Monday, February 27, 2012

Pension board won't move; members may

As officials on the pension board wrestle over zillion dollar retirement plans, the board this morning did agree not to move its office out of the Deathstar.

As pension board Executive Director Kim Bennett said: “The move will cost easily another $30,000 to $40,000 a year.”

For about a year now, members have been in discussion about relocating the tiny office from the Deathstar’s third floor over to Landmark Plaza, at the corner of Papermill and Northshore drives. There are some advantages, like accessibility, parking, space, etc. But there are also costs.

In the end it came down to the county cutting the board a deal. I’m not going to get into it, because this stuff is already boring enough. Just know that the office is not moving. And that the spitting contest between the administration and the pension board could be over. At least on this issue. Then again . . . .

During this morning’s meeting the board also talked about a few other items that cost coin: traveling and the retiree luncheon.

So, the pension board office is staying put, but some members may be on the move as they have an opportunity to take two trips. One places them in San Diego around April 22 and the other in New York from May 5 through 10. Based on past records, the trips cost about $2,000 per person.

The California trip is the annual Wilshire convention. Wilshire is the board’s investment consultant. The New York trip is for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems.

The reality is that the trips are probably worthwhile. From what I understand the current board members actually attend the meetings and the seminars. (This was not always the case in the past when some other folks served.) And, yes, they are allowed to play golf, but they don’t when the courses are held.

“It’s time very well spent,” said, Doctor, Colonel and County Commissioner Richard Briggs, also a pension board member.

Added pension board member, educator and County Commissioner Tony Norman: “Mike, I’m thinking about taking one of these trips so go ahead and write about it.”

OK, no problem.

The pension board also hosts its annual retiree luncheon on April 10. This is the big fling-ding where all the folks get to hang out and eat a free (for them) meal, usually catered by Rothchild. They also have the chance to snag a door prize. Last year the event cost about $9,100, but donations paid more about half of that, Bennett said, adding that about two-thirds of the costs and a small amount of door prizes are already covered for this year’s event.

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