Friday, May 27, 2022

Joe Lupo lays out a reform blueprint of what the STRS Board should have been doing in the past; and what it must do in the future

From Facebook

May 27, 2022

As the founder and administrator of the MOF (Ohio STRS Member Only Forum), some of our valued members have contacted me regarding the fast and furious release of more propaganda by STRS Director Neville and his associates. Please think of this as nothing more than an attempt by STRS to try gain back the ground they have lost the past five years and also an attempt to influence the minds of the newly elected and appointed Board members. We must never allow their actions to stifle, sidetrack or distract us.
Let me put this issue and concern in perspective for the good of the order by stating that the MOF "Central Team" (which includes me as the administrator and the moderators) along with all our members strongly feel we need to spend our energies addressing meaningful change at STRS. If we continually react by acknowledging and responding to their propaganda, they will appear to be right...when they already know they are wrong. 
It is no secret STRS did everything they possibly could to influence the recent election outcome, including recommending the Board approve a change for active members' retirement requirements from 35 years of service at age 60 to 35 years of service at any age. For retirees, the Board approved a one time 3 percent issue we have been fighting since 2017 when it was frozen by the STRS Board based on legislation passed by Ohio Legislators at the request of STRS. It is now a matter of record that these last ditch efforts did little if anything to save the three incumbent Board seats. The past voting records of the incumbent members are a matter of record. It was a matter of too little too late by STRS.
We will continue to remain focused on the past, present and future. We will not forget about the past thirty years of poor management of STRS. We know that our pension fund cannot be sustained in the future if the same culture and management philosophy is allowed to prevail. We must and will remain vigilant now and in the future to prevent this from happening again.
We will also continue our efforts to have our concerns and questions recognized and addressed by the Board, director and staff.  We must remain steadfast to the principle and premise that Board members must have no other allegiances other than to ALL STRS members. They should have open minds and be responsive at all times. Questions to them should be answered in a timely manner based on research and, when possible, accompanying documentation.  
We believe it is the Board (including appointed members) that is charged with the responsibility of approving all STRS policy and organizational operating procedures in open meetings. There are far too many closed meetings that continually raise questions among the membership as to what is being discussed and why the need to be behind closed doors. 
We further believe that the Board is the governing body, and therefore should vote on ALL recommendations by the director and staff based on supporting documentation prior to the meeting and not presented at the meeting. Board members should be able to exercise their responsibilities based on the best information available to them in advance of their voting.  
It should also be established procedure that all pertinent and relevant information and documents requested by the Board as a whole or by any individual Board members, including requests made to the director and investment staff, be fully met in a timely manner. We believe the governing Board is accountable to the members and needs to have access to information and documents to make informed decisions on issues before them. In the past that has not been the case, giving the appearance that the tail might be wagging the dog.
It is our hope that the newly elected Board members will be energetic and committed to fully engage in their responsibilities in a dutiful and responsible manner. Last, and no less important, is the rebuilding of trust through a positive, productive and cooperative relationship with members.  A continuation of the lack of transparency of the past will continue to erode our trust which, unfortunately, is already at an all time low.
It is our fervent hope that future actions considered by the Board regarding any type of austerity program include consideration of all the line items in the annual budget, including STRS staff..... and not just STRS members. After all, there would be no STRS without active members who are currently contributing and retired members who have contributed in the past, and unfortunately have also been forced to contribute their COLA the past 5 years as well. Active members now have to work longer for less. Let us not establish a reputation where the active and retired members are expected to subsidize THEIR retirement system because of its poor management. I am sorry to have to say that this simply does not meet the definition of "Premier."
Joe Lupo is the founder and administrator of the Facebook group Ohio STRS Member Only Forum which, as of this posting, numbers more than 28,000 members. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dean Dennis to STRS Board, 5/19/22: Like the majority of members who voted, I have lost confidence in management

