COLUMBUS, Ohio — With a growing number of questions regarding legislation that will make changes to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), state employees recently attended an OPERS informational seminar to find answers.
On behalf of the Industrial Commission of Ohio, Chairman and CEO Karen L. Gillmor hosted the seminar Friday morning in the William Green Building Auditorium in Columbus.
“As the General Assembly prepares to make numerous changes to state retirement systems, public employees have many questions regarding the changes,” Gillmor said. “The purpose of this interactive forum was to explain the proposed legislative changes and answer questions.”
OPERS representatives spent two hours discussing recommended benefit changes proposed in Senate Bill 343 and how the changes will affect state employees and their families. They discussed the challenges that OPERS must overcome, while providing a detailed list of proposed changes to pension and health care plans. After the presentation, representatives took part in a Q&A session with the 350 attendees.
“Impending changes to the OPERS system will affect the majority of our state employees,” Gillmor said. “The goal of this event was to keep public employees up-to-date on the magnitude of the changes so that they can make informed decisions that will affect themselves and their families.”
State employees from the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Ethics Commission, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Ohio Department of Youth Services, Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services were also invited to attend the event.
“With so many meaningful and impactful changes being proposed by OPERS, we invited our neighboring agencies to participate in this forum,” Gillmor said.
The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the largest of Ohio’s five state retirement systems in asset value, is the 12th largest statewide retirement system and the 16th largest U.S. retirement plan. During the presentation, OPERS representatives issued a legislative call to action because continued legislative delays not only affect the ability to continue health care benefits, but also have caused OPERS to forfeit more than $700 million in potential savings — nearly $1 million per day.
“Our employees need to make informed decisions about their futures because changes to OPERS may dramatically alter retirement plans and employees’ options,” Gillmor said.