Ohio pension funds put some expenditures on OhioCheckbook.com

From The Plain Dealer Operating expenditures for Ohio's five public retirement funds can now be seen online -- sort of.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel on Tuesday announced the launch of a pension fund section on his OhioCheckbook.com public spending website. The launch included $700 million in operating expenditures from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, State Teachers Retirement System, School Employees Retirement System, Police and Fire Pension Fund and the Highway Patrol Retirement System.

But the spending information available is largely out of date. Expenditures were given for only three months for one system and four years for another. Only one, the Ohio State Teachers Retirement System, included expenditures made within the last year.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System voted Wednesday to provide expenditure data for OhioCheckbook.com, a project established in December 2014 by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Mandel urged the pension funds to put their spending on Ohiocheckbook.com last year, publicly pressuring the funds after they initially rejected his pleas. The Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund was the first to sign on, in October. In December, Mandel announced all five would submit expenditures for the database.

Benefits paid to retirees and dependents are not part of the checkbook-level expenses in the database.

"These pension funds should not be cloaked in secrecy -- to the contrary they should be open kimono," Mandel said at a Tuesday news conference. "I believe that taxpayers as well as the cops, firefighters, teachers and other public employees have the right to know how their retirement money is being handled."

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