Dean Dennis' comments to STRS Board

May 19, 2022 
I am Dean Dennis, retiree from the Cincinnati Public Schools, member of OFT Local 1520-R, Moderator for STRS Members Only Forum, ORTA Southwest Liaison, and Ohio STRS Watchdogs Administrator.
For 8 months, I've requested the breakdown of STRS total investment costs which STRS represents as being around 12 basis points. Investment costs this low, from an active management structure like STRS, defies everything I have ever read. Fifty to sixty basis points would be more in line. So, it was interesting to watch this month's Ohio Retirement Study Council as our Chief Financial Officer reported to the ORSC Chair that our annual investment costs were 32 basis points. What's going on, different investment costs depending on the audience? 
What was the motivation of the presentation from our Executive Director at the start of last month's meeting? Was it to convince Trustees active management of investments is better than investing in indexes?  
To review, if we completely invested all our monies in the S&P 500 (FVINX) from June 30, 1999, at the top of the dot-com bubble, to June 30, 2021, then STRS investments would have earned several 10's of billions less, than how STRS actually did invest our monies.  A  comparison that would have been interesting is how STRS' actual invested proportion of their portfolio designated to US equities, fared against the S&P 500 index during this time period. 
But, let's go back to the exercise that was presented and see how STRS actually invested their monies and compare it against the S&P 500 index from FY 1989 - FY 2021, a much longer time, but one that has the same recent ending point. We find the S&P 500 would have returned 11.16% compared to the 8.33% that STRS actually earned. So, it does appear that long term investing in indexes instead of trying to beat the market pays off.  
I want to thank Dr. Fichtenbaum, whose analysis of STRS performance against the S&P 500 (FVINX) is posted on the Watchdogs Website for review. Our Board should request a presentation from him. One only has to do a little research to grasp that investing in indexes outperforms investment experts approximately 85% of the time over a 10 year period, and approximately 95% of the time over a 15-year period of time. Research shows investing in indexes also saves in fees, and is less risky and more transparent.
Lastly, I view this election as not rejecting those who didn't get the most votes, but as a referendum for changing how management does business. Members don't care about the awards STRS racks up. STRS awards are meaningless to retirees who need a COLA and active teachers who want a realistic retirement formula. 
Like the majority of members who voted, I have lost confidence in management.

Robin Rayfield's update on STRS and announcement of new ORTA officer Dean Dennis

From ORTA's May 2022 Newsletter

Robin Rayfield's Update on STRS

May 25, 2022
STRS Election is over. The STRS board will see 3 new faces in September. Although the ‘momentum’ appears to be for change at STRS, please remember, the new trustees will not bring bags of money with them to fix things. Hopefully, they bring questions about the way our pension system operates. I know each of them pledged to bring transparency to our pension system. 
Something very important to note is that ORTA observed a great deal of interference from STRS staff in attempting to influence the election. Some of the more obvious attempts to influence the outcomes include:
  • Sending emails to all STRS members offering commentary on the performance of the STRS investment staff. These emails were, apparently, sent in response to anonymous emails sent that challenged the ‘value’ of an STRS pension. These emails inferred that the current board is the reason STRS is able to offer a one-time COLA.
  • Executive Director Neville’s unannounced presentation at the April Board meeting including a message that the STRS investment team is outperforming an indexed benchmark and has been transparent with information related to investment performance. This presentation was designed to demonstrate that the current leadership at STRS is doing a great job and should be rewarded with re-election.
At the April 2022 meeting of the STRS Board a proposed budget was submitted by STRS management. Interesting that the budget request included a 6% increase in wages for the employees, a 5.5% increase in fringe benefits, and increases to the performance-based incentive program (bonus pay). It was explained that about half of the 6% increase request for salary increase is due to the need to pay employees 27 pays instead of 26 pays. As I recall this calendar occurrence every several years, my district simply notified all employees that there would be an extra week between paychecks. I am seeking clarification from school treasurers that I know to help me understand things related to this issue more clearly.
~     ~     ~     ~     ~
New President Elect 
Mr. Dean Dennis was elected to the ORTA Executive Committee as the President Elect of ORTA. Dean will serve as the President Elect in '22, then as President in '23, and finally in the Past President position in '24. 
~     ~     ~     ~     ~
STRS Retirement Board Election Result 
On Saturday, May 7, 2022, the results of the State Teachers Retirement Board election were certified by a board of tellers appointed by the State Teachers Retirement Board and Election Services Company — the independent firm administering the election. The results of the election for the two contributing member seats on the Retirement Board are as follows:
  • Julie Sellers, 19,030 votes
  • Steven Foreman, 15,247 votes
  • Jeffrey Rhodes, 10,494 votes
  • Robert A. McFee, 9,817 votes
  • Write-Ins, 319 votes
The results of the election for the retired member seat on the Retirement Board are as follows:
  • Elizabeth Jones, 24,983 votes
  • Rita J. Walters, 21,229 votes
  • Write-Ins, 222 votes
The term of office for Steven Foreman, Elizabeth Jones and Julie Sellers will begin on Sept. 1, 2022, and will end on Aug. 31, 2026. (from STRS web page) 
What does this mean?
This means that STRS will have three new trustees starting in September of 2022. ORTA is convinced that the fact that three challengers defeated three incumbents signals that all STRS members, active contributors and retirees feel like new leadership is in order. What is important to note is that this vote says far more about the employees that reported to the trustees than it says about the trustees themselves. People are simply fed up with the management at STRS. Members have no control over the employees, except to elect new board members. Just like when I served as a superintendent of a school district, board of education seats are not about the volunteers that serve as board members, they are about the community’s satisfaction with the leadership of the district. The same rings true in this situation. 
The membership is not angry with the incumbents that were voted out; they are frustrated with the fact that the board members would not hold the management to account. We must recognize that holding a management team to account is very difficult, even more so when the management team does not share information critical to the fiduciary role a board member is responsible for. Current board member Wade Steen has voiced his concern that when management will not share information related to investment performance and bonus pay that his role as a fiduciary is difficult or impossible. We are hopeful that these election results will enable all board members to feel free to question the management team and hold them to account.
Robin Rayfield, ORTA Executive Director

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

 What me worry?

