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  • STRS Ohio Watchdogs

Suzanne Laird addressed the STRS Ohio Retirement Board

Suzanne Laird, a retired Ohio teacher, is a regular speaker at STRS Ohio Retirement Board meetings. Here is the speech she made during Public Participation on September 21, 2023.

Good Morning, Members of MY Board:

Why do you exist?

I’m not asking the existential question — I am only allowed three minutes here, after all…..

Why do you, as a Board, actually exist?

If you exist to line the pockets of the Wall Street managers, you’re doing a great job!

If you exist to continually grant exorbitant bonuses to the investment team, who consistently lose our money, you’re doing a great job!

If you exist to allow the Governor to circumvent our vote, denying the will of the members, you’re doing a great job!

If you exist to authorize one of the highest contribution rates for active teachers in the nation, you’re doing a great job!

If you exist to permit older retirees to sink into poverty without a stable, reliable, permanent COLA, you’re doing a great job!

You. Should. Be. Ashamed.

Now, some of you are fighting like hell; but some of you are so arrogant, incompetent, or just plain ignorant, you may not be capable of understanding your purpose here.

You’re not here to cater to the extravagant whims of the employees here, you are the last gatekeeper, meant to restrain their greed.

Wade Steen said it best: “STRS exists to pay benefits.”

Beyond that fundamental level, I would argue that you are here to safeguard and sustain the very profession of teaching in the state of Ohio. Without a secure retirement system, what future is there for our profession?

Mr. Steen understood his function.

Do you understand yours?

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