Texas Bill Seeks to Boost Employee, Employer Pension Contributions


The Texas House of Representatives unveiled a bill on Tuesday aimed at shoring up the funding status of its pension system.

The reforms specifically target members of the Employees Retirement System (ERS), which is 76 percent funded.

The bill would boost contributions to the System for both employees and employers.

More details from the Texas Tribune:

The roughly $440 million proposal would increase how much the state and its workers contribute to the Employees Retirement System pension fund, which currently holds just 76 cents for every dollar it promises retired workers.

Employees — who gave the plan mixed reviews — would get across-the-board pay raises to ease the strain.

“This is a balanced proposal to assure that neither the state employees nor our taxpayers are expected to fix the problem on their own,” said Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, who chairs the House Pensions Committee.

Under the plan, employees and the state would each boost their contributions to the fund to 9.5 percent of payroll by 2017 – 2 percent more than what each would chip in otherwise. Meanwhile, workers would see a 2.5 percent pay boost.

ERS is Texas’ second-largest pension system, with 230,000 members.

ERS Executive Director Ann Bishop testified in front of state lawmakers late last year and warned that pension liabilities, if not dealt with, could hurt the state’s credit rating soon.

Texas Employees Retirement System Hires Executive Director

Texas Proof

Porter Wilson has been tapped as the new executive director of the Texas Employees Retirement System. His hire was approved on Thursday.

Reported by Pensions & Investments:

Trustees of the Austin-based pension fund approved Mr. Wilson’s hire at a board meeting on Thursday to eventually replace Ann S. Bishop, the current executive director, as a “step in succession planning,” said ERS spokeswoman Mary Jane Wardlow, in an e-mail.

Ms. Bishop announced her intention to retire to the board “some time ago,” Ms. Wardlow said, but the date of her departure has not been set.

Mr. Wilson’s arrival date has not been set yet either, although the plan is that Mr. Wilson will join ERS soon in order to work side by side with Ms. Bishop during the forthcoming Texas legislative session, which begins in January, Ms. Wardlow said.

Mr. Wilson now is associate vice chancellor for governmental relations for the Texas Tech University System, Lubbock.

The Texas Employees Retirement System manages $26 billion in assets.

Chicago Teacher’s Pension Executive Director Resigns


Kevin Huber, the executive director of the Chicago Public Schools Teachers’ Pension & Retirement Fund, has announced his plans to resign from the fund. From a fund press release:

Kevin B. Huber, executive director of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF) submitted his resignation and will leave the fund effective December 31, 2014. Huber joined the fund as Chief Financial Officer in 1999, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2005. He has been on medical leave since May 2014.

“Our Trustees thank Mr. Huber for the outstanding leadership and guidance he has provided our fund during the past 16 years. As CFO and then as Executive Director, he has worked tirelessly on behalf of our members and our staff, and has set a high standard for our fund,” said Jay C. Rehak, president of the CTPF Board of Trustees. “He brought a rare combination of professional and interpersonal skills to this position and we will miss him greatly.”

The Board of Directors has initiated a national search for candidates to fill Huber’s position, and is working with executive search firm EFL Associates. The fund’s current Interim Executive Director, Peter A. Driscoll, will stay on with the fund through March 31, 2015, to ensure a smooth transition.

CTPF manages just under $11 billion in assets.

Controversy Follows New Oregon PERS Director

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The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) has informed current deputy director Steve Rodeman that he will move into the fund’s top job when executive director Paul Cleary retires in December.

Rodeman has been the fund’s second-in-command since 2008. But his tenure hasn’t been without controversy – last year, there were complaints of harassment and discrimination in the workplace under Rodeman’s watch.

Reported by the Oregonian:

In July 2013, the former director of Human Resources at PERS, Helen Bamford, asked the Department of Justice to investigate employee complaints of discrimination, harassment and a hostile work environment against a group of managers, principally Rodeman, after her efforts to address the complaints internally were unsuccessful.

The DOJ investigation was resolved without a finding, but Bamford subsequently filed a whistleblower and discrimination complaint with the state Employee Relations Board and a tort claim against the state after being forced out of PERS “for the good of the agency.”

Bamford is currently working for the Oregon State Board of Nursing but still officially a PERS employee. She signed a settlement agreement last week with the state, which will pay her $30,000. Neither side admitted fault.

Board members said Friday they were aware of the complaints, but didn’t deal with them directly or discuss them as a board.

“Personnel matters don’t come before the board,” said Pat West, a retired Salem firefighter who sits on the board. “It’s not an issue we would deal with.”

Rodeman did not respond to a request for comment.

Rodeman will be paid an annual salary of $168,000 in his new position.

Oregon PERS Chooses Next Executive Director

NOW HIRINGPaul Cleary, who for ten years has sat at the helm of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, announced this summer that he would retire in December.

Since then, the Oregon PERS has searched for its next executive director. They’ve now announced their decision to promote from within: the next executive director will be Steve Rodeman, who currently serves as the fund’s deputy director.

The move comes on the heels of a push to move more of the fund’s investments in-house. From Chief Investment Officer:

Steve Rodeman, the deputy director of Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), has been chosen as the pension’s new executive director.

On Friday, the PERS board voted unanimously to elect the 13-year veteran to the post, local news website oregonlive.com reported.

In March, state lawmakers and public pension representatives pushed for legislative reform to align fiduciary responsibility and bring risk and portfolio management in-house.

Under current governance policy, the treasurer has authority over investment and personnel oversight and cash management via the Oregon Investment Council (OIC). As a result of this structure, the state has had to outsource much of its risk and portfolio management to Wall Street money managers.

Although Rodeman has been with PERS for more than a decade, his role has been on the operational rather than investment side of the organisation.

No official comment had been made by Oregon PERS at the time of going to press.

PERS considered 30 applicants for the job.

Rodeman will be paid an annual salary of $168,000.


 Photo by Nathan Stephens via Flickr CC License

Illinois Pension Board Director to Retire; Search for New Director Begins Soon

Board room chair

William Mabe, executive director of the State University Retirement System of Illinois, has announced that he will retire on March 31.

The System plans to hire a firm to search for and secure a new director by the time Mabe leaves his post.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

William Mabe, executive director of the State University Retirement System, will retire on March 31, and five of the 11 board members’ terms will expire next summer.


The board expects to hire a search firm at an Oct. 30 meeting to find a new executive director, and intends to choose the new leader by the time Mabe retires, a spokesman said.

Mabe, 67, said in an interview Thursday that he could have stayed on for another three years, but chose to retire now to do other things with his life.

“I’ve been here for five years and I’ve stayed as long as I had planned to stay,” Mabe said. “The pension issue had nothing to do with it. It’s still lingering in the courts, and (the SURS leadership) did the heavy lifting we had to do. … I wanted to retire when that was completed and things were quiet.”

There may be further turnover on the board, as the terms of five more trustees expire in June 2015.