Monday, May 23, 2022

Ohio Teachers Pension Touts Past Transparency Awards, Fails To Disclose Special Investigation By State Auditor


May 23, 2022

Edward Siedle, Contributor
Pension forensics expert and record-setting whistleblower award winner
May 23, 2022
The truth is STRS Ohio, as well as the other Ohio retirement systems holding $250 billion in assets, all long ago—as they increasingly embraced secretive private investments—abandoned transparency. If you don’t believe me, request the “alternative” investment documents from any one of the funds and see what you get.
Ohio Teachers Pension Touts Past Transparency Awards, Fails To Disclose Special Investigation By State Auditor
The nearly $100 billion State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio never tires of telling its members of past transparency awards it has received from Ohio State Auditor Keith Faber. The fact that Faber’s office is currently conducting a special investigation into the pension’s transparency practices, prompted by public records lawsuits and numerous member complaints—the results of which could, says the auditor, affect the retirement system’s rating in the future—is not disclosed by the pension.
In April 2022 Board News under the heading, “STRS Ohio earns auditor of state’s top rating from transparency for second year,” the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio’s website boasts:
“Last month, Ohio Auditor Keith Faber posted the results of the annual Sunshine Law compliance review. The auditor’s office launched its STaRS (Star Rating System) program to promote government transparency. In both fiscal year 2020 and 2021, STRS Ohio received the Highest Achievement in Open and Transparent Government Award, the highest possible rating from the auditor’s office.”
Perhaps not surprising, this self-professed paragon of transparency is not touting the following ugly facts provided to me by the auditor’s office in a recent email:
“In October 2021, Auditor of State Keith Faber informed STRS that his office was launching a special audit after receiving numerous complaints, following the release of a report issued by Benchmark Financial Services Inc. titled The High Cost of Secrecy: Preliminary Findings of Forensic Investigation of State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio,” commissioned by Ohio Retired Teachers Association.
The audit work that led to the current StaRS rating of STRS was completed for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021, prior to the launch of this investigation (emphasis added). The Auditor of State’s Office expects to complete its special audit of STRS later this year. The results could affect the retirement system’s StaRS rating in the future (emphasis added).”
It is important to note that the above-mentioned preliminary forensic investigation of STRS Ohio commissioned by members of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association—some of whom apparently filed complaints about the pension with the Auditor’s office—was released to the public by my firm in June 2021. The findings included that the pension had long abandoned transparency.
As stated in the report:
“On February 19, 2021, we filed a request pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 149.49, et seq. for an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records related to the pension’s investment managers, investment consultants, performance compliance auditor, investment cost monitor, financial auditor, and custodians, as well as board and staff. The overwhelming majority of the most critical disclosure information we requested was summarily denied. That is, STRS simply permitted the investment firms involved to unilaterally determine whether the information we sought on behalf of stakeholders had to be disclosed under Ohio law. Not surprising, most firms granted the opportunity to oppose public scrutiny of their financial dealings with STRS, chose to do so.
Most disturbing, not a single prospectus or offering document required to be provided to all investors under our nation’s securities laws was provided to us in response to our public records request. As a result of the extensive denials of important public records requests, it is impossible for STRS stakeholders to evaluate the investment strategies, performance, fees, risks, and conflicts of interest related to the pension’s investment portfolio.
Accordingly, on May 21, 2021, we filed a complaint for writ mandamus with the Supreme Court of Ohio seeking certain STRS public records we have been denied.
The lack of cooperation by STRS is all-the-more surprising given that STRS is well-aware that this forensic review of the pension was commissioned, as well as paid for, by tens of thousands of participants, with the stated objective of improving management and oversight of the pension. Pension fiduciaries solely concerned with the best interests of participants and beneficiaries should welcome, not oppose, a free independent review by nationally recognized experts in pensions. Further, given the profound fiduciary breaches and disclosure concerns stakeholders (and even STRS’s own commissioned experts) have long raised, it is clear STRS could benefit from an independent review by experts—this time not of its own choosing.
Tellingly, in the pension’s Mission & Vision statement; Current Strategic Goals; Overview of STRS and Its Impact on the State; Statement of Investment Objectives and Policy; and Statement of Fund Governance, the word “transparency” does not appear even once. There is not a single mention of any transparency requirements, no discussion the benefits of transparency and no commitment to it. In our opinion, transparency, which would add not a single dollar of cost to the pension, would (through exposure) swiftly cure all that ails it—excessive fees, reckless risk-taking, unaddressed conflicts of interest, gross mismanagement and potential malfeasance.”
Evidently, Faber either did not read these damning findings in our report issued early June 2021 (and was not aware of our public records lawsuits filed in May, 2021) before issuing his latest transparency award to the pension for fiscal year 2021, or disagrees that withholding fundamental investment information regarding tens of billions in pension assets from public scrutiny is a serious concern. We’ll find out soon enough—when the auditor releases the results of his special investigation in the near future.
Will the state auditor’s rating of the teachers retirement system’s be changed? What about the other four retirement systems in Ohio which also permit Wall Street secrecy regarding their highest-risk, highest cost investments? Will their ratings be reviewed and inevitably downgraded? If so, what are the political implications? Are Ohio voters good with the largest funds in their state gambling stakeholder, including taxpayer, money in secret—free from public scrutiny?
To paraphrase King Mongkut of Siam in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, it is a “puzzlement” to me how a state pension that is supposed to be prudently investing the retirement savings of hundreds of thousands of teachers could refuse to disclose how their money is invested and still be considered transparent—even win a top award from the state auditor! A puzzlement.
As I told his office recently, “In my opinion, for the pension to tout its past transparency awards while under special audit of its transparency at this time is, at best, grossly misleading. I would encourage the auditor to let the pension and/or the public know whether or not, in his opinion, such incomplete disclosure is misleading.”
When I asked Faber’s office what the StaRS rating involved, I was told:
“StaRS was created to gauge how well public agencies are following the state’s open meetings and records laws, awarding single stars for basic compliance with Sunshine law provisions and additional stars for additional best practices agencies implement.
The StaRS portion of any public entity’s audit was never intended to evaluate the contents and legality of every public records response, just that agencies were in compliance with the law. The legality of the responses are left to the courts to determine.”
Read the rest of the article here.

