OPERS Board of Trustees Election

Steitz Wins OPERS Special Election for Vacant Trustee Retiree Seat
April 3, 2018
Senators Brown and Portman Hold Hearing on Federal Pension Concerns
July 16, 2018

OPERS Board of Trustees Election

As a member of OPERS, you have a voice in decisions and policies affecting your retirement benefits. Every member is part of a specific group with representation on theBoard of Trustees.

The Board is ultimately responsible for all administration and management of OPERS including setting retirement system policies, approving the overall investment plan and asset allocation strategy, reviewing and approving budgets and acting as fiduciaries of the System. Individuals elected to the OPERS Board also automatically serve on the Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program Board.

Elected Representatives

The OPERS Board is comprised of 11 trustees—seven individuals are elected by the specific group each represents. The seven elected positions on the OPERS Board of Trustees are designated for election on a staggered basis, ensuring experience and organizational knowledge is stable from year to year. Three individuals with investment expertise are appointed by Ohio’s Governor, Treasurer and jointly by the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and the President of the Ohio Senate. The Director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services also serves on the Board of Trustees by virtue of office.

2018 Board of Trustees Election

Elections for four seats on the OPERS Board will be held Aug. 21 through Sept. 28, 2018. Those elected will serve four-year terms beginning in January 2019.

The four seats up for election in 2018 include one representative for each of the following groups:

  • State Employees

    Representing approximately 48,000 employees working at a job for the State of Ohio.

  • Municipal Employees

    Representing approximately 59,000 employees working for one of Ohio’s municipalities.

  • State College or University Employees

    Representing approximately 51,000 non-teaching employees at state colleges and universities in Ohio.

  • Retiree

    One of two seats representing approximately 179,000 age and service, disability, and defined contribution (DC) plan retirees. This group includes re-employed retirees.

For OPERS members and retirees interested in running for the board

Active employee member

Any active OPERS member, with the exception of one receiving a disability benefit, is eligible for election to represent the members of their employee group on the OPERS Board of Trustees.


Any OPERS retiree receiving an age and service benefit, disability benefit, or benefits under the DC plan is eligible to represent retirees. Beneficiaries, surviving family members, or POAs are not eligible to run for election or nominate candidates by signing a petition. Beneficiaries, surviving family members and POAs are also ineligible to vote. If a person is receiving age and service payment, the candidate may only run for a retiree position, even if re-employed. A retiree must reside in the state of Ohio in order to be eligible to run for a Board position.

The Nomination Process

Nominating petition packets will be mailed to OPERS employers on Friday, June 1, 2018 for distribution to interested candidates. Packets will also be available at the OPERS office, 277 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio and on this page. These packets contain official nominating petitions and all other necessary forms to be completed by the candidate.

Under Ohio law, a candidate seeking election to an employee member Board seat is required to obtain a minimum of 500 signatures from active members within their employee group. At least 10 different counties must be represented by a minimum of 20 signatures each. Employees signing petitions should indicate the county of their employment. A candidate seeking election to a retiree Board seat is required to obtain at least 250 signatures from OPERS retirees. At least five different counties must be represented by a minimum of 10 signatures each. Retirees signing petitions should indicate the county in which they reside. Signatures of a retiree’s spouse or beneficiary do not count toward the signatures required.

Completed nominating petitions and forms are due at the OPERS office no later than 4:30 p.m., Monday, July 30, 2018. Petitions postmarked on or before this date, but received later, are invalid. Any candidate successfully meeting the nomination criteria will be placed on an official ballot.

Every Vote Counts

Members of the OPERS Board of Trustees are elected to four-year terms. While elected by a specific group, all members of the Board of Trustees have a fiduciary duty to act SOLELY in the interest of ALL MEMBERS of the system, not just those that elected them. It’s important that you participate in the selection of a member from your group. The member elected will help guide OPERS over the next four years and ensure those fiduciary obligations are met.

2018 OPERS Board of Trustees Election Timeline


Election Timeline
All nominating petitions and required forms availableJUNE 1
Completed nominating petitions and required forms due to OPERSJULY 30, 4:30 p.m. EST
Voting materials mailed to eligible members and retireesAUGUST 21
Last day to receive votesSEPTEMBER 28, 11:59 p.m. EST
Election results verified by the Secretary of StateOCTOBER 1


  1. Jerry M. says:

    Attention all retirees, Ken Thomas who represents municipal employees and is chair of the opers board, did vote yes to move forward h.b. 413. Chris Mabe who represents state employees and also vice chair of the opers board, also voted yes to move forward h. b. 413. Mabe is also president of O.C.S.E.A. If these two sitting opers board members have opponents in the upcoming opers board elections, Please consider the opposition candidates for these two board seats. Also consider the fact that based on their yes votes, Thomas and Mabe are under the influence of Karen Carraher. Just Food For Thought.

