You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Pension board refuses to cancel Hawaii trip


In a feisty meeting Thursday, the School Employees Retirement System board rejected calls to cancel a trip to Hawaii and dismissed a proposal to limit trustees’ annual out-of-state travel expenses to $6,000 per board member.

Board member Mary Ann Howell withdrew her request to travel to Hawaii in May for the NCPERS annual conference but said she was doing so for health reasons, not because of public pressure. Board members Barbra Phillips and Catherine Moss refused to cancel their Hawaii trips.

“This is not a vacation as some have insinuated, rather this is my work,” said Moss.

A motion to cancel the trip failed on a 4-3 vote with Howell, Moss, Phillips and Madonna Faragher voting against cancellation and board members James Rossler, Beverly Woolridge and Nancy Edwards voting in favor. A new board member sworn in on Thursday abstained.

Phillips, a bus driver for Ashland city schools, said she needs to attend educational conferences so that she can do her due diligence in investing the system’s $11.4 billion.

A proposed travel policy that mimics the limits followed by Ohio’s four other public employee retirement systems was defeated on a 5-3 vote. Howell, Phillips, Moss, Madonna Faragher and the new board member voted against the policy while Beverly Woolridge, James Rossler and Nancy Edwards voted to adopt it.

“We’re not a cookie-cutter system. We can’t adapt to everyone else’s policy,” Moss said.

The Hawaii trip triggered a backlash from retirees, workers, the public and lawmakers.

Moss, Howell and Phillips did not show up as requested to an Ohio Retirement Study Council meeting to explain why they believe they need to go to Hawaii while none of the other four public pension systems are sending representatives.

SERS lobbyist Fred Mills said not showing up at the ORSC meeting was perceived as a snub and now lawmakers are considering installing travel restrictions in state law, changing the make-up of the SERS board or even merging the SERS system with another pension fund.

“I’m here to tell you the relationship and goodwill certainly have been damaged,” said Mills, who has worked in and around the General Assembly since 1967.

SERS represents 192,558 bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and retirees from Ohio schools. In the past four years, the pension fund has spent $241,391 for trustees to make 67 out-of-state trips to places such as Las Vegas, New York, Orlando and other vacation destinations.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Springfield voting precinct leaving church location
Springfield voting precinct leaving church location

A Springfield polling location is being permanently moved to a new building. The voting location for city precincts 2 and 3 — previously at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1612 S. Belmont Ave. — will now be located at Developmental Disabilities of Clark County, 2527 Kenton St. The change will take place immediately, according to the Clark County...
Senators, congressman to tour Wright-Patterson Friday

Five U.S. senators and a congressman will tour Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Friday for an inside look at the base’s military operations, officials say. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and co-chairman of the Senate Air Force Caucus, will be joined by caucus co-chairman John Boozman, R-Arkansas. RELATED: Wright-Patt center for trianing cyber...
Smoking in a car with kids could bring $500 fine in Ohio
Smoking in a car with kids could bring $500 fine in Ohio

People who smoke in cars with kids under age 6 could face a $500 fine if a bill proposed by a state lawmaker becomes law. “They have no say in getting into an enclosed vehicle with someone who is smoking,” said sponsor Sen. Charletta Tavares, D-Columbus. “Their little lungs breathe deeper, particularly infants. They breathe deeper...
‘Crisis’ in trucking industry spurs flurry of bills
‘Crisis’ in trucking industry spurs flurry of bills

State lawmakers launched a four-part plan Wednesday to help trucking companies fill thousands of job openings. A series of bills were introduced addressing various problems that have put the industry in crisis, according to state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, the author of one of the bills. Lawmakers say there aren’t enough people interested...
Could Cincinnati land a Trump hotel?
Could Cincinnati land a Trump hotel?

By Bernard Condon and David Koenig Associated Press. Cincinnati may soon be home to a Trump family hotel. Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger, said cities such as Cincinnati, Louisville and Milwaukee could be home to a new line of hotels called Scion, but he won’t name the developers. “The list of places Scion can go,” he said, &ldquo...
More Stories