New Battle Over Finances, Investments, and Leadership at STRS Ohio

From STRS Ohio Watchdogs

May 23, 2022

Watch as NBC4 investigative reporter Colleen Marshal talks to Julie Sellers, STRS Ohio Board Member Elect, and Dean Dennis, Founder of the STRS Ohio Watchdogs, about the philosophy and culture at STRS Ohio which pays high salaries and bonuses to staff while suspending the 2% simple COLA for Ohio's teachers for nearly 7 years.

Watch Colleen Marshall's report at

Ohio teachers' donations to the OEA political action committee (PAC)

From John Curry

May 23, 2022

You are not going to believe this. Here are only 10 pages (top donors) out of 700 pages(!) of Ohio teachers donations to the OEA PAC!!!! I am totally shocked at this extreme amount and donations!!! WOW!

Here are just 10 pages worth...and the link you can click on to go to see this yourself. The OEA has money to burn thanks to the ignorant teachers who donate to it!!! Some names look familiar...including Tim Myers!!!

I wonder how many WILL NOT donate next year????? The OEA really has pulled the wool over these teachers' brains!

$500.00 John A Veverka INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 Lynn T Maecker INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 Parry L Norris INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 Rebecca J Mayer INDIVIDUAL

$496.00 Deborah E Molnar INDIVIDUAL

$495.00 Justen Seay INDIVIDUAL

$490.00 Constance J Barefoot INDIVIDUAL

$490.00 Tamara A Segulin INDIVIDUAL

$488.00 Paige K Harding INDIVIDUAL

$485.00 Ella Jordan M Isaac INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Christiane G Swisher INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Christine B Linnabary INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Craig Porter Huffman INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Derrick R Ehlen INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Gregory W Koltas INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 James L Allison INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Julia R Barthelmes INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Lisa K Kozsey INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Scott R Kinkoph INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Theresa H Allen INDIVIDUAL

