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Members aren’t "confused". They understand that STRS is continuing down the same path that created the problems in the first place.

Dean Dennis, ORTA President, addressed the STRS Ohio Retired Board during Public participation during the Board meeting on February 15, 2024.


On the STRS website, there is an update from our acting Executive Director reassuring us that our pension is financially sound. The message then goes on to provide the financial data. It states that in today’s world of social media, there may be confusion as to the health of our pension. Then our director states “take comfort that, your benefits are here for you.”


If the message is for legislators, the press, or the public, this is a good message. If it is for members, it isn’t. 


  • Problem: Our benefits are not here for us.

  • Problem: We all know STRS is only sound because you cut or withheld benefits that members were depending on and increased the Employee Contribution.

  • Problem: You shift blame to social media to deflect your problems instead of addressing them. Members aren’t “confused”. They understand that STRS is continuing down the same path that created the problems in the first place. 


Now let’s discuss another issue, using members' monies for legal fees to work against them. Members raised $75,000 dollars for a Forensic Audit. The audit was over lack of transparency in investments. The audit ended up in a legal suit brought by Benchmark Services because STRS wasn’t turning over requested documents such as investment prospectuses. Problem is, STRS isn’t being transparent. Turn over the requested documents and stop using members' monies in legal fees to work against them. What is STRS hiding?


Lastly, regarding Wade Steen, he was removed from his seat by the Governor one day before the May 6th election results were to be announced. Why the Governor decided to engage in this nefarious behavior is suspect. The law is clear. Why did STRS management allow this to happen? When STRS allowed Brent Bishop to be seated, it created a liability. It made business passed by the Board questionable. Members, through ORTA, have raised and spent several tens-of-thousands-of-dollars in legal fees trying to remedy this wrong. Now the Governor is blatantly thumbing his nose at the Tenth District Court of Appeals and members a second time. Seating Brian Perera is irresponsible, against all legal precedent, and again invites liability to the Board. Seating Mr. Perera might be in the best interests of the staff, but that’s where it ends. I hope STRS isn’t spending member’s monies on the Steen case. Understand that ORTA will be looking to recoup all their monies spent on this charade.  



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. Click here to Join ORTA!




 

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