Past Posts 2022

March 16, 2022
STRS Ohio District Dogs Needed for STRS Ohio Board Elections

The STRS Ohio Watchdogs are looking for volunteers to facilitate the election of candidates for the STRS Ohio Retirement Board. We are currently supporting contributing candidates Julie Sellers and Steven Foreman, and retired candidate Elizabeth Jones for the Board elections in April 2022.

Here's how it will work. You volunteer to represent a district where you have contact with active teachers. Using your social media and email contacts, you will share the information we provide to you. You can encourage your contacts to share the information. You can even build your own team to share the information.

Are you interested in volunteering as a District Dog? Fill out this form. The information you enter will remain confidential.

Send your questions about District Dogs to strsohiowatchdogs@gmail.com.

March 12, 2022

"Take 3% from teachers and give it to Wall Street."

Edward Siedle talks about transparency, Russian investments, his forensic investigation of STRS Ohio, and STRS Ohio's refusal to provide him with requested documents.

March 7, 2022

Retired Ohio teachers want to look at documents in STRS pension; they’re fighting in court to get them

By Laura Hancock, cleveland.com

“I think transparency, especially when you talk about taxpayer money, is a good thing and a necessary thing.” - Representative Brigid Kelly

Retired Ohio public educators haven’t received a cost-of-living adjustment for the past five years.

Unsatisfied with the pension system’s answers as to why, a group of teachers hired a nationally renowned pension expert who has been battling the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio for information to obtain a clearer picture about management and activity in the pension.

Click here to read the full article on Cleveland.com.

March 7, 2022
Why don’t Ohio’s retired teachers have faith in their pension system? Today in Ohio
By Laura Johnston, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Retired Ohio public educators haven’t received a cost-of-living adjustment for the past eight years. So teachers have hired an expert who has been battling the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio for information to obtain a clearer picture about management and activity in the pension.

We’re talking about the fight that could result in Ohio Supreme Court rulings and changes to state law on Today in Ohio.

Click here to read the full article on Cleveland.com.

March 3, 2022

The subsidies that feed into Wall Street's billions often come from pension funds people can't afford to lose

Ohio teachers were featured during the Stock Market episode of The Problem with Jon Stewart.

Click here to watch the entire episode.

February 17, 2022

FULL INTERVIEW: Ed Seidle, pensions forensic auditing expert

Ed Seidle, a pensions forensic auditing expert, talks about how his audit found mismanagement in the State Teachers Retirement System’s handling of its pension fund for teachers.

Watch Colleen Marshall's full interview with Ted Siedle.

March 3, 2022

The subsidies that feed into Wall Street's billions often come from pension funds people can't afford to lose

Ohio teachers were featured during the Stock Market episode of The Problem with Jon Stewart.

Click here to watch the entire episode.

February 16, 2022
Retired teachers in Ohio fighting for cost of living adjustments in their pension funds

By Alexis Moberger, ABC 6 Columbus

Retired teachers in Ohio are now fighting for cost-of-living adjustments in their pension funds. The State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio eliminated it five years ago after some retirees were promised one.

Now many are struggling to keep pace with inflation.

Click here to read this story online.

February 15, 2022
Ohio retired teachers angry over pension fund’s investments, six-figure salaries

By Colleen Marshall and Maeve Walsh, NBC4i Columbus


After an oversight committee failed to conduct an audit of Ohio’s retirement fund for teachers for 16 years, a group of retirees decided to take matters into their own hands.


Amid accusations of financial mismanagement and anger over the State Teachers Retirement System’s elimination of a “guaranteed” annual 3 percent cost-of-living allowance, the Ohio Retired Teachers Association pooled its money together to pay for a forensic audit of the $98 billion pension fund.


Click here to read this story online.

February 14, 2022
Ohio retired teachers fighting pension fund over failure to pay cost-of-living increase

By Colleen Marshall and Maeve Walsh, NBC4i Columbus

STRS Ohio Board member, Dr. Rudy Fichtenbaum, a Wright State University economics professor, said the disparity is a telling sign as to who is prioritized by the pension system.

“When people went into teaching, you know, everybody knew you weren’t going to make a lot of money but that you could really make a difference,” Fichtenbaum said. “And, you know, what you were promised in exchange was to have at least a dignified retirement.”

Click here to read this story online.

February 12, 2022
After years of no cost of living adjustments, Ohio's retired teachers may get one this year

By Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau

I
t’s been four years* since half a million retired teachers in Ohio have gotten cost of living increases from their pension fund. And with inflation on the rise, teachers have howled about how the lack of those increases has been eating into their benefits.

But after many months and of protests and frustration by those retirees, who rely on the pension system because they don't pay into Social Security, that could be changing.

* Ohio's teachers are required to wait five years after they retire to begin receiving a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). For example, teachers who retired in 2014 have now gone nearly 8 years without a COLA.

Click here to read this article online.

February 2, 2021

ORTA Hosts Virtual Town Hall

The Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) partnered with the Ohio STRS Member Only Forum and the STRS Ohio Watchdogs to sponsor a Town Hall Meeting for STRS Ohio members and concerned citizens.

There are two ways to watch the recording of ORTA's Virtual Town Hall:

Panelists, from left to right:

  • Darold Johnson, Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT)

  • Robert Davis, Ohio Education Association (OEA)

  • Senator Teresa Fedor

  • Kara Mendenhall, ORTA Executive Committee

  • Wade Steen, STRS Ohio Trustee

  • Chris DeMarco, ORTA Executive Committee

  • Dean Dennis, STRS Ohio Watchdog

  • Bob Buerkle, STRS Ohio Watchdog

  • Rudy Fictenbaum, STRS Ohio Trustee

February 2, 2022
SB 280 Assigned to Ohio Senate Insurance Committee

SB280: To amend section 3307.67 of the Revised Code regarding adjustments by the State Teachers Retirement Board to the cost-of-living adjustment.