$476.00 Geoff D Mize INDIVIDUAL

$476.00 Jordi S Vilanova INDIVIDUAL

$476.00 Richard G Hollow INDIVIDUAL

$475.00 Emilly Joann Osterling INDIVIDUAL

$471.00 Dwayne Marshall INDIVIDUAL

$1,070.00 William A Dorsey INDIVIDUAL

$1,061.00 Karen L Carpenter INDIVIDUAL

$1,060.00 Matthew A Ides INDIVIDUAL

$1,055.00 Scott W Dimauro INDIVIDUAL

$1,040.00 Lynn M Aring INDIVIDUAL

$1,040.00 Sylvia K Duvall INDIVIDUAL

$1,032.00 Sophia M Rodriguez INDIVIDUAL

$1,022.00 Patricia L Dice INDIVIDUAL

$1,020.00 Carol A Cross INDIVIDUAL

$1,020.00 Vernia G Shaffer INDIVIDUAL

$1,016.00 Mary Alice Conkey INDIVIDUAL

$1,000.00 David B Williams INDIVIDUAL

$1,000.00 Randall Gardner INDIVIDUAL

$965.00 Anne M Nolan INDIVIDUAL

$960.00 Jason C Scherer INDIVIDUAL

$940.00 Lanetta Tyus INDIVIDUAL

$918.00 Daniel M Vallette INDIVIDUAL

$915.00 Amelia R Grittani INDIVIDUAL

$908.00 Amy J Newman INDIVIDUAL

$902.99 Arthur B Lard INDIVIDUAL

$897.00 Nancy B Smith INDIVIDUAL

$875.00 Jeffrey Wensing INDIVIDUAL

$870.00 Robert L Dusch INDIVIDUAL

$850.00 Traci L Arway INDIVIDUAL

$839.00 Ann L Walz INDIVIDUAL

$835.00 Bruce A Moore INDIVIDUAL

$835.00 Carol L Price INDIVIDUAL

$821.00 William S Lavezzi INDIVIDUAL

$820.00 Alexander P Nelson INDIVIDUAL

$820.00 John Robert Fetters INDIVIDUAL

$820.00 Kevin D Griffin INDIVIDUAL

$820.00 Sandra M Perry INDIVIDUAL

$810.00 Jennifer L Doan INDIVIDUAL

$800.00 Rebecca S Brown INDIVIDUAL

$795.00 Nicholas Gurich INDIVIDUAL

$793.00 Jessica L Holland INDIVIDUAL

$790.00 Kevin L Knauff INDIVIDUAL

$790.00 Tim E Myers INDIVIDUAL

$785.00 Patty T Nyquist INDIVIDUAL

$784.00 Mary J Kennedy INDIVIDUAL

$780.00 Carol A Kinsey INDIVIDUAL

$776.00 Kathleen A Abrahamson INDIVIDUAL

$765.00 Phil A Long INDIVIDUAL

$750.00 Susan W Messinger INDIVIDUAL

$724.00 Robert Chewning Thompson INDIVIDUAL

$723.00 Darcy Megan Meadows INDIVIDUAL

$720.00 Tricia Sanders INDIVIDUAL

$690.00 Amber L Noonan INDIVIDUAL

$690.00 Tricia D Fisher INDIVIDUAL

$689.00 Mary G Eaton INDIVIDUAL

$682.00 Kelli C Green INDIVIDUAL

$676.00 Dorothy J West-Mclinn INDIVIDUAL

$676.00 Rocco J Covelli INDIVIDUAL

$675.00 Marsha A Hawley INDIVIDUAL

$674.00 Frank E Melillo INDIVIDUAL

$670.00 Rachel Shannon Hahn INDIVIDUAL

$670.00 Susan C Cramer INDIVIDUAL

$650.00 Barry T Alcock INDIVIDUAL

$650.00 Jennifer Ann Dudley INDIVIDUAL

$640.00 Angela M Bruno INDIVIDUAL

$636.00 Erin Alizabeth Salzer INDIVIDUAL

$635.00 Amy C White INDIVIDUAL

$635.00 Debra J Gann INDIVIDUAL

$629.00 Ronald E Pilatowski INDIVIDUAL

$625.00 Lillian M Tolbert INDIVIDUAL

$624.00 Pamela L Smith INDIVIDUAL

$624.00 Patricia L Huber INDIVIDUAL

$620.00 Edward F Sims INDIVIDUAL

$615.00 Christina W Swank INDIVIDUAL

$610.00 Joel B Gleason INDIVIDUAL

$603.50 Joseph M Zombek INDIVIDUAL

$602.00 Jerry L Oberhaus INDIVIDUAL

$600.00 Maria Mueller INDIVIDUAL

$600.00 Robert A Mcfee INDIVIDUAL

$595.00 Lauren E Stanislaw

$592.46 Joseph M Lobozzo INDIVIDUAL

