Friday, February 23, 2024

STRS Board election numbers: 2018 - 2022

From John Curry

February 23, 2024 
It's time for a little Ohio (recent) History 101!
Maybe, by NOT running a candidate, the OEA will save some bucks. Here's how much they spent on the 2022 spring election...minus TV advertisements. Notice how Julie, Steve and Elizabeth "cleaned their candidates' clocks"....just like they did at the 2023 election where Pat Davidson cleaned Art Lard's clock also? The OEA really starting spending big bucks when they realized that Ohio teachers were discovering how the OEA's former endorsed Board members were "part of our problem!" Their endorsed candidates were simply "rubber stamping" the STRS administration's desires! IT took time to "sink in" to teachers' brains but it finally did!
P.S. for you history buffs out there here is the tally from the LAST STRS Board election (spring of 2023):
Pat Davidson (MOF-endorsed) 20,410
Arthur Lard (OEA-endorsed) 8,053

Steen vs. Bishop case continues; oral hearing before merit panel scheduled for 03/26/2024


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Make sure you're sitting down when you read THIS one!

Moving the Chess Pieces of Power

Connecting the Dots…and the Scandals


February 22, 2024

Often, in broken states like Ohio, the movement of chess pieces that control both power and money is hidden behind the chaos of extremism that dominates statehouse politics on a daily basis.

As we watch and react to the high-profile stuff, those in power make maneuvers on the low-profile stuff that have a huge impact on money and power. And the more watchdogs and journalists and independent checks and balances go by the wayside, the more these maneuvers take place with no one knowing. Or….after it’s too late.

Want an example?

Here’s an instructive one, and it involves the Retired Teachers Pension Board I’ve been writing about.

Maybe others saw it, but I confess, I missed it. And although I’m an outsider to Columbus, I try to keep up as best as I can. (Always feel free to email me any stories you think I’m missing—this insight came from one such email).

Two Simultaneous Power Plays

This example brings together two of the biggest issues I’ve focused on recently.

First, I’ve pointed out how problematic the Governor’s brute-force takeover of Ohio’s independent Ohio School Board has been. That takeover gutted the institutional checks and balances that voters put in place 70 years ago to keep politicians (and their backers) from riding herd over state education policy. And it eliminated Ohio voters’ direct say on the direction of Ohio education.

The coup over major educational decisions was timed right after 2012 results that the state’s GOP didn’t like. And unless an Ohio court overturns it (litigation is pending), it’s basically succeeded for now—which should scare the hell out of all of us. Decisions over vouchers, curriculum, etc. are now being made behind closed doors by the very people who brought us the ECOT and FirstEnergy scandals.

At the same time, I’ve been equally alarmed by the fact that the Governor was so eager to terminate and replace a board member of the 11-member Retired Teachers Pension Board that he violated Ohio law (according to a recent magistrate’s decision) to do so—directly and personally intervening to nullify the outcome of a highly contested board election. That too is still in the courts.

Those of you who keep up with my newsletters are well versed on both these issues.

The Connection

Beyond the broader attack on public schools and teachers, there’s a direct and very precise connection between these two issues. Amid these simultaneous disputes, a major chess piece moved with hardly any discussion (although I have no doubt it was discussed with glee by the insiders). Here’s that move:

With more than $90B under their collective purview, impacting 100,000s of members, each of the Teachers Pension board’s 11 seats is incredibly important. Each individual seat is so important, apparently, that the Governor was willing to, according to that magistrate’s decision, break the law to ensure he exerted controlled over just a single seat.

But for years, the seat from which he removed that member is the only seat out of the 11 that the Governor directly appoints (to a four-year term). Amid the 11 total seats, the allocation has represented a careful balance of various and independent stakeholders. Here’s how it breaks down:
•  One Governor appointee
•  Five seats representing current/contributing teachers (determined via elections of those teachers) —in recent years, each of these seats has been hotly contested
•  Two seats representing retirees (also determined via elections) — again, each of these, hotly contested
•  One member appointed jointly by the speaker of the Ohio House and the Senate president, and 
•  One member designated by the State Treasurer.

Count them up, and that’s 10 total.

The 11th member — well, that’s the interesting one I want to talk about now.

You see, if you look at recent minutes of the STRS Board meetings, you’ll see that the 11th board member has been someone named Scott Hunt.

The minutes make clear that Mr. Hunt has been sitting on the board as the designated representative of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. (Of late, due to a vacancy, he’s been the designee of the Interim Superintendent. But now we have a new Superintendent, whose name is Paul Craft.)

