In February, Robert Elder of the Austin American Statesman discussed the trust issue relative to the TRS Board by quoting from an email sent by Superintendent and Board Member Mark Henry to board Chairman Jarvis Hollingsworth: “Jarvis I believe that there are two boards. One that functions in the light of day and one that meets with staff to make decisions, then secures enough votes and has no concern about the opinions of a few of us. This compensation plan reeks of a backroom deal.” Unfortunately, I believe we have taken a turn for the worse in our transparency in the investment arena. I am sorry to say that the level of trust I have in the division is very low.”
Mark Henry is a superintendent on the TRS board. I believe Mark Henry has touched on critical issues that the TRS must deal with. Trust is an outcome of having total transparency and communication with all stakeholders. The commitment at the meeting to improve communication is a great start that I appreciate. Talking about transparency without concrete examples is wasting breath. The goal of improved transparency and communication at TRS is to assure the stakeholders that all decisions are being made for the benefit of Texas retired educators and there is no hint of personal agendas or gain.
Mr. Tim Lee, executive director of TRTA, reported in his newsletter to members what may be the most important news from the meeting as follows:
It’s All About Communication. Mr. Linus Wright, TRS Trustee and the member who is elected by TRS retirees, recommended the Board hire a consulting firm to work with TRS staff to study ways on how to improve communications with TRS members. The trustees recognize that more and more interest and scrutiny are being placed on the TRS pension fund, and the retirement system may be able to find new or additional ways to communicate their activities with members. Chairman Lee expressed that the pension fund needs to augment what he said is already a very professional communications team at the retirement system, and that this process will help keep TRS members more informed about the retirement systems activities. The idea was approved by the TRS Board of Trustees, and the TRS staff will begin working on the process to identify potential firm candidates and bring recommendations back to the Board perhaps as soon as the next TRS meeting.
I look forward to great things from the board and the time when we may have the opportunity to say “well done” – js – email@example.com
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