$589.00 Stacy Recker INDIVIDUAL

$580.00 Emily R Johnson INDIVIDUAL

$580.00 James Mackin INDIVIDUAL

$578.00 Carol A Coudle INDIVIDUAL

$576.00 Cynthia A Endres INDIVIDUAL

$576.00 Jeff Mesko INDIVIDUAL

$575.00 Rebecca L Higgins INDIVIDUAL

$571.00 Brian D Morgan INDIVIDUAL

$570.00 Kevin Cain INDIVIDUAL

$570.00 Linda B Repko INDIVIDUAL

$565.00 Brenda L Lemon INDIVIDUAL

$565.00 Irene J Spraggins INDIVIDUAL

$565.00 Karen Sue Linch INDIVIDUAL

$557.00 P Damian Dagenbach INDIVIDUAL

$556.00 Jennifer R Murray INDIVIDUAL

$556.00 Kimberly I Thomas INDIVIDUAL

$556.00 Wendy S Fafata-Roberts INDIVIDUAL

$555.00 Steven D Jones INDIVIDUAL

$554.00 Hope L Hughes-Jones INDIVIDUAL

$550.00 Dawn M Villares INDIVIDUAL

$550.00 Debra E Bernauer INDIVIDUAL

$550.00 Jeremy A Baiman INDIVIDUAL

$550.00 Robert I Haynes INDIVIDUAL

$550.00 Todd V Dygert INDIVIDUAL

$545.00 Kecia M Sanders-Stewart INDIVIDUAL

$540.00 Kim M Richards INDIVIDUAL

$540.00 Lisa S Croce INDIVIDUAL

$540.00 Michael A Catheline INDIVIDUAL

$539.00 Joyce L Coney-Lacy INDIVIDUAL

$536.00 Jason E Saiter INDIVIDUAL

$535.00 Susan Withers INDIVIDUAL

$530.00 Karen D Matteson INDIVIDUAL

$530.00 Laura Ellen Mclaughlin INDIVIDUAL

$530.00 Michelle L Meuler INDIVIDUAL

$528.00 Amy S Yevincy INDIVIDUAL

$528.00 Nola K Brooks INDIVIDUAL

$524.00 Amanda L Koenig INDIVIDUAL

$522.00 Josi J Davis INDIVIDUAL

$520.00 Eileen Eilbacher INDIVIDUAL

$520.00 Kari L Krabill INDIVIDUAL

$520.00 Mary Kay Ryan INDIVIDUAL

$520.00 Paula J Wagner INDIVIDUAL

$520.00 Scott W Dimauro INDIVIDUAL

$516.66 Marnie S Fletcher INDIVIDUAL

$510.00 Griselda G Martinez INDIVIDUAL

$510.00 William J Eversole INDIVIDUAL

$504.00 Morgan L Kolis INDIVIDUAL

$501.00 Darlene L Mallett INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 Ellen A Adornetto INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 John A Veverka INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 Lynn T Maecker INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 Parry L Norris INDIVIDUAL

$500.00 Rebecca J Mayer INDIVIDUAL

$496.00 Deborah E Molnar INDIVIDUAL

$495.00 Justen Seay INDIVIDUAL

$490.00 Constance J Barefoot INDIVIDUAL

$490.00 Tamara A Segulin INDIVIDUAL

$488.00 Paige K Harding INDIVIDUAL

$485.00 Ella Jordan M Isaac INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Christiane G Swisher INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Christine B Linnabary INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Craig Porter Huffman INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Derrick R Ehlen INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Gregory W Koltas INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 James L Allison INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Julia R Barthelmes INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Lisa K Kozsey INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Scott R Kinkoph INDIVIDUAL

