October 11-15, 2014
Attendee List (as of Sept. 24)
CUSTOMER SERVICE NETWORK
September 18 Webinar
Presentation - click here
Recording - Coming Soon!
Learn how systems are creatively using available technologies to reach members by the use of video consultations, web chat and e-commerce. Representatives from Arizona Retirement System, Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association, and New York State Teachers’ Retirement System will join us for an hour long session on how they have used these tools to enhance customer service in their systems.!
What is the NCTR Customer Service Network?
Launched in 2014, the Customer Service Network is a group of NCTR member agencies seeking to exchange ideas, share best practices, and brainstorm new and better ways to provide both our customers and employees with extraordinary customer service.
NCTR membership includes 68 state, territorial and local pension systems. These systems serve more than 19 million active and retired teachers, non- teaching personnel, and other public employees, and have combined assets of over $2 trillion in their trust funds.
Not a member of NCTR?
If you have any questions about membership or wish to update your membership, please contact us!
"A Job Well Done!"
Minnesota TRA Board Adopts Resolution
Executive Director Meredith Williams received a resolution on behalf of the Minnesota TRA Board for remaining "steadfast in his support and protection of the retirement security interests of active and retired public teachers nationwide!" Read more
CalSTRS - Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
See CalSTRS cutting edge efforts in increasing their sustainability efforts with staff as part of their strategic plan. CalSTRS is working towards being the first U.S. public pension plan to be a GRI entity. View video
Webinar Recording Available!
June 17 at 3pm (ET)
As public servants operating on shoestring budgets, it can be challenging to provide the exceptional customer service expected. NCTR, in conjuction with CalSTRS, Idaho PERS and New York STRS are all looking for the best way to align our resources so we can deliver top value to pension fund members. Listen to webinar
Fourth Quarter 2013 read more...
Pension Fund job postings view...
Principles and Positions
The National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) believes that all Americans should have access to a pension plan that will provide adequate and reliable retirement security. View NCTR's Principles and Positions
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S LETTERS
The Pew Center on
August 12, 2014
On behalf of the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) member systems that the Pew Charitable Trusts has contacted regarding its research on state public pension fund investment performance, I would like to thank you for extending an invitation to our members to collaborate on this project.
NCTR's member systems are happy to assist with your research efforts, and are very interested in providing information that will produce a comprehensive, factually sound narrative of what is often a misrepresented and misconstrued subject matter. In this regard, I am certain that we are in agreement about the importance of both capturing and representing data and information accurately, so I would like to bring to your attention several concerns our members have with your initial approach to this project. Read more.
National Council on Teacher Quality
August 4, 2014
I am writing with reference to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) 2014 analysis of states' retirement and pension policy for teachers, which I understand that you intend to include in a published report later this year. Frankly, while providing each teacher pension plan with the opportunity to review and comment on your analysis of its plan may appear to be commendable, I find it to be an empty gesture. Read more
The Arnold Foundation
April 23, 2014
On behalf of myself, as Executive Director of the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR), and Mr. Tom Lee, NCTR President and Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, I am writing to request a personal meeting with you both to discuss the retirement challenges confronting the nation as a whole and the role of NCTR’s members in meeting those critically important needs for public employees. The lack of adequate retirement security for the majority of America’s workers is truly one of the gravest economic threats to our country today. Read more.
The Pew Center on
March 11, 2014
I am writing concerning the Pew Charitable Trusts' Center on the States and its "Public Sector Retirement Systems Project."
Specifically, I am very troubled by the involvement, both in terms of funding and actual hands-on participation, of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, with whom I understand Pew has partnered and from whom I understand it has accepted a grant of $4.85 million. Read more.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
Webinar Presentations Available Now:
"A Bankruptcy Update"
August 28; 3pm-4pm (EST)
WNET to Return
$3.5 Million Arnold Foundation Grant
WNET, the New York City public television broadcaster, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) issued a joint statement on Friday, February 14, 2014, announcing that WNET was returning a $3.5 million dollar grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The money was being used to fund “Pension Peril,” a two-year WNET initiative that aired in part on the PBS NewsHour Weekend, and according to The New York Times, will now “go on hiatus,” although WNET will continue to report on the topic, which it considers to be “a matter of journalistic importance.”