Here are the members of the Ohio Senate Insurance Committee.

Contact them. Ask them to support SB280.

Tell them your story and how the loss of the COLA impacts you and your family.

Three members of the committee are cosponsors of SB280.

  • Chair - Bob D Hackett (614) 466-3780

  • Vice Chair - Mark Romanchuk (614) 466-7505

  • Ranking Member - Hearcel F. Craig (Cosponsor) (614) 466-5131

  • Andrew O. Brenner (614) 466-8086

  • Matt Dolan (614) 466-8056

  • Jay Hottinger (614) 466-5838

  • Stephen A. Huffman (614) 466-6247

  • Stephanie Kunze (614) 466-5981

  • George F. Lang (614) 466-8072

  • Tina Maharath (Cosponsor) (614) 466-8064

  • Tim Schaffer (614) 466-8076

  • Cecil Thomas (Cosponsor) (614) 466-5980

  • Steve Wilson (614) 466-9737

Contact your Senator: https://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators

January 27, 2022

Cliffwatergate

Dr. Rudy Fichtenbaum exposes the misinformation put forth by STRS Ohio and hedge fund consultant Cliffwater regarding the investment strategy proposed by Board members Rudy Fichtenbaum and Wade Steen, and former Board member Robert Stein, at the November 2021 STRS Ohio Board meeting.

Dr. Fichtenbaum is Professor Emeritus in Economics at Wright State University. He was elected to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board in April 2021.

Click here to watch Dr. Fichtenbaum's presentation.

January 23, 2022
Legislators Support COLA for Retired Teachers

By David Skolnick
Tribune Chronicle

A proposal to reinstate the cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers in the state pension fund has bipartisan support among state legislators who represent the Mahoning Valley.

State Sen. Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox, who represents all of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties and a section of Geauga, said: “I’d more than likely be in favor of that. We’re dealing with 7 percent inflation, the highest since 1982. How do you plan for that? We need to provide a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers. They’ve earned that retirement, and it’s hard for them to live without it with inflation that high.”

State Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, said he hasn’t seen the legislation but generally supports granting retired teachers COLA increases. “I’m aware of the concern,” he said. “I’ve spoken to several retired teachers. It’s a major issue with inflation at a record high. There needs to be something done as long as it doesn’t impact the fund.”

Click here to read this article online.

January 12, 2022

Fedor Introduces Legislation to Restore COLA for Ohio's Retired Teachers

Today, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) introduced Senate Bill 280, which would reinstate the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for retirees in the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS).

“This bill fulfills a promise made to retirees’ years ago,” Fedor said. “With inflation at an all-time high, retirees living on a fixed income need this adjustment more than ever. Though this increase does not make up for all the money they have lost over the years, it is still the right thing to do.”

Long title: To amend section 3307.67 of the Revised Code regarding adjustments by the State Teachers Retirement Board to the cost-of-living adjustment.

Primary Sponsor: Senator Teresa Fedor: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/fedor

Cosponsors:

Senator Kenny Yuko: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/yuko

Senator Nickie Antonio: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/antonio

Senator Hearcel Craig: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/craig

Senator Tina Maharath: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/maharath

Senator Vernon Sykes: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/sykes

Senator Cecil Thomas: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/thomas

Senator Sandra Williams: https://ohiosenate.gov/senators/williams


Click here to follow S.B.No. 280.

January 11, 2022
Facebook Pension Groups Are Doing Work Unions Should Be Doing To Protect Retirement Savings

By Edward Siedle

My experience this past year conducting a forensic investigation of the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio on behalf of the 20,000 member-strong Ohio Retired Teachers Association has convinced me that Facebook groups can be a powerful force to combat looting of America’s pensions by Wall Street. In Ohio, two Facebook groups, Ohio STRS Members Only Forum (19,000 members) and the STRS Ohio Watchdogs (7,000 members) are vigilantly exposing gross mismanagement at the STRS Ohio pension identified in a forensic investigation I completed.

Click here to read this article online.

January 8, 2022

UPDATE: Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has appointed Scott Roulston to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board.

January 7, 2022

Save Yoel Mayerfeld's Seat on the STRS Ohio Retirement Board

Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has informed Yoel Mayerfeld that he will not be reappointed to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board. Mayerfeld's term extends through Jan. 7, 2022.

Ohio's active and retired teachers want to know why Robert Sprague will not reappoint Yoel Mayerfeld to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board.

  • Yoel Mayerfeld and Wade Steen uncovered the fact that investment staff at STRS Ohio receive performance based incentives (PBI) regardless of their performance.

  • At the November 2021 STRS Ohio Board meeting, Yoel Mayerfeld seconded Rudy Fichtenbaum's motion to restore the COLA and reduce active teacher contributions.

  • At the November 2021 STRS Ohio Board meeting, Yoel Mayerfeld admonished other Board members for repeatedly interrupting Rudy Fichtenbaum's presentation regarding a proposed investment strategy.

What can you do to help?

*** Contact Jody Foltyn, Chief of Staff for Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague.

Tell Ms. Foltyn that you want Yoel Mayerfeld reappointed to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board.

Telephone: (614) 466-7665

Email: jody.foltyn@tos.ohio.gov

*** Contact September Coyne, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs, Ohio Treasurer of State

Tell Ms. Coyne that you want Yoel Mayerfeld reappointed to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board.

Telephone: (614) 466-2191

Email: september.coyne@tos.ohio.gov