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  • STRS Ohio Watchdogs

Report: Allegations against Ohio teachers pension fund director 'without merit'

State Teachers Retirement System Executive Director Bill Neville sometimes tells old stories and raises his voice at work but he's not throwing furniture, degrading women, retaliating against critics or creating a hostile workplace, investigators concluded.

An anonymous letter purporting to be from STRS staff accused Neville of violence, harassment and other misconduct. The STRS Board placed Neville on paid leave in November while an outside law firm investigated the allegations.

A five-page executive summary of the investigation said the accusations are "largely without merit." Two experienced employment law attorneys interviewed 23 STRS employees who have regular contact with Neville as well as two former pension fund employees.

Attorneys David Kessler and Stephen Postalakis concluded that the anonymous letter contained multiple untrue allegations.

They found that some employees think Neville has a tendency to raise his voice when he's angry. And some reported that Neville likes to re-tell old stories that reference past girlfriends, but the stories didn't rise to the level of creating a hostile work environment, they concluded.

Kessler and Postalakis didn't uncover who wrote the anonymous letter.

Despite being told that the allegations were without merit, the STRS board opted to keep Neville on paid leave through mid-May and offer him performance coaching in the meantime.

Neville's attorney, Rex Elliott, said "... the investigation found no evidence of unlawful behavior by Neville. It is even suggested that the false claims may have originated from someone external to STRS. Despite this, the author of the false email remains unidentified, and the STRS Board has yet to reinstate Mr. Neville, who should promptly resume his role as executive director to continue his commendable work for Ohio's teachers.”

STRS Ohio is governed by an 11-member board that includes appointees and elected members. The board oversees $90 billion invested for 500,000 teachers and retirees. Activists have been mounting a board takeover, electing board members who are more sympathetic to their complaints about transparency, senior leadership, staff bonuses, and the suspension of the cost-of-living allowances for retirees. Some of the reformers have called for Neville to be ousted.

Neville, who makes $318,000 a year, has been director for nearly four years and an STRS

employee for nearly two decades.

Neville Executive Summary Investigative Report Feb 2024
Download PDF • 246KB

Laura Bischoff is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the

Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated

news organizations across Ohio.



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