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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.