White Re-Elected To State Board

White Re-Elected To State Board
White Re-Elected To State Board

Association President Ralph White, without opposition, has been elected to a fifth three-year term on the State Retirement Board.

“When the deadline for filing nomination papers came and there were no other candidates it was a surprise to me,” said White. “In the years that I’ve been on either the PRIM or State Board I’ve always had election opposition. However, I don’t regard this (election) as a so-called “free ride.” There are no free rides in this business. The challenge for improvement still exists.

“Even though I directly represent 136,000 state employees and retirees who are members of the Sate Retirement System, my duties extend to all of our retirement systems.

“In Massachusetts we have 105 retirement systems but in a sense we are all one big family governed by the same retirement law. Many state employees previously worked under local government and vice versa. Employees’ retirement credits are transferable from one retirement system to another,” White pointed out. “Massachusetts is unique in that regard. I don’t know of any state that has full portability of benefits within all of their retirement systems. Although our teachers’ retirement system is the only system designed for one specific profession, teachers can also transfer their time credit to another system.”

MACRS: Bonding of Systems

All of our retirement systems are members of the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems (MACRS), a professional organization that because of its all-encompassing standards would not be possible in most states.

“Within MACRS I have had the pleasure of serving as legislative chairman for many years. MACRS enables us to work as a team regardless of which retirement system we belong,” said White.

Over 50% of the MACRS Executive Board members, including its current President, Denis Devine, are retired members of their respective retirement systems and officers of their systems’ retirement boards. Devine, a retired Woburn Fire Lieutenant, is an elected member of the Woburn Retirement Board.

“Because I’m retired, I’m able to be at the State House with Ralph, Shawn (Duhamel) and Coley (Walsh) on a regular basis whenever the Legislature is in session,” said Devine. “Although our members come from a number of different professional backgrounds, we (MACRS) are really an extremely homogenous organization. We are all public sector employees or retirees who have faithfully served the Commonwealth and its cities and towns. And yes, we are accustomed to being unfairly maligned by the media. But, we maintain our pride and continue to bond and grow stronger because we truly believe in our values.”

PRIT FUND OPTION

Investment of their systems’ pension fund is the responsibility of all retirement board members. An option open to the Boards is to utilize the Commonwealth’s Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) Fund.
A number of Boards have placed all or a portion of their funds in PRIT for investment management. The Fund is governed by the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board, currently chaired by State Treasurer Steve Grossman.

Boards that place funds in PRIT for investment understand that it’s still their retirement system’s money and can be withdrawn at anytime.

In that regard these local systems will never be swallowed up by the state. “That will never happen. It’s a mythical panacea to a non-existant problem,” said White. “The Legislature, whose members are elected locally, fully realize that the backbone and beauty of our state’s local systems is their individuality whereby boards and their membership have an inherent closeness.

“Even though my system (State) and the Teachers’ System are statewide, we are a very small state in area and have avoided being labeled as bureaucratic.

“I know that members in my system have no trouble in reaching me or for that matter members of any system. The staff members as well as board members of our retirement boards do an outstanding job of reaching out to their members.”

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