COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A man who sits on the board for the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) was asked by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to step down.

In an email obtained by NBC4, STRS board member Wade Steen indicated that the governor’s office had requested he step down. Steen was appointed to the STRS board by then-governor John Kasich in 2016, reappointed by DeWine in 2020, with his term extending through Sept. 2024, according to the STRS website.

On Friday, DeWine released a list of recent appointees and among them was Dublin’s G. Brent Bishop as a new board member for STRS. Bishop’s term began on Friday, according to the governor’s office, indicating that Steen is already off the board.

“Mr. Steen served at the pleasure of the governor,” said the governor’s spokesman Dan Tierney to NBC4’s Colleen Marshall. “The governor made it clear he needed someone to represent full-time the needs of teachers on the board.”

Steen claimed to the governor’s office they do not have the authority to revoke his board membership, according to the email NBC4 obtained. Sources within a group of retirees who have opposed recent actions of the board told NBC4 that Wade Steen was forced off the board when DeWine realized that the balance of power would tip.

In an email, Steen said no one has worked harder for Ohio’s teachers and that he will match his attendance records with anyone else on the board. He added he still considers himself a member of the board and that he is exploring his legal options.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Robin Rayfield, executive director of the Ohio Retirement for Teachers Association (ORTA), said Steen is still a member of the board, saying his removal is not legally binding.

“The applicable statute governing the STRS board makes clear that only a court can remove a STRS board member,” Rayfield wrote.

STRS finished an election on Saturday for a new member of the retirement board which saw Pat Davidson defeat Arthur Lard by 12,000 votes to occupy an open seat. Davidson is scheduled to begin his term on the board in September.

Rayfield said making the move in an attempt to change the makeup of the board just hours before the results of the election “reinforces the broken trust that educators have with their pension system.”

“Teachers are praying the Governor will respect the votes of Ohio teachers who have elected reform candidates to the STRS board for the past five elections,” Rayfield wrote. “Wade Steen is part of the solution, not the problem.

Managers of Ohio’s $90 billion public teacher pension fund are considering a larger round of bonuses for its investment staff despite retired educators’ concerns. At a monthly meeting in April, presented to its 11-member board a proposal to set aside $11.1 million of its $115 million budget in 2024 for performance-based bonuses for its investment staff.

The allocation – which marks a 30.6% increase from last year’s monetary incentives – accounts for investors beating their benchmarks and keeping the fund’s talent competitive, STRS spokesperson Dan Minnich said.

NBC4’s Colleen Marshall has requested an interview with DeWine.