As part of recent contract negotiations, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has agreed to disclose more of its pension data to the public.
The MBTA retirement fund is among the most tight-lipped public pension funds in the country, due to laws that exempt it from following public records laws.
The MBTA will now release its members’ monthly pension benefits to the public. It will also improve its annual financial reports to include more information.
Reported by the Boston Globe:
Under the contract, the Boston Carmen’s Union adopted language to require the $1.6 billion T retirement fund to disclose members’ pension benefits to the MBTA at least monthly. The MBTA in turn will post them on the state website that discloses all public employee pensions, Open Checkbook.
In addition, the union agreed that fund trustees will improve the annual report to meet the standards of the Government Finance Officers Association.
The fund’s annual report for years has left out essential elements, prompting warnings from auditors. The fund also failed to disclose a $25 million loss on a hedge fund investment in 2012, until the matter was reported by the Globe last year. Currently, the loss is posted on the pension fund’s website.
The union, which also won a 10 percent pay increase over the next four years, approved the pension and work agreements last weekend. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation affirmed the $94 million accord Wednesday.
The T pension fund, partially supported by taxpayers, is organized as a trust and not required to follow public records laws. That position was upheld by the state Supreme Judicial Court in 1993.
Transparency advocates didn’t get everything they wanted, however. The fund is still refusing to disclose documents related to investment losses associated with certain hedge funds.
Photo by Truthout.org via Flickr CC License