STRS Board Member Wade Steen
I believe that Mike DeWine would never knowingly do anything inconsistent with Ohio law. The attempt to revoke my appointment by a staff member was a clerical error. I am confident the Governor will step in and fix this issue.
The reform movement that has been talked about at the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) is being driven by teachers. Ohio educators have elected new members or “reformers” in each of the last five elections over the last few years. Change at STRS has been a slow and deliberate process. Ohio educators would never do anything to harm their pension.
I am disappointed that a staff member sought to revoke my appointment to the STRS Board after I declined to immediately resign. I have been advised that I serve for the term for which I was appointed and not at the pleasure of the appointing authority. I greatly respect Governor Mike DeWine and would ask to work with his office to improve the lives of Ohio teachers. During my seven-year tenure on the board I have been an unrelenting advocate for all STRS members - contributing and retired teachers. I will be advocating for teachers until my term ends on September 27, 2024.
Robin Rayfield, Executive Director of ORTA
Wade Steen is still on the STRS board because this attempt to remove him is not legal. The applicable statute governing the STRS board makes clear that only a court can remove a STRS board member. It seems like the Governor’s staff made a mistake by plowing ahead after Wade refused to resign – a mistake teachers hope is quickly remedied. If this was not a mistake, then it was an illegal action that is not valid and should be challenged.
This attempt to manipulate the composition of the board, especially just hours before election results are announced for a contested board seat, only reinforces the broken trust that educators have with their pension system. To say this pours jet fuel on the fire is an understatement.
I implore Governor DeWine to sit down with Wade Steen and the other five pro-reform members to hear firsthand why reform at STRS is so badly needed. Teachers are praying the Governor will respect the votes of Ohio teachers who have elected reform candidates to the STRS board for the past five elections. Wade Steen is part of the solution not the problem. He is exposing STRS mismanagement and fighting for more accountability while STRS pays contrived bonuses to state employees after they lost billions of dollars of teachers’ money.
As a reminder, Steen was twice appointed to the STRS Board. First by John Kasich in 2016 and then reappointed by Mike DeWine in 2020.