So the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Ohio (or her/his designee) has been that 11th member of the Pension Board.

And who chooses the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Ohio?

She or he is selected by the State School Board (again, that independent body made up of both elected and appointed members, the powers of which the Governor attacked in his state school board takeover). Given that the voters of Ohio gave this independent body a major role over education generally—and that Ohio voters vote for a majority of the State School Board members—having the Superintendent whom the Board selects sit on the Retired Teachers Board makes sense. And just like other checks and balances, that seat would’ve brought a unique and independent view to the pension board, apart from other board members, be they the governor’s or treasurer’s appointees or the elected members.

BUT…those minutes above were from a few months ago.

If you look at the current list of the 11 Retired Teachers Board members  on the website, you won’t find the name Scott Hunt anywhere.

You’ll see all the members I listed above, but no Scott Hunt. (You won’t even see the name Paul Craft, or even the title Superintendent of Public Instruction mentioned in the minutes above.)

Who do you see instead as the 11th board member?

This guy (this photo is from the website):

Who is this?

His name is Steve Dackin, and as the graphic says, he’s the newly appointed Director of the Department of Education and Workforce. As the controversial school board takeover law commanded, Dackin was appointed to that director role by the Governor (not the state school board) late last year. (And the Governor selected him despite the fact that he had previously resigned from being Superintendent for having violated ethics rules.)
So why is he suddenly on the Retired Teacher Pension Board?
Because one of the powers the Governor and legislature stripped from the State School Board and Superintendent of Public Instruction was that they eliminated the Superintendent’s Pension Board seat.
And who gets to occupy that 11th seat instead? The newly created Director of the Department of Education and Workforce.
Now, you’d be forgiven for not noticing this. This change is not mentioned in the summary of the change that took place on the Department of Education's website. It didn’t get mentioned in stories covering the takeover of the state school board, even as the spirited pension board fight was playing out over just one seat at the same time.
But if you look at the Ohio statutory provision outlining the Retirement Board makeup, you’ll see the change is written clearly (ORC 3307.05)—right up top. And it’s effective October 3, 2023 (when they passed and Governor signed the takeover bill).
And finally—who makes the appointment of the new position of the Director of Education and Workforce, and as a result, the appointment of that newly configured Retired Teachers Pension Board seat?
Answer: the Governor, approved by the State Senate.
So amid the carefully balanced state school board—where the Governor and legislature each had a single seat, and the School Board/Superintendent had a separate and independent seat—the Governor basically grabbed himself a second seat.
That’s right, through the State School Board takeover, he also doubled his power on the Retired Teachers Pension board.
And when seats are so valuable that each election for one is heavily contested—so crucial that a magistrate ruled that the Governor broke the law to control what happens in one seat—that shift from an independent body being represented on the board to a second Governor’s seat is a BIG switch.
Another coup of control.
One that has, from what I can gather, hardly been noticed even as the makeup of the board has been such a source of controversy for the past year.
Ironic, isn’t it—DeWine may have broken the law to assert control over one seat, but while we’ve been watching that battle, he and the legislature managed to change Ohio law to get himself a second appointment, and to double his potential influence on the board.
After the Switch…
What’s interesting is that apparently this switch was done with such stealth, and such speed, that even though Ohio law says that the director of the department of education and workforce or her or his designee is the current board member, and even though Dackin is listed as the board member since (according to the website) being “appointed to office in 2023,” (his appointment was finalized on December 6), Scott Hunt STILL took part in the December 13 meeting.
And he did so not as the designee of Mr. Dackin—who the website tells us is the board member and has been since he was appointed in 2023. But Hunt is listed still as representing the Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction (who no longer was a member nor can appoint a designee under Ohio law).
Maybe it was simply a mistyping of the minutes, and maybe Scott Hunt will continue to serve as a designee of Mr. Dackin instead of the Superintendent of Instruction, but either way, let’s get it straight, fellas. This is a $90 billion pension fund, after all.

If you’re going to move major chess pieces of power around when few people are looking, you need to at least alert those implementing your maneuver about what you’ve done.

In the meantime, an order was issued yesterday expediting the 10th district’s consideration of DeWine’s actions removing the other board member. Oral arguments will now take place in March:

Dayton Daily News: Ohio teachers pension fund director remains on paid leave; investigative report found no illegal activity

 “We would not be supportive of Mr. Neville’s leadership and we’re not supportive of the board members who think everything is fine down there,” Rayfield said.

