Missouri State Representative Marsha Haefner (R-100) had an exchange of words with Mehlville school board member Rich Franz during a town hall meeting Friday.
At a June 21 board meeting, for their handling of Missouri’s Public School Retirement System, which he labeled a “ponzi scheme.”
“And my other problem is with the state legislatures. Those same teachers’ organizations, through their current and retired members, exert political influence on the state legislators and I fault the state legislators, including the legislators who represent the districts in this school district, for not having the political will and courage to address this issue,” Franz said. “They know it has to be fixed and they refuse or they have been unable and unwilling to do it because of the political fallout.”
Haefner said she was offended by that comment.
“First of all, no one has ever asked me what I am doing to help make changes to the public schools’ retirement system,” Haefner said. “That comment was made without ever a phone call, a question or anything.”
She also said she believes that the current retirement system must be fixed but that she alone cannot make that change happen.
“I deal in a system with 163 members in the house of representatives, 34 senators and a governor, that’s how I get to get things changed. I don’t deal on five or seven-member board. That’s my reality and I have to deal in reality—not in opinion or talking points to make me look better.”
Franz, who was in the audience, then asked Haefner a question which he said required a "simple yes or no answer.”
“Did either one of you introduced legislation to address this problem to try to solve it in the last session?” Franz said.
“I did not,” Haefner replied. “That doesn’t mean I don’t have any political will or political courage.”
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