State Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon), Chairman of the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC), has called on the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) to follow state law and suspend its recent directive instructing all public institutions of higher education in Ohio to withhold an additional 1 percent from certain retirement plan participants.
A recent opinion handed down by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine stated that STRS did not have the authority to increase mitigating rates on its members electing to participate in alternative retirement plans (ARPs). The opinion further stated that Ohio law granted the ORSC the exclusive authority to adjust ARP mitigating rates.
Rep. Wachtmann released the following statement:
"While the State Teachers Retirement System has the authority to increase the mitigating rate for its defined contribution plan members, state law clearly and plainly states that STRS has no such authority to increase the mitigating rate for members participating in alternative retirement plans. Unfortunately, STRS has elected to ignore this directive in state law.
"Despite being informed numerous times that STRS in fact does not have this authority, including through an opinion released by Attorney General Mike DeWine, STRS has instead chosen to ignore all guidance and counsel and move forward with its plan. Therefore, STRS is acting outside its legal authority and should immediately suspend such action immediately.
"It is very disturbing that STRS is ordering Ohio’s public colleges and universities to knowingly break the law. I share their concern in maintaining the ability to attract and hire the best and brightest educators in the country, something that may be hindered by STRS’s current and defiant act. This policy is merely robbing Ohio professors of money that they have rightfully earned STRS’s failure or refusal to suspend this policy is unfair to the educators it affects and is disrespectful to the rule of law in our state."