Meigs County Retired Teachers meet

POMEROY — The Meigs County Retired Teachers met Oct. 19 at the Senior Citizen Center for a luncheon meeting.

Charlene Rutherford, president, opened the meeting with a welcome to all and the pledge to the flag. Becky Zurcher had devotions and read several pieces including “Daddy fell into the pond,” ” Adventures of Isabel,” “The ride by nights,” ” The bat,” “Mice,” “The Morns are meeker than they were,” and “The creation,” and had prayer before the meal served by the center.

Don Baker, District 7 director, was the speaker for the meeting. He is from Wheelersburg, and is a retired teacher. He said this would be his last meeting as district director. He said many changes have taken place at ORTA. Bee Lehner will be the president for 2018. She received her master’s degree from Ohio State University and finished her career as the principal for Keene Elementary School.

At the May board meeting it was announced that John Cavanaugh would no longer serve as the group’s executive director. The executive committee recently selected Dr. Robin Rayfield as the new executive director. Rayfield is from the Toldeo area. Also, the executive committee replaced the Inspire Group with an in house publications and communications coordinator. Alissa Burton has been selected as the new coordinator.

At the October board meeting there was a major organizational change. Instead of the current 11 districts, five new geographical regions will be created. They will be northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest and central. Each region will have from 16 to 18 county chapters. Meigs County is in the southeast region. In place of directors and trustees, three liaisons will serve each region. These will be elected on a three year rotating basis. Also, the executive committee and the ORTA board have been reorganized. The executive committee will consist of the president, past president and president-elect. The ORTA board will consist of the executive committee and one liaison from each region.

Baker talked about POP-5 (Protect Ohio Pensions) which claims to represent all five of Ohio’s public pension systems. The retirement system representing us is STRS, State Teachers Retirement System. ORTA does not recognize POP-5.

State Teachers Retirement Board voted to approve changes to the actuarial assumptions used to evaluate pension liabilities.

The key changes are:

Reducing the expected investment return to 7.45 percent from 7.75 percent. Assets are not expected to grow as fast as needed to pay benefits.

Change to updated generational mortality tables. Recognizes that STRS Ohio members are living longer and STRS Ohio is paying benefits for a longer period of time than expected. As a result, STRS felt they had to suspend our COLA for up to five years.

The Health Care Fund is currently estimated to remain solvent for about 18 years. STRS has been working with the system’s actuary, Segal Consulting, to develop options to extend solvency to 30 years or more. However, there is no dedicated source of revenue for this fund. Health care is not a guarantee.

During the business meeting, the secretary and treasurer reports were given and approved. Volunteer hours are to be turned in at the December meeting.

Members were reminded to support the levy for the library.

Charlene Rutherford told of her friend who lives in Puerto Rico and what a hard time having and of a fund we could donate.

Duane Wolfe said the Board of Directors of the Brenda K. Wolfe Peritoneal Cancer Foundation met and have sent $5,000 to the James Cancer Research Center.

Door prizes were given to Janice Curry, Marlene Donovan and Jo Ann Hays.

The next meeting will be Dec. 7 at Trinity Church. Members are to bring in books or art supplies for children or teens as Christmas gifts.

Information submitted by Janice Weber.