Since 1935, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) has meant security and peace of mind to millions of Ohio’s retired public workers and their families. OPERS provides retirement, disability and survivor benefit programs for public employees throughout the state who are not covered by another state or local retirement system.

With total investment assets of $114.4 billion as of Dec. 31, 2023, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is the largest state pension fund in Ohio and the 14th-largest state pension fund in the United States.

OPERS Leadership

OPERS Board of Trustees

The OPERS Board of Trustees — the governing body of the system — is responsible for the administration and management of OPERS. The board meets monthly to review and formulate policies concerning the members, contributors and benefit recipients of OPERS, and the OPERS office staff.

OPERS Leadership Team

The OPERS Board of Trustees appoints an executive director and the executive director appoints other employees necessary for the transaction of business.

The senior staff members include:

  • Karen Carraher
    Executive Director
  • Tonya Brown
    Deputy Executive Director
  • Allen Foster
    Deputy Executive Director
  • Lauren Gresh
    Deputy Executive Director
  • Gordon Gatien
    Director – External Relations
  • Paul Greff
    Chief Investment Officer
  • Eric Harrell
    General Counsel
  • Stephen Kell
    Director – Information Technology
  • Caroline McNamee Stinziano
    Director – Internal Audit
  • Chuck Quinlan
    Director – Information Technology Strategy
  • Jenny Starr
    Director – Finance
  • Ciji Wilhelm
    Director – Human Resources

Who is a Member of OPERS?

All employees who are paid in whole or in part by the state of Ohio, a county, municipality, or any other political subdivision of state or local government in Ohio must become members of OPERS unless they are covered by another state retirement system in Ohio or by the Cincinnati Retirement System.

Membership begins from the first date of employment.

Membership Determination Process

Public employers and/or their workers seeking a membership determination for either independent contract/public employee status or carryover status follow this process:

Special Cases


The following individuals are ineligible for membership:


Member Contributions

A Personal Statement of Benefits based on a member's account value as of the previous December 31 is mailed during the first half of each year.

Federal tax law makes it possible for employers to pay (pick-up) member contributions to OPERS. This enables employers to designate member contributions picked-up by the employer as tax deferred.

Earnable Salary

Under Ohio law, contributions are made on an employee's earnable salary. Not all compensation is considered earnable salary. The following are examples of what compensation may be included or excluded for purposes of contributions to OPERS.

Earnable salary includes amounts such as salary, wages, pay for sick or vacation leave used or converted in the year earned (except for state employees), pay for overtime worked or converted in the year earned, or longevity supplements.

Earnable salary does not include employer-paid amounts for insurance, reimbursement for job-related expenses, leave or overtime hours earned previously but converted in the current year, amounts paid as part of an agreement to retire, or incidental benefits such as cars.