From the ORTA Blog

February 21, 2024

Neville has been unpopular with many teachers and retired teachers who are represented by the Ohio Retired Teachers Association.

ORTA executive director Robin Rayfield said given the outcome of the report, he didn’t understand why the board chose to keep Neville on paid leave.

But he also said many teachers and retired teachers who either contribute to or draw from STRS do not feel Neville is effectively leading the organization. ORTA advocates for more transparency from STRS and questions many of the agency’s moves, such as giving people who manage the funds bonuses whether the market does well or not.

Click here to read the full article at Dayton Daily News.

ORTA advocates for the pensions and benefits of Ohio's educators, demands accountability from STRS Ohio, and lobbies Ohio's legislators to provide a strong and sustainable retirement system. We rely on membership dues to continue our work. Join ORTA today!

Monday, February 19, 2024

Dan MacDonald to STRS Board: STRS needs to return to pre-reform benefits for actives and an annual 3% COLA for retirees.

Dan MacDonald's comments to STRS Board

February 19, 2024
Mr. Chair and members of the Board good morning and a twenty-four-hour belated Happy Valentine’s Day. I am Dan MacDonald, an STRS retiree with 38 plus years of service. I am also the Executive Director of Local 279R, Northeast Ohio AFT retirees.
I am sure you know these figures, but the 2023 calendar year closed with the DOW up 12.7%, NASDAQ up 43.26%, the S&P 500 up 24.23%, the STRS benchmark Russell 3000 up 23.95%. Are these not the figures we are searching for from STRS? I fully realize that STRS is on a FY, not a calendar year. These figures certainly are not reflective of pre-December’s STRS monthly financial reports. The Board needs a discussion of the “why”? Reality in the real world needs to reflect the actuality of STRS pension fund. It is emphasized that STRS does well when the market does well. NASDAQ up 43%? Will STRS be near 43% by July?
Cheiron’s report, the FY 2025 budget, the Performance-Based Incentive Policy, so much going on at STRS over the next couple months. Governor DeWine is looking at STRS closely. Real estate expert G. Brent Bishop never presented on the STRS real estate portfolio. Why? Is that the reason he left? Now we have Investment Expert Brian Perera, the Ohio Senate Finance Director. Welcome. Maybe you might comment on hedge funds and fees and the investment portfolio. Meanwhile, where is Wade Steen? STRS is certainly into politics and saving its own behind with executive and legislative cover. When will actives and retirees truly be the central figure of this pension fund which is to provide Ohio’s educators a foundation for their financial security?
On another matter, hopefully all Board members know that Routine Matters no longer is a distributed item. TRANSPARENCY. Approved Minutes of Meetings are no longer being sent by mail although available online under Past Meetings. 
STRS needs to return to pre-reform benefits for actives and an annual 3% COLA for retirees.

