Saturday, October 11, 2003

Pension files get scrutiny

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The State Teachers Retirement System, accused of lavish spending in tough times, said the Ohio Ethics Commission has asked for documents related to the system's travel and investments.

Laura Ecklar, the public pension funds spokeswoman, said she does not know why the ethics commission wants the documents.

She would not give details about specific documents sought.

David Freel, executive director of the ethics commission, said state law prevents him from talking about investigations, including whether one is under way.

This summer, several reports said former retirement system executive director Herbert Dyer spent millions of dollars on bonuses, artwork and travel at the same time that assets plunged and member costs went up.

Dyer resigned and the board has since implemented new guidelines to limit travel, adopted a new budget that trims an additional $6 million in spending and is continuing a hiring freeze.

The $47 billion retirement system covers 400,000 active and retired teachers.

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