Letter: STRS in need of oversight

I am a retired teacher from Lima and I am very concerned about the lack of oversight of the State Teacher Retirement System (STRS) board. There has not been a fiduciary audit in over 14 years. Ohio law requires one every 10 years.

STRS members are so upset with the management of STRS that they raised $75,000 of their own money for a forensic audit conducted by Edward Seidle. The findings were 121 pages long and finds that STRS shades data to present a false light on performance and ignored audit recommendations that would have protected the pension from looting by fund managers and undeserved bonuses to mediocre investment employees.

All Ohio pensions are endangered by the Ohio Retirement Study Councils (Chaired by Rep. Rick Carfagna) failure to perform required audits. Other findings, STRS overstates performance and understates fees and expenses. They did not implement the findings of their last audit in 2006, such as adding additional auditors. They refuse to be transparent in their investments. One alternative investment, Panda Power lost STRS over a half a billion dollars. That information took three years to be revealed.

In addition they have broken a promise given to their retirees. We were promised a 3% cost of living increase. I believe the last one was given in 2015. They claim they do not have enough funds. Yet, they recently approved over $6.7 million of performance bonuses to the STRS investment staff.

STRS has limited the speaking time of retirees at meetings, the number of people who can attend meetings, closed their cafeteria to the public on days of meetings and limited the available space to park in their 5 level garage to only the first floor on days of meetings.

Linda Morrow



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