Dan MacDonald's summary of the February, 2024 long, long STRS Board meeting


From Dan MacDonald
February 19, 2024
Rob Walters and Dan MacDonald attended the February 14 and 15 STRS Board meeting. The call to order 14th Board session was scheduled for 10:30 am but didn’t happen until 11:30 am. December’s minutes were approved, and the new Board member, governor-appointed Brian Perena, was introduced. [Where’s Steen?] 
There were to be two presentations, Disability Program Review and AON Fiduciary Services Practice. After Board chair Price seated outside consultant AON, Davidson made a motion, that was seconded, to which Price ruled out of order. Parliamentary issues then ruled the rest of the proposed agenda. Ultimately, Price postponed the presentations and attempted to go into executive session, but at the time did not have the votes. Herrington and Hunt were both missing from the meeting at this time, so voting was 5 to 4 in “reformers'” favor. [February’s minutes will be interesting to see how this session will be addressed. Motions were made and recorded. February's STRS e-Update never mentioned the issue. Neither of us were present after the all-afternoon executive session, although the e-Update addresses Acting Director Hoover and suspended Director Neville.] 
The meeting continued on the 15th with an 8 am start time. Chair Price once again introduced Brian Perera, and then had outside consultant Cheiron present on Economic Assumptions. [Herrington attended virtually; Hunt was not present in-person or virtually.] Discount rate, inflation, salary scale and payroll growth are part of economic assumptions. Further factors to consider are historical experience, industry trends, regulatory/professional standards, the Board's risk tolerance/preference, plan dynamics, and future expectations. There is still significant negative cash flow. Ultimately Cheiron’s recommendation was to maintain a discount rate of 7%; price inflation projected at 2.5%; and a payroll growth of 3%. Throughout the presentation there was significant discussion amongst the Board and the consultant. Later in the day, Davidson moved to raise the discount rate to 7.25%. His motion was defeated 9-1. The discount rate remains 7%. [The discount rate is important since it is projecting the growth of the general fund, and the actuary then uses that growth to determine pension contribution against pension costs.] 
In-house actuary Brian Grinnell then presented a pension system comparison using STRS Ohio, Missouri Teachers, Nevada pers, Texas Teachers, New York State Teachers, Georgia Teachers, Louisiana Teachers, CalSTRS, Kentucky Teachers and Illinois Teachers. Again, good discussion around tiering, eligibility, unreduced retirement, contribution rates, COLA provisions, returns, purchasing power and more. [Basically, no two plans are alike and at least in these plans all have made economic adjustments to stay afloat.] 
Public Participation followed. Twelve speakers. Two actives spoke. One from CTU Local 279 and one from CHTU, Local 795. Both should be retired by former eligibility. Both worried. Seven spoke about COLA and active future benefits. One worried about future investment changes and abolishing bonuses will not return COLA [true]. One on calendar year returns vs. STRS reported returns. One on Blackstone Real Estate in STRS’s portfolio and the harm the company is doing to humanity.
After the Executive session/lunch Cheiron presented the Sustainable Benefits Enhancement Plan. A long discussion on “does not materially impair the fiscal integrity of the system.” Again, the Board was thoroughly involved. 
About 4 pm the investment Department. A statement of objectives and policy wording changes were proposed. December’s fund return was plus 3%, finishing the first half of the fiscal year at plus 4.14% net of cost. The calendar year 2023 total fund return was 11.51% relative to an STRS benchmark return of 12.39%. [Remember that STRS is on a fiscal, not calendar, year.] January was a plus 0.35%; FY to date plus 4.50%. Total investment assets ended January approximately at $91.7 billion, high by $1.6 billion in FY 2024. [Almost back to where we were at the end of FY 2022]. The proxy voting policy, summary and derivatives exposure were shared along with December and January investment transactions. New outside plan fund consultant Meketa, six weeks under the contract that was held by Callen, greeted the Board and shared that STRS documentation was “.... amongst the best we’ve ever seen ....” When pushed by Board members on those words, the consultant stated “comprehensive,” “clear,” “concise” “Very rare for new client.”
The acting executive director then gave her report. She addressed 11 areas in her handout. A few: Your year-end tax statement should be in your possession. The webinar Retirees Series begins February 19. [ to register for webinars.] Sixteen hundred Defined Contribution and Combined Plan participants should have a postcard for a final retirement plan election. [Most retirees are on Defined Benefit. Not sure, 614-227-4090 STRS.] A legislative report followed for a bill to increase employer contribution which has been at 14% since 1984. 
Routine Matters and adjournment [6:08 pm] then followed. The next Board meeting will be March 20-22, 2024.

Robin Rayfield: ORTA endorses Michelle Flanigan for STRS Board: "It is only by seating more reform-minded board members that the mismanagement of our pension system can be corrected."

From February, 2024 ORTA Newsletter

February 19, 2024
Message to ORTA members from Executive Director Dr. Robin Rayfield
Greetings ORTA Members,