$480.00 Theresa H Allen INDIVIDUAL

$476.00 Geoff D Mize INDIVIDUAL

$476.00 Jordi S Vilanova INDIVIDUAL

$476.00 Richard G Hollow INDIVIDUAL

$475.00 Emilly Joann Osterling INDIVIDUAL

$471.00 Dwayne Marshall

$471.00 Jeffrey R Caivano INDIVIDUAL

$470.00 Patrick W Lyke INDIVIDUAL

$467.50 Sue A Stark INDIVIDUAL

$465.00 Elizabeth Aylmer Hankins INDIVIDUAL

$465.00 Mark F Brugger INDIVIDUAL

$464.00 Jeannette M Pecora INDIVIDUAL

$460.00 Kathleen M Heinmiller INDIVIDUAL

$460.00 Molly Jane Farrell INDIVIDUAL

$460.00 Parry L Norris INDIVIDUAL

$458.00 Angela Dyer M Sanchez INDIVIDUAL

$455.00 Susanne L Best INDIVIDUAL

$455.00 William R Sears INDIVIDUAL

$451.00 Jacqueline K Ryan INDIVIDUAL

$451.00 Lisa Ann Gundler INDIVIDUAL

$450.00 John T Coneglio INDIVIDUAL

$450.00 Sarah Drinkard INDIVIDUAL

$446.00 Kelly A Modlich INDIVIDUAL

$444.28 Rita M Chahda-Gonzalez INDIVIDUAL

$442.00 Patricia C Murdock INDIVIDUAL

$441.00 Marchell L Josie INDIVIDUAL

$440.00 Amanda M Ewing INDIVIDUAL

$440.00 Catherine A Racz INDIVIDUAL

$440.00 Debby S Warthen INDIVIDUAL

$440.00 Donna L Oconnor INDIVIDUAL

$440.00 Sheri L Nott

$440.00 Tim E Myers INDIVIDUAL

$434.00 Monique S Davis INDIVIDUAL

$432.00 Patricia C Murdock INDIVIDUAL

$431.00 Geoff D Mize INDIVIDUAL

$431.00 Teresa J Doughty INDIVIDUAL

$430.00 Regina A Reynolds INDIVIDUAL

$428.00 Connie J Campbell INDIVIDUAL

$426.00 Andrew M Smith INDIVIDUAL

$426.00 Stephen D Fairs INDIVIDUAL

$424.00 Troy M Combs INDIVIDUAL

$420.00 Julie A Nelson INDIVIDUAL

$420.00 Scott W Dimauro INDIVIDUAL

$416.00 Ami L Baumgartner INDIVIDUAL

$415.00 Tyler J Meyer INDIVIDUAL

$415.00 William B Klatt INDIVIDUAL

$412.00 Deloris Rome Hudson INDIVIDUAL

$412.00 Donald L Traxler INDIVIDUAL

$410.00 Mary Alice Conkey INDIVIDUAL

$407.95 John S Lanning INDIVIDUAL

$407.00 Anne L Bowles INDIVIDUAL

$407.00 James Naab INDIVIDUAL

$407.00 Julia J Papcke-Russell INDIVIDUAL

$404.00 Cheryl A Porter INDIVIDUAL

$400.00 Catherine A Monteiro INDIVIDUAL

$400.00 Dianne M Noice INDIVIDUAL

$400.00 Marilyn R Allen INDIVIDUAL

$400.00 Sonja A Dendinger INDIVIDUAL

$400.00 Wayne L Wlodarski INDIVIDUAL

$400.00 William E Noice INDIVIDUAL

$399.88 Kenneth William Beuther INDIVIDUAL

$395.00 Mary E Binegar INDIVIDUAL

$393.90 Bradley J Strong INDIVIDUAL

$393.25 Sharon B Staskus INDIVIDUAL

$393.00 Jill Lynette Urbaniak INDIVIDUAL

$393.00 Melissa M Hare INDIVIDUAL

$390.00 Brian P Mcconnell INDIVIDUAL

$390.00 Debra A Lipnos INDIVIDUAL

$390.00 Marian Ann M Becker INDIVIDUAL

$390.00 Nicole A Richardson INDIVIDUAL

$390.00 Patrick Odwyer INDIVIDUAL

$389.00 Willie A Terrell INDIVIDUAL

$387.00 Brian S Foutty INDIVIDUAL

$385.00 Debi L Ballard INDIVIDUAL

$384.00 Kimberly R Ogilbee INDIVIDUAL

$383.00 Barbara I Armour INDIVIDUAL

$381.00 Cristina Munoz-Nedrow INDIVIDUAL

$381.00 Jennifer L Long INDIVIDUAL

$381.00 Toni B Bonacci-Engelman INDIVIDUAL

$380.00 Jerry Bedilion INDIVIDUAL

$380.00 Jodelle D Klamfoth

Dan MacDonald addresses the STRS Board 5/19/22 re: the 27th check and more

Good morning, I am Dan MacDonald, an STRS retiree with 38 years of service and I am also the Executive Director of Local 279-R, NEO AFT AFL-CIO retirees. 
Last month the FY2023 Budget was presented with a 3% merit-based raise, which, when questioned by the Board, basically is received by all STRS staff. Additionally, this year happens to have 27 paychecks, not the normal 26. Because of the 27th check, an additional $2.1 million appears to be added to the budget. To be more exact, “27th pay accounts for $2.1 million of the $2.6 million increase.” The majority of the STRS staff is SALARIED. Salary covers the salaried year, be it 26 or 27 checks. The 27th check should be overall cost neutral. Instead of dividing salary by 26, payroll divides by 27. Is this STRS Board really giving the staff an extra full paycheck which would include the three percent raise? I would also point out that the STRS staff does get automatic pay raises. When was the last time a 3% raise was not issued?  Ask these questions during public session. Elected Board members, go back to your districts and ask your district treasurer how a 27th check is determined for your district’s salaried employees.  Appointed Board members, do some research. Board members, do not vote for this budget without a public airing of the $2.1 million added for the 27th check. 
Last month I addressed an issue regarding an STRS retiree in a rehab facility, who now you should know, has paid $30,000 because she is not making progress and can’t be sent home. I mentioned the costs Medicare covers for rehab and its coverage for up to 100 days. I guess I was confusing. Our STRS health plan is way better than just Medicare coverage. If progress is being made, the STRS plan has unlimited coverage, as many days as need. So, the Health Committee should inquire who surpasses 100 days?  AETNA rules on progress being made, ask for a summary of the benefits paid for retirees staying over 100 days. This is not a HIPAA violation, you are paying the bills and have a right to get a summary of services of the plan, not by name but by descriptive code. Over 100 days  of rehab is extremely rare because the goal is to get the patient home and rehab to be at the home. It is only the stuck patient, the one not making progress, who is usually single, without family who can’t go home because of no viable exit plan, who remains and is paying from their life’s savings. 
My point though, wasn’t the plan or Medicare, my point is to have the Benefit Department develop workshops for actives and retirees about the ins & outs of health plans, the strengths and weaknesses of options, and preparing for the future which could contain a possible financial catastrophe when the health plan doesn’t pay.  
As always, actives need their benefits enhanced and retirees need a permanent COLA.

