OP&F News

Trustee elections postponed

The OP&F Board of Trustees voted on March 27, in an emergency meeting to postpone the 2020 trustee elections to Dec. 1, 2020. The Board reacted to the General Assembly’s legislative authority granted to all five Ohio pension systems to postpone elections in Ohio’s coronavirus emergency response bill signed by the governor Friday afternoon. The bill also allows the current trustees to remain in office until each of their successors are elected.

The reasons the Board came to this conclusion are many. The "stay at home health orders" limit potential candidates’ ability to collect original signatures in person in multiple counties and submit and verify by the April 6 deadline. The limits on gatherings of more than10 people effects signature collection and the counting of ballots in May. Additionally, the American Arbitration Association employees travel from Philadelphia to ensure neutral counting of ballots and may be subject to local and state travel restrictions (in addition to the OP&F travel ban currently in place). Counting of ballots also requires more than 10 people (counters and observers).

These facts made it too uncertain that the election could be completed as required by statute in the next 60 days. Finally, OP&F staff is reduced to essential employees who must focus exclusively on paying pension and survivor benefits, processing service and disability applications, enrolling members in the health care program and protecting the portfolio which funds the benefits.

The Board did not make the decision lightly and it is unprecedented in the pension fund’s history; as is this pandemic. The vote for the election postponement was unanimous with the exception of three abstentions. The three incumbent trustees who are up for re-elections were the abstentions. None of the three is seeking re-election to their current seat.

When new dates and deadlines are established, they will be posted on the OP&F website.

Members health and the health of our employees are our primary concern.

Posted 3/30/2020

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