Hopefully, you recently received ORTA’s annual report in the mail. Since that newsletter was mailed there have been a few things that have transpired that will be of interest to all STRS members.
First, the magistrate reviewing Wade Steen’s challenge to his removal from the STRS board offered his decision. His legal ruling was a full vindication of Wade Steen and his challenge to Governor DeWine’s action to replace him. Interesting, however, is that DeWine thumbed his nose at the court and the hundreds of thousands of educators in Ohio. While waiting on approval from the 10th circuit court of appeals to approve their magistrate’s decision that would replace Wade Steen on the STRS board, the governor’s replacement Brent Bishop resigned his position on the STRS board. Instead of accepting his defeat in court, DeWine doubled down and appointed another person to complete the term rightfully belonging to Wade Steen. Every educator, in fact every public pension beneficiary, should be outraged by DeWine’s doubling down on his unlawful action! 
Wade Steen has challenged the gamesmanship displayed by DeWine in the same court and asked that he be place on the board at STRS. More legal wrangling simply wastes more time. 
ORTA wants to know what the governor is hiding. Why is he so adamant that the
mismanagement at STRS continues? 
As you may know, ORTA has been collecting funds to help Wade Steen pay his legal expenses. Thus far we have paid nearly $50K in legal bills on Wade’s behalf. Unfortunately, we have collected only a little over $10K so our pension defense fund is short. I ask that, if you are able, donate to the ORTA Pension Defense Fund. Your money will go directly towards legal challenges to our pension system. 
As we wait for the outcome of the Wade Steen case, ORTA has been active working to change the makeup of the STRS board through the election of members. ORTA interviewed one candidate (the only candidate seeking an endorsement) for an endorsement for election to the STRS board. ORTA is happy to join several other groups: Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio STRS Member Only Facebook Group, Ohio STRS Watchdogs Facebook Group, and the American Association of University Professors in endorsing Michelle Flanigan for an active seat on the STRS board. Although retired members are not eligible to vote in active seat elections, we can offer our support for Michelle Flanigan by asking our active teacher friends to vote for Michelle. It is only by seating more reform-minded board members that the mismanagement of our pension system can be corrected.
At the STRS board meeting on 2/14/24 it was announced that STRS Executive Director Bill Neville will remain on paid administrative into May. In addition, Mr. Neville will receive ‘professional development’ through an as yet unknown consultation firm. 
I look forward to seeing many of you at the ORTA meetings I have been invited to.

Dean Dennis: "... we will not stand by and watch one man’s arrogance or hidden agenda stand in the way of bringing transparency and accountability back to our pension system."

From February 2024 ORTA Newsletter

February 19, 2024

Message to ORTA members from President 

Dean Dennis

Greetings Members, it has been a surreal month; here is why.
As you are aware, ORTA established the Pension Defense Fund to ensure we have the legal and professional resources necessary to defend our Mission Statement which is to monitor, advocate for, and protect the pensions and benefits of its members. 
Protecting our pension and advocating for secure benefits for members also necessitates electing Board members who are willing to work towards an accountable, transparent and efficient pension system. 
On May 6, 2023, STRS announced that members elected Pat Davidson. ORTA had endorsed Davidson. With the election of Pat Davidson, ORTA thought we had secured the Board need that would tip the Board in the direction of advocating for transparent investments. The types of investments ORTA wanted to eliminate were risky, opaque, private equity investments. These investments are fraught with hidden fees and non-disclosure agreements. ORTA advocates for investments in index funds. These are safer, have lower fees and are very transparent. As previously stated, the election of Pat Davidson seemed to guarantee that 6 out of the 11 Board members would be inclined to “reform” how the STRS management had been investing our monies. But this was not to be the case. 
Incredibly, the day before the Pat Davidson election victory was to be announced, Governor DeWine’s office abruptly removed his previously appointed Board member Wade Steen. Steen was “reform” minded and often raised questions about investments. He also raised questions about the millions of dollars in STRS performance bonuses being doled out when STRS investment staff “beat’ what he considered questionable financial benchmarks. 
When Governor DeWine booted Wade Steen off the Board, he was replaced with Brent Bishop, who had previously donated $100,000 to the Governor’s election. Of note, STRS election results were known to the STRS staff before they were released to the public. The reason the Governor gave for pulling Steen off the Board was weak. The Governor erroneously claimed Wade Steen missed too many meetings. This was quickly debunked, but ignored, by the Governor’s office. Also interesting was the response given by STRS senior management on May 18, 2023, when a Board member publicly asked senior management when they were aware Wade Steen was going to be replaced. The STRS executive director’s response was that they learned of the news when the rest of the Board did; and that was through the public media. In any event, the Governor’s interference rebalanced the Board back to maintaining the status-quo. This would allow for high risk and non- transparent investments with hidden fees. 
These investments are impossible for trustees to audit and pave the way for the investment staff to obtain millions in performance bonuses. In the backdrop, retirees go without annual cost-of-living-adjustments and teachers now contribute 14% of their monies into a pension that has increased the number of years they have to work to reach full pension benefits, not to mention they no longer are guaranteed inflation protection. 
What was troubling about the Governor’s actions was that he was either ignorant of Ohio Codes, or that he willfully ignored them. In Ohio, a governor appointee either is appointed to serve “at will,” or the appointee serves for a “term.” In Ohio law, the governor’s appointee to the STRS Board specifically states that the appointee serves for a term. 
This breach of Ohio law didn’t go unrecognized. ORTA anticipated the need to protect our pension when we started the ORTA Defense Fund. Our executive committee made the decision to finance Wade Steen legal fees as he battled the Governor’s Office actions which would hinder needed reform at STRS. 
So, after nine months of legal wrangling and several tens of thousands of dollars raised and spent, ORTA thought we had achieved a huge victory. The victory wasn’t only for ORTA, but for all grassroots members such as the Facebook groups like the Ohio STRS Members Only Forum, and the STRS Ohio Watchdogs who helped raise the monies. 
On February 6th, 2024, the Appellate Court of the Tenth District in Ohio court made a preliminary finding and ruled that pro-teacher Board member Wade Steen should be reinstated to the STRS board. The magistrate determined Mr. Steen was wrongfully removed by the Governor last year. 
However, this victory was short lived because it appears the governor has a hidden motive. If anyone thought perhaps the Governor just made a mistake and was going to ride the mistake out, the governor’s next actions might end up being his defining moment. Despite the Tenth District Court of Appeal's findings, the governor's office decided to brazenly ignore the findings of the court. Read on…he does it again! 
After the Tenth District’s Court's findings, Brent Bishop decided to resign from the seat from which the Tenth District Court of Appeals magistrate determined he was wrongfully appointed; the governor subsequently decided to ignore the court’s findings, and arrogantly appointed yet another person. At this time the governor has appointed Brian Perera to the seat. For some strange reason the governor’s office is showing the voters of Ohio and the courts of Ohio that he is above the law. ORTA members, please know that we will not stand by and watch one man’s arrogance or hidden agenda stand in the way of bringing transparency and accountability back to our pension system.

