FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2023
STRS BOARD REJECTS DIRECTOR NEVILLE’S LEADERSHIP
Investment and cultural revelations final straw after billions in losses,
record staff bonuses and culture of self-enrichment
COLUMBUS, OH – In yesterday's board meeting, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) board rejected a motion of confidence in STRS Executive Director Bill Neville and the long-time direction of the fund. Director Neville failed to gain the support of the 11-member board in a vote of confidence that was introduced during a robust discussion about his failures in leadership and STRS’ dishonest reporting of investment performance used for million-dollar staff bonuses.
This was the first board meeting since the release of State Auditor Keith Faber’s Special Audit of STRS. That unprecedented audit–conducted by the Auditor’s Special Investigations Unit that investigates public corruption–raised concerns about transparency and the million dollar bonus payments made to STRS staff. While the Auditor didn’t find direct evidence of fraud or criminal activity, he warned that “there remain questions about the level of established benchmarks used to gauge performance and compute bonuses for investment staff.”
“We have to have a change at the top,” STRS Board Member Julie Sellers said during debate over the motion. “The problems that have been here have been here for years… we need to have a direction forward.”
The Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) thanks the Board for recognizing the need for reform and new leadership in the hallways of STRS. ORTA is grateful to the board members who are taking the steps necessary to rebuild trust, bring needed transparency and deliver on the promise to provide a safe and secure retirement for our teachers.
“Today’s vote is the beginning of the end of Director Neville’s administration at STRS,” ORTA Executive Director Robin Rayfield said. “His leadership has been plagued with mismanagement, secrecy and underperformance. Given today’s vote of no confidence, it’s time for Bill Neville to save Ohio public education from further embarrassment and resign his position.”
STRS board members Rudy Fichtenbaum (Wright State University), Steven Foreman (Zanesville City Schools), Elizabeth Jones (Cincinnati City Schools), Julie Sellers (Cincinnati City Schools) and Wade Steen (Cleveland Metroparks) rejected the motion to declare confidence in Director Neville.
Chairwoman Carol Correthers (Lorain City Schools), Vice Chairman Dale Price (Toledo City Schools), board members Claudia Herrington (JobsOhio) and Arthur Lard (Portsmouth City Schools), and Scott Hunt (Ohio Department of Education), on behalf of the state’s Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens, voted in favor of declaring confidence in Director Neville. Newly-appointed Board member Alison Falls (A.L. Falls Advisors) abstained from the vote.