Wednesday, January 14, 2015

From Bob Lyons and Glen Brown: Rauner Changing Make-up of TRS

TRS Trustee Bob Lyons
TRS Trustee Bob Lyons Reports Sudden Changes to The Board that Protects Your Retirement Contribution

Background: Quite simply, Tier I and Tier II teachers in the State of Illinois contribute 9.4% of their salaries to the Teachers Retirement System for investment in their own future retirements – as well as supporting those of us currently retired. TRS manages and invests those funds in various vehicles to grow that money for future use by later retirees.   In a volatile and choppy world economy, TRS has stewarded the funds at a strong 7.7% in the ten years leading up to 2012, and (after an unusual 2013) a higher rate of 12.6% for the decade. Given the fluctuations in markets, TRS plans on a long-term average return of less than 8%.

TRS is governed by a 13-member Board of Trustees.

The State Superintendent of Education: Christopher Koch.
By statute, Mr. Koch is President

Four trustees elected by contributing TRS members: They are currently Sharon Leggettt, Mark Bailey, Rainy Kaplan, Cinda Klickna, Bob Lyons, and Cynthia O’Neill.

In May of 2015, an election will be held to fill trustee positions by TRS annuitnats and by active teachers. 

***Six trustees appointed by the Governor: They were Michael Bysby, Marcia Campbell, Mark Harris, and Sonia Walyn.  There were two vacancies.

This morning from TRS Trustee Bob Lyons:

“Monday we had two open seats on our board and the outgoing governor appointed one of his people to the TRS Board that morning, though he should have known that the appointment was made too late.  Today that person and also two Quinn appointees, Marcia Campbell and Mark Harris, that were appointed, but never confirmed by the senate were told that they are no longer TRS trustees.  Campbell of course is a state officer of the IFT and has served with distinction for some years.  That means that now we have four openings for gubernatorial appointees that Rauner can make. Two Quinn appointees still have two yeas on their term.  Recall that there are a total of thirteen seats on the board with the State Superintendent of Education as our president.  Chris Koch was appointed superintendent under a Democratic administration and Rauner will have new appointments to state school board as well.  Six seats on the TRS are held by active and retired teachers.”

Anyone who invests in a financial future knows that there are fees for making those investments, and hedge fund managers invest in extremely risky investments to charge higher percentages for possibly greater returns.  This is how our new Governor works and receives his less-taxed millions with which to purchase political office.

As TRS holds nearly $40 billion in assets, and each year receives funding contributions that total (for year 2014) nearly $3 and ½ billion, it would be a choice award for an  investment counselor.  

This may be an initial indication of what a Governor Rauner will do – recoup for his friends and fiscal allies the money spend to secure an opportunity to make more. 

Responding to Mr. Lyons warning, Glen Brown has warned that

Let's not wait until it is too late to act. I have said before we must openly resist the way in which the state's politicians (without moral conscience) continue to regulate public welfare. We must protest against the liars and thieves who have manufactured a financial crisis. We must protest against the liars and thieves who have perpetuated a financial crisis through irresponsibility, mismanagement and corruption; we must protest against the liars and thieves who have ignored moral responsibility and refused lawful remedy for the financial problems they have created. They are stealing part of the pension you have earned. They will continue to steal more of your pension in the future.

Bob Lyons reminds all of us that the new Governor has the right to make these new appointments and remove those appointed by an earlier Governor; furthermore, he notes: "Remember there is no pay to be gained by joining this board and the background to be considered a candidate will be some skills in investing."  That said, in the following days, weeks and years, you will find information here and in other blogs (see sidebar) re: the character and nature of those who Rauner would appoint to fill vacancies in the organization that watches over the contributions paid by hard-working teachers in the state of Illinois for their future retirements.

And probably much more…

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