Dan MacDonald's report on 5/19/22 STRS Board meeting


Robert Walters and Dan MacDonald attended the May 19, 2022 Board meeting called to order at 9 a.m. All Board members were present in one form (present) or another (electronically, Steen). After approval of the minutes, the Investment Department reported that the preliminary total fund return for April was a NEGATIVE 4.03%. The preliminary FY22 total fund return is estimated at 0.11%. Total investment assets ended April at $91.6 billion, lower by $3.2 billion in FY22. [The following statements are for your awareness. All these number are VIP. The market had a very rough month. STRS has an assumed rate of return for a fiscal year (FY) at 7%. The FY ends June 30. Presently we are estimated at 0.11%. Only May and June are left to reach 7%]. The Board reviewed and approved the Statement of Investment Objectives and Policy and Statement of Fund Governance. The new asset allocations will now be the Investment Department’s goals. The Board reviewed the semiannual broker evaluation and associated policies for the first half of FY23. The Board reviewed the Performance-Based Incentive Program for FY23. Two positions were eliminated for the incentives. There was a lot of discussion regarding the PBI and also STRS’s compensation policy in general. The PBI Policy will be voted on during the June Board meeting. Steen asked about April’s large purchase of Phillip Morris stock. The investment was a “defensive” purchase. Price asked about the chances of a recession. The response was it is increasing and will be on the June agenda.

The Finance Department had outside consultant Cheiron review economic assumptions for the June 30, 2022 actuarial valuation. Charts were presented on STRS’s historical rate of return experiences, industry trends using 200 large retirement plan, regulatory changes, the Board’s risk preference and how it has changed since 1992 [currently 7%], plan dynamics [think contributions and normal costs plus interest on the unfunded liability. Cheiron still projects reaching fully funded in 8 to 16 years]. Basically, Cheiron recommends assumptions of a rate of return between 6.25% to 7.0%, inflation rate of 2.5% [yes, inflation is projected to fall], and payroll growth to continue at 3%. [This does not mean another COLA is in the pipe. It means STRS is going in the right direction.]

The Member Benefits Department did a presentation on pension benefit comparisons against other pension plans.  Systems are all over the place with final salary averages, COLAs, health care coverage, contribution rates, benefit multiplier. Director Neville did comment on “Inflation Protection” and hopes to present STRS’s ideas at the Board’s November Planning and Education Meeting. [If you have the time you should go to and download the Member Benefits slide presentation.]

The Executive Director reported on 4 areas. As of April 30th, there are 400 fewer applications in for retirement than last year, a 23% decline. Hunt asked Neville to respond to Ohio State Representative Phil Plummer’s meeting  questioning STRS on the pension paying $0.77 on each dollar contributed; 6% pay raise; low investment returns; and transparency. Neville had a response basically pointing out the inaccuracies of the accusations. Fichtenbaum was the only Board member to push back on Neville’s responses. Seven retirees and one active, Julie Sellers, spoke during Public Participation. Newly elected Sellers shared that STRS had made no contact with her to this point in time and asked for an informational packet, orientation dates, and tour of the building. [Good start for Julie]

After lunch a presentation of STRS Ohio HQ Building was presented. The original 3 story building was built in 1958. The building was expanded in 1977. A third phase was in 1988 and the last phase was 1998. Four potential solutions were presented, lease unused space; consolidate; relocate; maintain. Each option was discussed. After discussion, the Board will further explore the building’s future.

Routine Matters followed. Under old business, Price brought up the Rule of 92, a combination of years of service and age. The rule combines years of service and age to reach a retirement.  The Board voted to hired outside consultant Cheiron to explore this and similar point-based retirements options.

The next Board meeting will be June 16, 2022.

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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