Attempt to Expand FL Pension Board Voted Down

December 9, 2009 ( – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's attempt to expand the board that oversees the state's pension fund was voted down by her two colleagues on the board.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that Attorney General Bill McCollum, and Governor Charlie Crist voted against Sink’s proposal to include on the board an expert in investments as well as a representative of the more than one million beneficiaries. Sink had also proposed requiring fiduciary training for the three State Board of Administration members, all members of its audit committee, investment advisory council, and local-government advisory council; and requiring regular independent audits, to include both financial gains or losses and internal operations of the agency (see Sunshine State CFO Calls for Pension Board Revamping).

According to the news report, McCollum offered a more modest set of oversight changes that included adding three members to a six-member Investment Advisory Council and stricter requirements for annual financial statements on the pension fund’s performance. Both officials’ proposals will be sent to the Legislature without recommendations.

Sink said the inadequacy of having only three elected officials oversee the state’s pension fund was exposed in the 2007 pension fund “crisis” that led to a temporary freeze on withdrawals from a local government investment pool and resignation of the fund’s executive director. She also pointed out that Florida is the only state that has its governor and attorney general as voting trustees of its pension fund.

“The only way we can we can assure that we continue to manage this fund properly . . . is that we have a board of trustees who has experience in financial and auditing matters,” Sink said, according to the Times.