  2. Marc says:

    Please run again, Charlene.

  3. Donna says:

    Has anyone heard what OPERS is up to lately regarding COLA? I see interest rates will be rising again which should put all thought of reducing COLA out of their heads. But after what they pulled last fall, I no longer trust them.

  4. Jerry M. says:

    Hi Donna, if I had to guess, Opers are going to remain quiet for a while. There is an Opers board election forthcoming and the midterm elections. At this time time Opers still has not mentioned h.b. 413 on their website. There are two sitting board members who are up for election this year. Ken Thomas who represents municipal employees and Chris Mabe who represents state employees. They both voted yes on h.b. 413 to move forward to the general assembly. Everyone is waiting to see if they will have opposition in the upcoming Opers board elections. I understand P.E.R.I. and other organizations are keeping a close eye on Opers. All retirees need to do so also.

  5. Jim says:

    I went to the state Treasurer’s website to see what the salaries were for the OPERS administration, but even though we are halfway through 2018, the salaries paid for 2017 are still not posted. Why are they hiding their salaries after 2016?

    • Donna says:

      Jim – Of course we know why they are hiding their salaries, but the fact that they are not yet posted is disturbing.

    • Fred says:

      The 2017 salaries are posted on the Treasurer’s web site now.
      Carraher received in excess of $286,000 in 2017.

  6. Donna says:

    Possibly OPERS is hiding the raises they got in a year where they tried to cut retirees benefits.

  7. socks5 txt says:

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    Keep up good work! Excited for future updates.

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  8. Jim says:

    It appears that SERS gut their retirees’ COLAs in order to give themselves huge pay raises. Do you think this is what OPERS had in mind for us? I wonder.


  9. Jerry M. says:

    I find it very interesting that Opers and the Opers board just appointed a new C.I.O. The previous C.I.O. retired all of a sudden.

  10. Donna says:

    Does anyone know how we can find out how many pre-2012 retirees drop off the roll each year? Our numbers have been dwindling, so each year there should be lower payouts. There should be no need to re-visit the COLA issue for those of us who have been vested.

  11. Lee Adams says:

    Well folks, OPERS is going through the back door like many suspected. OPERS has arbitrarily lowered its expected rate of return to 7.5%.OPERS is creating an artificial situation in order to present to the legislature its plans to cut retiree benefits. OPERS will take this back to the Republicans in the Legislature and say ‘see’we told you before we are underfunded’.
    If OPERS can’t, OVER TIME generate more than a 7.5% total return on investment,then the people managing our money are not competent to do so. We are not referring to just a few years of investment history we have to look at long term historical data. 7.5% is ridiculously low.

    OPERS has already decided to eliminate the $300.00 yearly ‘dump’ into the HRA of retirees. Carraher and her cronies are bound and determined to play to their political handlers on High Street.

    We have to do more than just keep an eye on things. Start rattling some cages,NOW!

    • Fred says:


      Does your statement jive with the OPERS ,Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, released on July 10TH?
      How can they claim the 7.5% rate of return after publishing the rates of return shown on their Annual Financial Report?

    • Donna says:

      Lee – What should we do? Who should we contact and what do we say?

  12. Donna says:

    In the Plain Dealer this morning, it was reported that inflation has picked up to 2.9%. It is more important than ever that we keep our 3% COLA as promised, even though we all know that we only receive 3% our first year. Since it’s simple interest, the percentage diminishes each year. It is so important that we keep the current law intact.

  13. Jerry M says:

    The best way to keep this conversation going on a state wide level is to contact members of the general assembly and urge them to scrutinize Opers in the present and in the future. Any future proposals by Opers in the future must be held to the most stringent scrutiny. When Opers and the Opers board of trustees made the decision to lower the expected rate of return to 7.5%, They generated 2.8 billion dollars of unfunded liabilities with this one action alone. Opers and the board made this decision early to mid 2017. Then in august of 2017 Opers rolled out their proposal to reduce the C.O.L.A. After the election in Nov. there will be a lame duck session of the general assembly. Opers may try to push a version of H.B. 413 through that lame duck session of the general assembly. Considering how many members of the general assembly loses their seats in the Nov. election, at that point they have nothing to lose. Everyone stay on alert!

  14. Rick says:

    I see OPERS announced that the current board members are all keeping their seats, and the elections are canceled due to no opposition. Is this true that no one on our side ran for any of these seats?

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