MD State Senator Wants Pension Review

May 9, 2003 ( - A Maryland state senator is urging the governor to sign a bill to reform the supervising board of the state employee pension fund.

Senator Edward Kasemeyer, chairman of the Senate Pension Subcommittee, is fighting against the board that has asked Governor Robert Ehrlich to veto the measure.   In fact, Comptroller William Schaefer, a member of the board, called the measure unnecessary and Kasemeyer “a dictator,” according to a Columbia (Maryland) Flier report.

Kasemeyer, a sponsor of the bill that was unanimously passed in the Senate, said the bill is necessary because of controversies and problem with the $26-billion pension system in recent years.   Among those mentioned by Kasemeyer was former Maryland treasurer Richard Dixon who was being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about an investment manager for the board and a submanager who was convicted of fraud.  

Additionally, the pension system lost about $6 billion in assets over two years and $30 million through the failure of a computer procurement plan.   Kasemeyer added that two years ago, a majority of the board refused to certify an actuary’s recommendation on maintaining contributions to the retirement fund at a desirable level, “as required by state law.”

If signed into law, the bill would require five of the 14 members of the State Retirement and Pension System Board of Trustees be experts in pensions and investing. Current law does not require that any member have such qualifications. Officials for the Ehrlich administration did not offer any clues as to what action the governor may take with the measure.