRS staff.
In a recent email, you indicated to me that all of the possible cuts I had recommended were being considered.
So, what cuts have you and the board authorized for the staff? Please be specific and include the dates when they will take place.
I look forward to a timely response.
Tom Curtis - 1998 retiree
Tom Curtis to Michelle Jump, August 22, 2009
Subject: 082209 Curtis To Jump, Re Budget Reductions
Hello Michelle,
After reading your response below, with all due respect, what you listed as budget reductions means very little in true savings. I do not know what position you hold at the STRS, but you really do not understand how little what you stated as reductions actually means.
During this decade, the STRS management and staff has lost $42+ billion dollars of the funds we need to provide our pension and benefits. That money is gone! That is huge, and yet, the STRS administration and staff has made few reductions, to my knowledge, that appear to save anything compared to the amount of reductions that we your employers have had to endure.
It would seem that many STRS employees simply do not get it. Your only job as our employees is to provide us with a guaranteed pesnion and benefits we were promised all of our careers, while paying into the STRS.
I retired in 1998. Just look at how many of the pension benefits I was promised at that time have been reduced or eliminated? If my benefits are going to take such a huge reduction, then the employees should receive the same reductions, because you have not given us value for our dollar placed in your hands.
Tom Curtis - 1998 retiree
Michelle Jump to Donald Hyatt (date ?)
STRS Ohio has taken steps to reduce the operating budget. This includes freezing salaries for all STRS Ohio associates through June 30, 2010; implementing a 40-hour work week as of January 1, 2010, with no additional pay provided to associates currently working 37.5 hours per week; eliminating the payment of Performance-Based Incentives to eligible Investment Department associates whenever the total investment return is negative for 2010 and beyond; and putting a cap on the number of STRS Ohio associates.
Sincerely, Michelle Jump
From Donald Hyatt, Thursday, August 20, 2009
To: HCQuestions
Subject: COLA
I would think that you would do what the public is asking many of our state teachers to do. Refuse to take raises. Many of the retired Ohio teachers are in a precarious position. You should do everything to help them. Many of them have served the public for many years and have relied on the STRS for their existence. I would guess that the age of all the people working at the STRS office may adjust to the harsh environment than people who are living on their STRS benefits. Perhaps you could cut back on staff. Perhaps you could cut back on bonuses and raises. Perhaps you could cut back on perks.
Teachers, STRS employees and administrators, are much more marketable than some 70+ retired teacher. Perhaps it is time to downsize at STRS.
Donald Hyatt
Retired teacher (Ashland, Upper Arlington, and Worthington Public Schools)
Tom Curtis to Bob Stein, August 23, 2009
Subject: 082309 Curtis To Stein, The Same Tired Old Excuses

Hello Bob,
Once again, I wish to thank you for becoming a board member. I feel you have the necessary background and experience needed to make the many decisions that will be placed before you in the next four years. If you do not, I feel you probably have enough contacts in the financial world to obtain a balanced view of the situation or direction you will be asked to vote on. I cannot think of a more contentious time to be coming onto the STRS board. I sincerely wish you the best!
I have been reading some of the written responses that you have been making to STRS stakeholders. I highly commend you for your efforts and hope that you will continue to respond to stakeholders throughout your term. This practice is something that would be expected of a board member, but has been ignored by most currently on the board. That shows just how unqualified those board members truly are. They cannot offer explanation for their actions, because they really do not have a clue about what they are doing there.
Your statement to one person, "Thanks for writing. Responding to questions sometimes helps me think more clearly," is very admirable, but in my mind is very true. I hope that continues to generate positive thinking for you, because you will continue to respond to your stakeholders.
Bob, that one statement gives me great hope that you will ask many questions of the STRS administration and require them to justify their recommendations far more closely then your fellow board members ever have, with the exception of Dennis Leone and John Lazares.
What troubles me, is that I continue to hear the same old tired reasons for making payment to the investment employees that I have heard since 2003. I do not for one minute believe many of them.
First, the STRS would not be in the financial situation they are currently in, if they had listened to the very people that have been trying to bring about reform concerning the mismanagement and misspending that has been the mainstay of operation at the STRS since the OEA and Herb Dyer went to bed with one another in 1992. That improper association has been the downfall of our retirement system. To my knowledge, none of the other four retirement systems have such a relationship with the union and management, as does the STRS. This must be stopped!
Now, I realize that the investment industry, outside of the retirement systems, has a well-established method of payment to its employees. In my opinion, that really should not apply to those at the STRS. We are not comparing apples to apples. Do any of those outside investors have a guaranteed defined benefit pension plan like the OPERS? Do any of them offer a fully vested 30-year retirement plan? I seriously doubt it. It is a known fact that Herb Dyers' salary was based in part on the number and amount of bonuses paid to his employees. That is just plain wrong! This kind of culture still exists at the STRS, because of the management team that existed during Dyers' tenure; the vast majority still remains. So, how do you change their way of viewing this? That is going to be tough.
I also continue to hear that the STRS investment team has faired better than the Wall Street investors have. Jim McGreevy stated yesterday in a response to an active stakeholder that, "Our investment staff generally out-performs the big Wall Street firms while being compensated at about 21% of those New York investors' salaries." That may be true, but again we are not comparing apples to apples. If our investment people could leave the STRS and make that much more money, they would be gone and I do not believe that has been the case. Ask them to document the loss of investment people to the big firms, or to other retirement systems. Besides that, the STRS investors have not out-performed the investment people of the other four retirement systems in many years.
Bob, the bottom line is this, we the stakeholders continue to be given reasons for the failure of our management to pay the benefits we were promised throughout our careers, that are truly not the case.
