Thursday, March 30, 2023

You'll never guess who has been subsidizing the STRS cafeteria all these years!

From John Curry

March 30, 2023
The Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System is located is right in their same building. BUT....their cafeteria is a private corporation which operates FOR A PROFIT!!! It is NOT subsidized by the Ohio Highway Patrol employees.... unlike Teachers the Troopers wouldn't put up with that crap, would they?
Here you go...take a tour of their cafe...and their prices are not dirt cheap like the STRS "giveaway cafe." Here's a link to their menu and prices....THEY MAKE A PROFIT as they are a company in business TO MAKE A PROFIT! WHAT A NOVEL IDEA! Hey, Billy, are you paying attention?
P.S. A hamburger at Polaris Parkway Cafe is $8.50. A hamburger at the STRS Giveaway Cafe is only $3.50. Guess who is subsidizing the $5.00 difference? Go take a look in the mirror!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

John Curry: Damning reasons why the Columbus Dispatch protects Bill Neville and STRS

From John Curry

March 28, 2023
So...why is the Columbus Dispatch soooo protective of Bill Neville and STRS? I can answer this question with one word....MONEY! Some people say "money works in strange ways." I say it is not so strange when you see who the players are....but most people never take time to peek behind the curtain, do they?
I'll start by saying that STRS has hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars invested in one of the "players" ..."Apollo."
With the sweetheart connection below you can see why the Columbus Dispatch (a Gannett-owned newspaper) is in bed with Billy and his pals at STRS!
Slide 1 - a most recent listing of alternatives/hedge fund companies that STRS invests in. It was in their most recent CAFR.
Slide 2 - The history of the business arrangement of Apollo/Gannett/Columbus Dispatch
Slide 3 - STRS investments in Apollo as of March 2021. Now do you see why Laura Bischoff/the Columbus Dispatch are soooo friendly with Billy and STRS?
IF....IF STRS goes to indexed investing, they they will get rid of our hundreds of millions of dollars in Apollo! Apollo would't like that, would they? They just love STRS's fat and juicy investment fees with them, don't they? Neither would the Columbus Dispatch! Sorry, Laura!
Now do you readers see how the pieces of this giant puzzle are beginning to fit together???


Pat Davidson is an active teacher in the Berea, Ohio schools and is currently running for the open seat on the STRS Board. Below are snapshots of his campaign flyer. To access the many live links, please see the flyer at 

Go to to access all the live links for these images, and to vote for Pat Davidson if you are an active teacher. Your future depends on it.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

