Massachusetts Police Pension’s Decision to Remain Opaque Spurs Controversy

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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s police pension fund has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for its refusal to open its books and reveal the benefits it is paying out to its retired members.

Stephanie Pollack, the state’s transportation secretary, said the fund “owe[s] it to the public” to reveal the benefit data.

But the fund’s books remain closed – and its opaqueness may be protected by a Supreme Court ruling for over 20 years ago.

From the Boston Herald:

Sidney Chase, the police fund’s executive director, said the decision to release the information is up to its board, which he said would take up the Herald’s request at its next meeting on Wednesday.

But Chase said the “same question had come up in the past” and argued that a Supreme Judicial Court ruling shielded it from disclosure, even though the retirement fund took more than $2.2 million from the MBTA last fiscal year.

Chase could not identify the ruling, but the MBTA Retirement Fund, which had operated in secrecy for decades, had fought to block its records from public view using a 1993 high court case.

“It’s a private plan,” said Chase, who didn’t return repeated follow-up calls and emails from the Herald.

[…]

The move by the MBTA Police Association Retirement Plan to shield its list of retirees receiving taxpayer-funded benefits comes as other T funds have coughed up their records. For instance, the T’s general retirement plan, finally did so in 2013 after it fought a now 2-year-old state law that makes such funds subject to public records law.

Last year, the MBTA waited a full year to disclose its association with a troubled hedge fund.

 

Photo by TaxRebate.org.uk

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