An interesting TRS board meeting on October 24th.

Illinois Teacher Retirement System members who have followed the antics of TRS Executive Director Richard Ingram have been concerned since his interview with Crain’s last week.

Ingram, who was hired to manage the system, has been confused about his role and now sees himself as representing the financial interests of the Civic Committee instead of present and future teacher retirees.

In the interview with Crain’s, Ingram targets the cost of living adjustment to retirement payouts. His position is so clear that Crain’s headlines the interview, “Head of teacher pension fund says state will need to cut COLAs.”

In a statement published on the IEA web site Ingram denies that he said this and claims that Crain’s understood that he didn’t say it.

He is either a fool or a liar.

There is a secondary problem here. For some reason the TRS board of trustees seems to have been reluctant to contradict the Executive Director. So far, only TRS board member Bob Lyons has commented on Ingram’s remarks, saying he expects some action at the October 24th board of trustees meeting.

One can hope.

What is the reason for IEA President Klickna’s silence? Perhaps the problem is that she sits on the board of trustees of TRS. I don’t argue that the teachers’ voice, and the IEA’s voice should not be represented on the board. In fact, that is a requirement. But, does Klickna’s silence suggest that she feels constrained by her role as a board member? As IEA President and the chief representative of TRS members in the IEA, shouldn’t speaking out on our behalf be her first concern? Are her two roles contradictory?

I think Klickna may have proven that they are.

I received an interesting comment from Jon Bauman that you can read in a previous post. Bauman is a former TRS Executive Director. He was forced out as a result of some hanky-panky involving friends of Governor Blagojevich. Bauman himself was never accused of any wrong doing.

But Bauman is clear about the current situation and the current Executive Director.

It seems to me that any effort that requires multiple explanations of intent is doomed to fail. It is frustrating, though, to read again and again the assertions that the COLA is the primary driver of underfunding, when we all know that lack of State contributions is the real source of the problem.

The TRS Board’s endorsement of the so-called “New Reality” may further complicate the resolution of these matters.

This led my friend and blogger, Glen Brown, to comment,

It is not one of the Executive Director Ingram’s duties to make self-contradictory statements that jeopardize the TRS members’ benefits and rights guaranteed by the Illinois Constitution. It is not “prescribed by the Illinois Pension Code” that the executive director’s role is to also validate a fallacious and illegal argument “where lawmakers [the Civic Committee, and the Chicago Tribune also perpetuate] a [dishonest and illegitimate] solution.”

Since this is not the first time that Richard Ingram has decided to go rogue, side with the Civic Committee and advocate illegal, unconstitutional acts by the state legislature to undermine the system he was hired to protect, it is time for him to go.

Bauman says it will be a “fascinating board meeting” on October 24th.

Those of us who depend on our TRS are hoping it will be a productive one.

One thought on “An interesting TRS board meeting on October 24th.

  1. The minute I saw “Ingrades” interview in Cranes I said to myself time for him to go! We have enough people that are ill-informed, selfish, and self serving and waiting to take out their fiscal frustrations on those that serve the public. We don’t need a “TROLL(s)” adding to our situation.

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