Three Board seats to be decided in 2021
Election to begin in August for terms commencing in January
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
June 2, 2021 – Elections for three seats on the OPERS and Ohio Deferred Compensation Boards of Trustees will be held this year. Those elected will serve four-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
The OPERS Board of Trustees consists of 11 members, and seven are elected. The three seats up for election in 2021 include one seat for each of the following groups:
- County employees – There currently are about 83,700 members working at a county job within the state of Ohio.
- Miscellaneous employees – There are about 43,300 members in this group, which includes employers such as park districts, townships, public libraries and hospitals.
- Retirees – This election is for one of two retiree seats. OPERS has about 185,500 age-and-service, disability, defined contribution plan and re-employed retirees.
Any public employee, with the exception of judges, magistrates and disability benefit recipients, is eligible for election as a trustee in their respective employee group. Any OPERS retiree residing in Ohio and receiving an age-and-service benefit, disability benefit or benefits under the OPERS defined contribution plan, is eligible to run for the retiree seat.
Beneficiaries, who may include surviving family members, are not eligible to run for election or nominate candidates by signing a petition. Beneficiaries, surviving family members and powers of attorney also are ineligible to vote and will not receive a ballot.
OPERS Board members are trustees of the system’s funds and are subject to strict fiduciary standards of conduct. The Board members must act solely in the best interests of all the participants and beneficiaries of the system. Board members should be prepared to spend a minimum of 40-50 working days each year on OPERS and Deferred Compensation Board business.
For interested candidates
OPERS has begun mailing nominating petition packets to employers. Candidates can pick up the packets from their employers or at the OPERS office, 277 E. Town St., Columbus. They’re also available online at opers.org/elections.
Interested parties also can call 800-222-7377 to request a packet.
State law requires candidates seeking election to an employee member Board seat to obtain at least 500 signatures from active members within their employee group. At least 10 different counties must be represented by at least 20 signatures each.
Candidates running for the retiree Board seat must obtain at least 250 signatures from OPERS retirees. At least five different counties must be represented by at least 10 signatures each.
The nominating petition packets include complete information on rules and additional materials that are required to run. Potential candidates should check with employers regarding solicitation policies and procedures related to obtaining signatures.
Completed nominating petitions and forms are due at the OPERS office no later than 4:30 p.m. EDT, Monday, Aug. 2. OPERS must receive original documents as signatures must be in ink. Copies are invalid. Petitions postmarked on or before this date, but received after the deadline, are invalid.
If you’re an OPERS member or retiree and are eligible to vote, a ballot will be mailed to your home on Aug. 24. All ballots must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. The Ohio Secretary of State’s office will verify the election results on Oct. 4.
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.
One thought on “Three Board seats to be decided in 2021”
Wow, this is so important for us. Board Members make many important decisions for OPERS members (one example – COLA!). We need to pay close attention to who is running for these positions and vote accordingly.