11 Jan 2016

TRTA Responds to Gubernatorial Appointment for State Pension Review Board

Click here to email Gov. Greg Abbott.

Click here to email your senator.

Near the end of 2015, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) released an Inside Line article discussing the recent appointment by Governor Greg Abbott of anti-public pension critic Josh McGee as Chairman of the State Pension Review Board.

As Vice-President of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), McGee’s appointment was disappointing to many of our members. The LJAF has funded initiatives in several states across America to reform public pension funds, often to the detriment of current and/or future retirees’ benefits.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee commented to the Austin American-Statesman that the appointment was shocking. “He’s the worst possible choice to be chairman of Pension Review Board. We look at this and say how in the world did he get on the radar of Gov. Abbott? Our members tend to like the governor. That’s what’s so surprising. The guy, in my view, is nothing but an advocate for eliminating the plans that our public workers have,” Lee said.

TRTA has heard from several members about their disappointment and concern over McGee’s appointment. Many want to know what TRTA will do to address this issue.

TRTA has worked with Governor Abbott in the past and feels strongly that communicating with the Governor’s office is key. TRTA developed an official response and sent it to the Governor Abbott to inquire about his intentions for appointing McGee, and also met with several members of his staff to discuss the issue.

We appreciate members of the Governor’s staff taking the time to visit with us and hear more about the perspective of TRTA members and TRS annuitants. TRTA’s views on this issue are important to the Governor’s office, and our communication with them should continue to be positive in nature and have constructive value. The Governor and his staff have indicated they will be attentive to what our members have to say as we move ahead into 2016.

We understand your concern and ask that you please send an action alert email to the Governor’s office expressing your views in a helpful, productive way.

The appointment of McGee to the Pension Review Board will require Senate approval during the 85th Legislative Session, which begins in January 2017. TRTA is asking members to contact their Senators using this action alert to let them know about our concerns. TRTA will be monitoring the actions of the PRB closely to ensure that Chairman McGee does not use the board to continue his anti-defined benefit advocacy.

Please know that TRTA does not promote our members expressing contempt or anger, but rather encourages them to ask Governor Abbott and our State Senators to have open communication with our organization and to consider the views of all stakeholders who may impacted in some way by McGee’s appointment.

Thank You

Protecting your retirement benefits is one of TRTA’s top priorities, and your participation makes all the difference! Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to stay informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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22 Dec 2015

Season’s Greetings From TRTA

Dear TRTA Members and Supporters,

This is the time of year to reflect and be appreciative of those who have been a special part of our lives!

The TRTA board of directors, staff and I are so very much thankful for the time you spend volunteering for the Texas Retired Teachers Association. Your work and endeavors have made this a successful organization that gives a voice to retired educators as well as active educators still working in the school systems.

In 2016, we wish each of you great health and a continued zest for the life you have been given!

Thank you for the opportunity you have given all of us to serve as your TRTA representatives. We are all deeply grateful to our members for everything that they do to support this great organization.

Season’s greetings and happy New Year,

Fran Plemmons

TRTA President

Tim Lee

TRTA Executive Director

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15 Dec 2015

MEMBERSHIP ALERT: Governor Abbott Appoints Controversial and Outspoken Public Pension Critic Chairman of State Pension Review Board

Earlier this week, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott announced the names of three appointments to the State Pension Review Board, and named Josh McGee of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) the board’s new chairman.

As many of our members are aware, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation is the leading organization in the nation attacking public pension funds. Josh McGee serves as Vice-President of the LJAF and “leads the organization’s nationwide efforts to improve retirement security.”

The Texas Pension Review Board is “mandated to oversee all Texas public retirement systems, both state and local, in regard to their actuarial soundness and compliance with state law.”

The Board is composed of seven members. The Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints seven members with the following qualifications or experience: three persons with experience in the field of securities investment, pension administration, or pension law; one actuary; one person with experience in governmental finance; a contributing member of a public retirement system; and one person receiving benefits from a public retirement system. You can read more about current board members here.

Other advocacy groups such as those representing police officers and firefighters are also raising serious objections over this named appointee, including the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT). You can read CLEAT’s comments about this appointment in this Dallas Morning News article.

Members, this is an important issue that may impact your pension fund in some way during the 84th Legislative Session that begins in 2017. Please forward this Inside Lineto your fellow retirees and active teachers you may know. Please let them know that signing up for the Inside Line is free and can be done from our website using this link.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is following this unusual development and will report more on the story soon. Please stay tuned to the Inside Line as we provide additional details.

Thank You

Protecting your retirement benefits is one of TRTA’s top priorities, and your participation makes all of difference! Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to stay informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Read More