All UFT members are being urged by the union’s leadership to sign nominating petitions to re-elect Tom Brown to another three-year term as a trustee on the Teachers’ Retirement System board.
Brown, the union’s assistant treasurer, was endorsed overwhelmingly by the UFT Delegate Assembly on Feb. 8. Nominating petitions are in all schools and must be returned no later than March 31. All regularly appointed school staff members, including school supervisors, and all paraprofessionals who have joined the Teachers’ Retirement System may sign.
UFT Treasurer Mel Aaronson, a former trustee, told the Delegate Assembly that Brown has the three attributes a trustee of the retirement system should have. “A trustee should be a fiduciary, able to understand the investments,” Aaronson told the delegates. “A trustee has to know the rules of the retirement system so he can act as an advocate for members. Finally, he has to be able to lead us in the fight taking place all over the country against those who are trying to take away public pensions. Tom Brown can do all of those things.”
Brown, a longtime UFT pension consultant, was first elected to the board in 2014. He participates in the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems and the National Council on Teacher Retirement.
He started his teaching career as a Spanish teacher at IS 234 in Brooklyn in 1978 and subsequently served as chapter leader. After serving as a part-time pension consultant for the UFT for 10 years, Brown became a special representative assigned to the Pension Department in 2007. He regularly visits schools to speak with members, both in groups and individually, about pensions, and he has conducted countless pension clinics and workshops.
Brown has led training programs for new pension consultants and is co-editor of the UFT’s pension newsletter, PensioNews. He also works closely with the Retired Teachers Chapter to advise its members on pension matters.
“In 251 days, we will be voting on the constitutional convention,” Aaronson reminded the delegates. “If it passes, it could jeopardize many of our pension benefits. We want somebody on the Teachers’ Retirement System board who understands that and is going to help us lead the fight against it.”