Toledo Blade on the ongoing chaos at STRS

Toledo Blade

February 19, 2024
Blade Editorial: STRS chaos continues
The long-running controversy at the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, detailed in Blade news reports with commentary from The Blade Editorial Board, continues to swirl in Columbus.
Confidence in the $92 billion retirement system for a half million Ohio teachers evaporates with each managerial miscue. (“Musical chairs on state teachers pension board continues,” Feb. 10) 
Gov. Mike DeWine has ignored an appeals court magistrate’s finding that he has no legal or constitutional power to expel appointee Wade Steen from the STRS board. Before the 10th District Court of Appeals rules whether to uphold their magistrate’s recommendation to restore Mr. Steen to his STRS board seat after eight months of legal wrangling, Mr. DeWine has replacedformer University of Toledo Trustee G. Brent Bishop with former Ohio State University lobbyist Brian Perera as his appointee. Mr. Bishop abruptly ended his service at STRS and UT with simultaneous resignations from both boards leaving two troubled institutions in the lurch. 
Mr. Perera got a baptism by fire as the STRS board held a marathon executive session, presumably on the continued employment of suspended Executive Director Bill Neville. The teacher’s pension has been paying Mr. Neville to stay home since November, while an independent law firm investigates allegations of misconduct by the executive director. 
The STRS Board decided to extend Mr. Neville’s suspension to mid-May and to provide him professional development services. Market-trailing investment returns and annual investment staff bonuses made Mr. Neville a target for termination by STRS board members elected by retirees or teachers on the promise of reform. 
Mr. Steen was a leader of the STRS reform faction, and there was a majority to make sweeping change of personnel and policy at STRS until Mr. DeWine stepped in and stopped the process by replacing Mr. Steen with the status quo protective appointment of Mr. Bishop. 
The governor contributed greatly to the chaos at STRS by acting outside the law to get rid of Mr. Steen. First Mr. DeWine said Mr. Steen missed too many meetings. Now he says Mr. Steen was in the tank for a bad investment and was misrepresenting his STRS policy positions to the governor’s staff. 
Mr. DeWine’s failure to follow the legal process spelled out in Ohio law for removal of a pension board member makes his motives suspect. The law requires allegations of board member malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance be leveled in Common Pleas Court where a hearing is held and a binding finding is made. 
The 11-member STRS board is split 6-5 between status quo protectors and reformers. Mr. DeWine’s move supplied the majority vote but bought STRS expensive legal disputes if they take any significant action as Mr. Perera is serving illegally according to the considered opinion of the magistrate assigned to Mr. Steen’s lawsuit demanding a return to the board. 
As a two-term Ohio Attorney General, Mr. DeWine is the last person at the Statehouse who should be coloring outside the lines of his legal authority. Pension beneficiaries and Ohio taxpayers are ill-served by this episode of Ohio pension follies. 
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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