Texas Sunset Commission Recommends Changes for TRS, Including Disclosure of Staff Bonuses

Executive Summary:

  • The Texas Sunset Commission adopted its final report recommending and requiring changes to the TRS based on more than a year of investigation and public input
  • Legislation will be filed to:
    • require TRS to develop a communication and outreach plan to help repair the relationship between TRS and its members and to respond to member health care issues in a timely fashion
    • require TRS to publish staff incentives tied to fund performance and the incentive plan in the TRS comprehensive annual financial report for greater transparency
    • require TRS to improve efforts to return member contributions to inactive members
    • require TRS to appoint an ombudsman to report directly to the TRS board regarding complaints and appeals by members and to track member satisfaction
    • require TRS to provide more comprehensive information on TRS-Care healthcare costs, including out-of-pocket costs to retirees
    • address the penalty structure for retirees who return to work in a more equitable and less punitive fashion

Yesterday, the Texas Sunset Commission met to review its legislative recommendations for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Working collaboratively with TRS and Sunset commission members, all Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) recommendations to the commission were included in the final report. The recommendations were developed by TRTA’s Legislative Committee and detailed in TRTA’s public testimony.

TRTA has been pivotal during the evaluation of TRS and subsequent sunset staff review. Our recommendations to improve the agency may be found by clicking here.

Last year, the Sunset staff performed extensive research and analysis evaluating the need for, performance of, and improvements to TRS. The review included TRS’s self-evaluation and input from stakeholders like the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA).

TRS is an agency established by the constitution and is not under review for potential dissolution. However, the way the agency functions—including business operations and relationships with members—was thoroughly evaluated over the past year. Here is the initial sunset staff report that was the subject of discussion in December.

During today’s meeting, the Sunset Commission adopted recommendations for legislation to improve TRS’s efficiency and effectiveness, as well as suggested actions that will be taken by TRS management staff that do not require legislation.

A Sunset bill will be created to address these issues for the 87th Legislative Session that began on Tuesday, January 12.

Thank You

Thank you to Chairman John Cyrier and Vice Chair Dawn Buckingham for your leadership on the Sunset Advisory Committee. TRTA and its members appreciate the work of Rep. Terry Canales, Sen. Eddie Lucio, and Sen. Angela Paxton for making the adjustments yesterday. TRTA extends its gratitude to TRS for working with on these important changes to the sunset report.

Stay tuned to the Inside Line for additional information as we dive more deeply into the 87th Legislative Session. You can also download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest updates and communicate with your fellow retirees.

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