Teachers Union President Siphons $1 Million From Ohio Educators

Frost-Brooks crosses PSU picket line
OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks crosses Professional Staff Union picket line, September 2010

Outgoing Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Patricia Frost-Brooks was paid a total of $998,949 from 2008-2012, the first five years of her six-year tenure.

Thanks to union contracts that existed long before many current teachers were hired, the vast majority of OEA’s revenue comes from more than $450 per year in dues deducted automatically from tens of thousands of Ohio teachers’ paychecks.

Based on OEA’s annual report to the U.S. Department of Labor, the union collected over $58 million in dues and “fair share” fees in 2012.

While Frost-Brooks has benefited the most from OEA’s generous officer and executive salaries during the past five years, others are not far behind. OEA Vice President Bill Leibensperger was paid a sum of $943,231 from 2008-2012, while OEA Secretary-Treasurer James Timlin was paid $923,658.

OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks was paid $849,159 from 2009-2012, and was one of two OEA executive directors paid more than $200,000 in 2009.

Although OEA rhetoric emphasizes solidarity with members while demonizing greedy corporations, the salaries shown in the following chart were taken from Ohio teachers who can avoid paying only by choosing another profession, finding a job in one of Ohio’s few non-unionized schools, or moving to a workplace freedom state.


The brief 2011 dip in Frost-Brooks’s compensation, to a paltry $148,211, followed a year when OEA staff picketed the union’s Columbus headquarters and OEA agreed to fork over a $3.75 million settlement to retirees whose benefits the union had cut.

Frost-Brooks, who was OEA vice president prior to being elected the teachers union’s top officer, was paid $173,910 in 2007.

Due to teacher layoffs resulting from a combination of the national real estate crash and years of outrageous OEA contract demands, the union’s membership plummeted from 128,085 at the end of 2008 to 122,104 at the end of 2012.

Incoming OEA President Becky Higgins defeated Leibensperger in a May election where 1,010 union delegates – less than 0.8 percent of OEA’s members – voted.

Media Trackers contacted Higgins and asked whether she anticipates her own salary will resemble the $267,916 Frost-Brooks was paid in 2012. Higgins, who takes the reins at OEA on September 1, did not reply.

If OEA’s annual reports are an indication, a leadership position in the teachers union should be the highest aspiration of any Ohioan who would like to become extraordinarily rich by attacking the rich while pandering to the people forced to pay his or her salary.

OEA is currently in the process of hiring a new executive director – a position paid $222,167 in 2012, whose responsibilities include leading union front group We Are Ohio.