Springfield's Finance Control Board Flexes Muscle

MAY 2005
- Springfield's Finance Control Board, appointed by Governor Romney to
oversee the embattled city's fiscal crisis, has targeted the
Springfield Retirement Board's investment record as part of the city's
problem.

Shortly after Mayor Charles
Ryan appointed Control Board member Tom Trimarco to the Retirement
Board, Trimarco said that the city's pension fund investments had
underperformed the state's Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT)
Fund by about $12 million a year over the past six years.

While
not directly blaming the Board members, Trimarco's criticism of the
fund came at a March 28 Board meeting which was attended by a large
contingent of news media. Board elected members Jim Harrigan (Chairman)
and Joe Nowak were critical of Trimarco's strategy, feeling that he had
made certain that there would be a strong media presence at the
meeting. In fact, an angered Nowak said he objected to the board being
given a “political dog and pony show” and walked out of the meeting.

The
Board agreed to invite officials of the PRIM Board (PRIT Fund trustees)
to make a presentation at an April 20 meeting. Local retirement boards
have the option of placing their pension fund within the PRIT Fund pool
for investment.

Led by Harrigan and
Nowak, the Board had voted 3-2 for a 3% July COLA for retirees.
Trimarco and ex officio member (auditor) ¬Mark Ianello wanted a 2.7%
COLA. Jeff Poindexter, the Board's other member, was the swing vote.

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