Since 1920, when the STRS was founded, management's only responsibility has been to satisfy the needs of the retiree for the rest of their life. What is so darn difficult about that premise? They do not and never have been responsible for making a product to satisfy those needs, as does industry. Management has always had a substantial flow of dedicated income to work with, until recent years. So, why have we the stakeholder paid so many individuals so much more money then we ever were paid, to be such failures at their jobs? I do not want excuses I want results!
As in industry or any other enterprise, if the desired results are not garnered, then the people in charge are replaced. Few have been replaced at the STRS. They simply get to retiree, as did Herb Dyer, with a $550,000 dollar parachute. If it were not for Dennis Leone, Damon Asbury would have received payment off of our backs, for 200 sick days that Herb Dyer allowed him to bring with him from his last position. 200 days that was not eligible for payment in that position. This is the kind of greed and mismanagement that has plagued the STRS since Herb Dyer became the CEO in 1992. Just think of the thousands of other corrupt deals that have taken place while the very same administration that we now have has been in control of our funds. This whole situation disgusts me and angers me beyond all reason. Please know that you will have a strong contingency of stakeholders behind you, if you can make any inroads concerning the reform of the policies and practices that have taken our retirement system into a downward spiral since 1992.
Tom Curtis- 1998 retiree
Michele Hahn to Tom Curtis, August 22, 2009
Subject: RE: Tentative STRS Plan as proposed by the STRS Administration
You are very knowledgeable about the whole retirement system and how it works. Being only 12 years into my career, I am not as well informed. I was wondering between my husband and myself we put around $1,200 dollars a month in the system. I was wondering if it would be more beneficial to remove the money and place it in our own investments? I do worry about health care and so forth. I also don't know if we have to pay into this system--is it a choice? Thanks, Michele
Tom Curtis to Michele Hahn, August 23, 2009
Subject: 082309 Curtis To Hahn, Re: Tentative STRS Plan as proposed by the STRS Administration
Hello Michele,
I am sorry to say that was not at all informed about our retirement system when I was an active teacher. I didn't have time to be informed, nor was there a need to be until 1992, when Herb Dyer became the new executive director. I am sure the lack of time to become aware has continued to be the number one reason for many actives today.
However, with the many changes that have occurred since I retired in 1998, I have had to be concerned, or risk the chance that things will get even worse. My greatest fear is that I will eventually see the reduction of my guaranteed pension.
Since January of 2004, when the spousal and dependant children subsidy was removed from the retiree's benefits, it has cost me in excess of one third of my pension to pay for HC for my non-teaching spouse and I. That amounts to approx. $14,000 per year for us, compared to the $30 per month for a 90-10 plan when I retired. Talk about a rude awakening! Besides the huge increase in cost, the coverage is nothing like it was when I retired. We were always promised a "Cadillac" HC plan. That promise had to be broken, due to the improper management of our retirement system, the lack of leadership within the OEA and the way HC is now delivered in the US. Thank heaven that we live within the six counties that AultCare covers in this state. Their costs are far more reasonable then Aetna or Medical Mutual, which the vast majority of retirees are mandated to accept, if they keep their STRS plan. Those two plans cost in excess of $1000 per month for those under the age of 65. That is just the cost of the plan. That does not cover co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses.
Michele, I assure you, that had it not been for Dr. Dennis Leone and CORE getting involved in 2003, things would be much, much worse today. The management of the STRS and the OEA has seen to it that they are paid well and clearly think of themselves first, beginning in 1992. The salaries paid to the management of these two organizations today is sickening, compared to that of the majority of those they represent. I can show you documentation of the figures that would do little but make you upset, to say the least. In 2008, the top two investment people at the STRS where paid in excess of $500,000 dollars. The STRS had already lost several billion dollars at that time and showed a loss for the year.
To answer your questions, you already had the opportunity to place your retirement investment in a defined contribution fund with the STRS, but that has certainly not faired better then the defined benefit plan since it's inception. So, if you are in the DB plan, your money is better off, at this point in time. I do not know this for sure, but I doubt that you have the choice to not contribute to the STRS. That is an interesting question though. I just attempted to contact the deputy director of benefits at the STRS, Sandra Knoesel and left a message for her to call me. I hope to find out the true status of your question.
It is my hope that the HC issue will be solved soon by our government. The HCSF at the STRS is in a death spiral today. That means no matter what they do with those funds, they will not be there for you when you retire. That fund is expected to run out of money within the next decade. However, actives still are donating 1% of your contribution to the STRS to the HCSF today. The OEA continues to make it look as though they are doing so much for the active teacher, when in fact, they are the reason for the failure to provide HC for us for life in the first place. They never made HC funding a top priority. They never found a dedicated flow of income to properly fund it and knew well in advance in the early 90's that the cost of such was going to be increasing drastically.
It is my opinion that whatever the OEA has gained for us in collective bargaining, while I was an active teacher, they have advocated it being taken away as a retiree. The OEA is a double agent. They promise you all kinds of things while you are an active and pay them the huge amount of dues you are required to pay, but once you retire, they will no longer represent you. That was a shocking revelation to me. No one thinks about that when they are an active. No one would think they would simply kick you to the curb when you retire. Yes, they have a retiree leg, OEA-R, but they have little to no say- so in the operation of the OEA.
It is my sincere hope that you and other actives will stop paying into the OEA, because they really do not serve the teacher as they once did. In my eyes today, they have become irrelevant! The people in charge, such as Bill Leibensperger, are social climbers and little else.
Tom Curtis
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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