STRS FLASHBACK 2003: Controversy surrounds STRS’s awarding of bonuses

From John Curry

March 26, 2023
So, you think the STRS Bonus controversy is something new? Let us move the clock back 2 decades to 2003. We were putting up with the same crap back then. Nothing changes, does it?
Controversy surrounds STRS’s awarding of bonuses
Canton Repository / Stan Myers
July 13, 2003
PLAYGROUND. The State Teachers Retirement System headquarters in Columbus includes a child-care center (center) for employees’ children. The director of the center, Jodi L. Wells, earned a bonus in part for maintaining “open communication between parents and staff.”
Copley Columbus Bureau chief
COLUMBUS — The people who run the pension system for Ohio’s teachers got millions in bonuses for attending workshops, talking to parents and keeping spreadsheets of expenses.
The bonuses are just one of the controversies swirling around spending by the State Teachers Retirement System. Critics blast the payments as an example of excessive spending. The system paid nearly $19 million in bonuses to its investment and non-investment staff from 2000 to 2003. During that same period, health care costs for retired teachers skyrocketed, and the pension fund’s portfolio plummeted.
By comparison, the larger Ohio Public Employees Retirement System gives only its investment staff bonuses, and those bonuses totaled just $2.06 million from 2000 through 2002.
The controversy about the teachers system’s spending has led nearly 80 percent of Ohio lawmakers and Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery to call for Executive Director Herbert Dyer to resign. The system’s board met for nearly five hours behind closed doors Thursday to talk about “staff performance, compensation and other terms and conditions of employment;” many think the discussion focused on the terms under which Dyer will leave.
Meanwhile, the teachers pension board has temporarily suspended all bonuses as it reconsiders its policy.
Documents from the last full year for which bonuses were paid — the fiscal year that ended in June 2002 — showed at least 42 supervisors reached 100 percent of their bonus goals. Records for another eight employees did not make it clear if goals were met.
Of the 15 who did not meet all their goals, 10 were in the 90 to 96 percent range. For example, Damon Asbury, deputy executive director of administration, reached 96 percent of his goals and got a $49,728 bonus. That was on top of his $148,000 salary.
Shun Koizumi, supervisor of the copy center, was the least successful at reaching planned goals, 60 percent, but that was good enough for a $1,367 bonus tacked onto a $45,580 salary.
According to retirement system officials, the performance-based incentive program was set up so organizational goals could be achieved cost effectively.
“The goals are to expand beyond the associate’s regular assignments, representing additional initiatives and increased workload outside the normal scope of responsibility,” says one document.
Each employee develops and assigns a weight to his or her own goals. They’re approved by the employee’s immediate supervisor, the deputy executive director overseeing that department and Dyer.
At the end of the year, the employee reports whether he or she met the goals and by what percentage. That assessment is approved by the same three officers.
Teachers retirement system officials say the program is one reason member satisfaction with their pension system exceeds 95 percent.
What are some of the bonus goals that were above regular assignments and workload?
 • Fifteen percent of Jodi L. Wells’ goals as director of the system’s child care center was to “continue to maintain open communication between parents and staff.”
She also was supposed to “stay abreast of latest research dealing with the Information Technology field as it relates to children’s use.” In other words, she read about Internet filters and talked to parents and staff about them.
Wells also was to “maintain awareness of budget and continue to explore options to increase efficiency.” To reach that goal, she created spreadsheets and monitored monthly spending.
All told, Wells achieved 93.8 percent of her goals and got an $8,639 bonus on top of her $61,400 salary.
• Carol Hamilton, supervisor of food services, achieved 100 percent of her goals in 2001-2002 and received a $1,965 bonus. Her goals for 2002-2003 were nearly identical. For example, in both years, four of her six goals were maintaining her dietary manager’s certification, performing employee safety training, assuring technical training for the food service staff, and making sure the staff was certified.
• To help earn his $13,462 bonus as the supervisor of business systems analysis, David Donithen participated in “a minimum of three formal activities to enhance technology and/or investments related knowledge.” In doing so, he met 20 percent of his incentives for the 2001-2002 fiscal year.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, Donithen proposed going to two formal activities, counting toward 15 percent of his bonus.
Not reaching the goals has no effect on regular salaries or cost-of-living raises that supervisory staff receive.
According to the system’s spokeswoman, Laura Ecklar, any employee who gets a negative annual review or a “needs improvement” notation is not eligible for a bonus.
The number of non-investment employees eligible for bonuses increased from 46 in 2000 to 66 this year.
Retirement system officials and their consultants defended the incentive plan to the Ohio Retirement Study Council last week.
Lawmakers questioned why the STRS bonuses are “so vastly different” than those at the state’s four other pension funds.
Deborah Scott, chairwoman of the teachers’ board, said the program is based on the advice of consultants, Dyer and staff, who said the bonuses generally follow those at similarly sized pension funds in other states.
But council Chairman Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, called the bonuses “extraordinary” and said he was “extremely upset” by “a lot of misjudgment.”
“Help me out here,” said Rep. John Boccieri, D-New Middletown, addressing Peter Gundy with Buck Consultants, who was hired by the pension fund. “How do you justify bonuses for the copy center supervisor, the day care director and the maintenance supervisor?”
Gundy said his firm did not address incentives for those positions when it advised the board.
Boccieri asked if his firm consulted the retirement system members about the bonus policy.
“No,” Gundy responded.

What happens if your local teachers association leaves the OEA and the NEA? Several NE Ohio groups have done just that, and they are flourishing. Take a look. (OEA, maybe you should, too.)

“We love our local union, but don’t like what the OEA has done with our pension.”

We are hearing this from so many teachers these days. Maybe they should take a look at what some other locals have done.
In the late 1970s, the teachers of the Akron School District voted overwhelmingly to disaffiliate from OEA/NEA. Their purpose for this change was to seek the autonomy that comes from being independent, plus a reduction in dues cost.
But it also helped them become strong union advocates that could be just as aggressive, if not more so, than the state and national union affiliates they once belonged to.
During the separation process, OEA/NEA used many scare tactics, all of which were overcome. The biggest was on the subject of liability insurance, which was easily resolved with a group liability plan.
As of 2018, the AEA, the Akron Education Association, annual dues were $235.00 This modest assessment covered a group liability plan, a legal retainer, officers, and an employed secretary. 
There are three other NE Ohio districts that followed the footsteps of the AEA: Solon, Shaker Heights, and Kent. All of them remain independent today. 
OEA, are you listening?
Submitted by a friend of teachers
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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