OPERS shares financial data with Ohio Treasurer

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System recently shared volumes of financial data with the Ohio Treasurer in relation to the treasurer’s online checkbook project.

In doing so, OPERS affirmed its commitment to transparency in government, a motive that the treasurer has cited regarding OhioCheckbook.com. This is consistent with the “A” rating in transparency OPERS and the other Ohio public pension systems have received from the Center for Public Integrity. Similar information can be found on OPERS’ website.

The treasurer requested the information from OPERS during a time when our system was completing a major transition of thousands of retirees to an exchange system for acquiring supplemental Medicare insurance.

“A pension system that is responsible for the stewardship of member and employer contributions must always operate in full view of the public,” said OPERS Executive Director Karen Carraher. “We already present extensive financial information on the OPERS website, and in working with the treasurer in this manner we continue our 80-year legacy of transparency.”

During discussions with the treasurer’s office about OhioCheckbook.com, OPERS pledged to maintain an open dialogue on the topic and analyze the proposal after implementation of the OPERS Medicare Connector.

The upcoming January launch of the Connector, which will impact health care coverage for more than 203,000 retirees and their dependents, is the most-important issue we currently face. It has been in the works for three years and represents the future of affordable health care for all OPERS Medicare-eligible retirees.

“AS OPERS wraps up the sharing of financial data, we affirm our longstanding commitment to public records and transparency in government,” Carraher said. “We therefore acknowledge that we have provided to the treasurer’s office the data necessary for the treasurer to include OPERS in his online checkbook project.”

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

11 thoughts on “OPERS shares financial data with Ohio Treasurer

  • December 17, 2015 at 3:34 pm
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    What kind of financial data was shared? This does not include any of the retirees personal data does it?

    Reply
    • December 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm
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      Retiree,

      No. By law, we are not allowed to share personal information about our members. It was data on OPERS’ administrative expenses.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply
  • December 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm
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    Glad and relieved to know OPERS is taking care of our retirement funds. Thank you all for that.

    Reply
  • December 18, 2015 at 12:09 am
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    As an OPERS retiree, I oppose this move.
    OPERS is already audited.
    Disclosing this information to non-OPERS members is not in OPERS members’ best interest.

    Reply
  • December 18, 2015 at 9:57 am
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    thanks PERS for throwing us old geezers under the bus

    Reply
    • December 18, 2015 at 11:56 am
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      Gordon,

      We provided zero information about our members to the treasurer. Rather, it was data about our administrative expenses, in line with the stated goal of the treasurer’s online checkbook.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply
  • December 20, 2015 at 10:40 am
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    watch out folks! our elected officials and the lobby folks have been meeting in backrooms for years to take the opers retirement funds and invest them thru private firms, thus skimming some of the funds we retirees (along with employers) contributions, there-by taking tons of our money in fees. this report is just one step closer for them. of course if the legislative branches are the only ones voting for change, how do you think its going to turn out? i guarantee you it won’t be in our best interest.

    Reply
  • December 20, 2015 at 10:55 am
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    my apologies to opers. opers has and will continue to do a excellent job on our behalf.

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    • December 28, 2015 at 12:26 pm
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      I don’t see how. OPERS has dramatically decreased my pension by over $343 a month by charging me more for health care for me and my wife despite slashing my wife’s health care by 1/3rd and although I don’t use it. OPERS has diminished my health care benefits. I plan to cancel my OPERS health care benefits because it is too expensive.

      Reply
  • January 5, 2016 at 8:30 am
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    Simply sharing information is not a big concern as long as
    1) it doesn’t cost any of my investment $ in my retirement
    2) and the information is not misused by Ohio’s political entities

    A much bigger concern is that my retirement (OPERS fundiing) is not underfunded in any way.
    (see page 5A, Cincinnati Enquirer, 1-5-16) Just how underfunded is OPERS presently? This is a very disconcerting article, especially after the OPERS revisions of the last few years. What must be done to correct this situation? Why are Ohio’s elected officials reluctant to adequately fund OPERS?

    Reply
    • January 6, 2016 at 1:37 pm
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      Bill,

      OPERS is adequately funded. Our funding level is around 84 percent, well above the 80-percent threshold that is widely accepted as healthy for a pension fund.

      You are responding to vitriol written by opponents of defined benefit pensions. These types of studies and articles twist facts and use hyperbole in their quest to harm the defined benefit model and weaken the retirement security of public workers.

      We read the Mercatus Center report when it came out half a year ago. It gained very little traction in the media. We can’t say why the Enquirer chose now to publish this op-ed piece by the report’s author and another researcher at the center. But like similar reports and studies created by conservative “think tanks,” it recommends the use of “risk-free” investments to support its points. These are investments that no competent actuary would consider reasonable for long-term horizons such as those that apply to pensions.

      In short, there is no “situation” to correct.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply

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