Sunset Commission adopts recommendations for changes in TRS operations

The Texas Sunset Commission met this week and adopted legislative recommendations for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)—the culmination of a year’s worth of investigation and collaboration between Sunset staff, TRS, and organizations representing Texas retirees. The recommendations outline possible legislative changes and actions by TRS staff that do not need legislation.

Recommendations from Reps. John Cyrier and Terry Canales, and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. all fall within the four issues Sunset staff identified as part of their agency review. They would require TRS:  

  • to develop a communication and outreach plan to help repair the relationship between TRS and its members and to respond to member health care issues in a timely fashion; 
  • to publish staff incentives tied to fund performance and the incentive plan in the TRS comprehensive annual financial report for greater transparency; 
  • to improve efforts to return member contributions to inactive members; 
  • to appoint an ombudsman to report directly to the TRS board regarding complaints and appeals by members and to track member satisfaction; and
  • to provide more comprehensive information on TRS-Care healthcare costs, including out-of-pocket costs to retirees; 

Sen. Angela Paxton also added a recommendation to address the penalty structure for retirees who return to work in a more equitable and less punitive fashion. It specifies that TRS members who retire after January 1, 2011, and exceed employment-after-retirement limitations, are subject to either a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their monthly annuity or forfeiture of their full monthly annuity, whichever is less. The dollar-for-dollar reduction does not apply if a disability retiree exceeds the 90-day limit for a school year unless other existing exceptions for disability retirees apply. 
Read the Commission’s Decision Summary here.