The statement said that while PBS stands by WNET’s reporting in this series, the station has decided to return the money “in order to eliminate any perception on the part of the public, our viewers, and donors that the Foundation’s interests influenced the editorial integrity of the reporting for this program.”
“We made a mistake, pure and simple,” said Stephen Segaller, Vice President of Programming at WNET. He said that it was WNET who sought the funding, and that the Arnold Foundation “did not direct or prescribe our reporting, never attempted to do so, and is not responsible for our mistake.”
In a related story, the PBS Ombudsman, Michael Getler, wrote that while he has “quarrels” with some of the language and characterizations used in the article by David Sirota, writing in PandoDaily, who broke the news about the connection between the Arnold Foundation and the news series on Wednesday the 12th, he thought that it was nevertheless an important story. It “shines a light, once again, on what seems to me to be ethical compromises in funding arrangements and lack of real transparency for viewers,” he wrote.
Getler concluded that “there is clearly a danger of hard-to-prove self-censorship by PBS-related producers somewhere along the line when large funders with political agendas wind up as big-money supporters of public broadcasting.” Meredith Williams, Executive Director of the National Council on Teacher retirement (NCTR), said that he couldn’t agree more. “As my mother used to say, ‘He who pays the piper, calls the tunes,’” Williams observed.
“I am glad that WNET and PBS have admitted their error,” Williams went on, “and I commend them for their prompt action.” “Furthermore,” he went on, “I hope that as they continue their reporting on the topic of public pensions, they will reach out to organizations such as the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) to ensure that there is balance in their coverage.” He also said that he hoped that “the challenges confronting state and local governments as they work diligently to provide a reasonable, adequate, and affordable retirement for their employees are discussed in the larger context of the retirement crisis confronting the nation as a whole.”
“Finally, I sincerely wish that others who have accepted the Arnold Foundation’s money in connection with public pension issues would consider the dangers that the PBS Ombudsman points out, and decide to avoid the appearance of ethical compromise, as has WNET,” Williams concluded.
- New York Times: “WNET to Return $3.5 Million Grant for Pension Series”
- PBS Ombudsman: “Tensions Over Pensions” (includes WNET/PBS Joint Statement)
Arnold Foundation Funding PBS Series on “Pension Peril”
According to David Sirota, writing in PandoDaily on February 12, 2014, the new two-year television series entitled “The Pension Peril,” which was launched in September of 2013 by WNET, New York’s flagship Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) station, is being directly financed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
WNET is coordinating “The Pension Peril” series for distribution across the country. According to a December 2013 WNET press release, the series will be a “local and national multiplatform reporting initiative [that] will shine a spotlight on an expected $1 trillion-plus shortfall in funding for public employees’ retirement benefits, and what it means for cities and states, retirees and current workers, and taxpayers.” “The Pension Peril” is intended to “introduce millions of Americans to the tough choices ahead and possible models of reform,” according to the WNET statement. Read more....
Federal E-News Blog
Maintained by NCTR's Director of Federal Relations View blog
NCTR Executive Director Commends Senator Harkin
On behalf of the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR), I want to commend you for your continued focus on the retirement crisis facing our country, and the need for every one of our nation's workers to have access to a retirement plan that provides them with the ability to earn a safe, secure lifetime income benefit. Your ongoing leadership on this vitally important issue is very much needed and appreciated.Read more
Detroit Bankruptcy Facts
As the Court continues to make decisions regarding the City of Detroit's filing for bankruptcy protection, it has become clear that there are a number of misconceptions related to municipal bankruptcy, including how the City came to these circumstances, the funding status of the City's pension plans, and whether Federal intervention is either warranted or appropriate. Read more