NC CIO Was Fired, Records Show

September 28, 2009 ( - Tar Heel State Treasurer Janet Cowell said last month that the state's chief investment officer had resigned, but published reports now suggest a different story.

According to various media reports – including those from WRAL-TV and the Raleigh News Observer, Patricia Gerrick was fired on September 4th from her $340,000 a year state job as Deputy State Treasurer and the investment chief for North Carolina’s pension funds.   The NC Treasury initially claimed that Gerrick had “resigned” See  NC Pension System CIO Steps Down ), but a WRAL-TV report refuted that statement, after discovering a document that showed that Gerrick was offered the chance to resign but refused and was subsequently fired.

That same document reportedly said that Gerrick’s dismissal came about because “in addition to other concerns, a review of various agency records supported my determination that separation of Ms. Gerrick was appropriate.”

The memo did not state what those records were or what they indicated, but the Raleigh Telegram notes that WRAL-TV reported that Gerrick had to repay $3,045.80 for personal use of her state-issued cellular phone.   The WRAL-TV report alleged that records involving Gerrick “also showed that investment firms doing business with the state’s pension fund paid for Gerrick to travel all over the world to meet fund managers.”

Updated Ethics Forms

Gerrick had recently updated sworn ethics forms, disclosing that outside managers of the state’s retirement money had paid for her travel to various meetings, following an August 13 ruling by state ethics officials that said travel-related expenses paid by outside agencies for pension fund employees should be reported on ethics forms. Gerrick filed an amended return early this month that listed 13 trips provided by fund managers worth a total of $19,965, most for “advisory board” meetings, according to the Telegram.

The Raleigh Telegram also reports that after Gerrick was fired in Indiana in 2003, she sued alleging racial discrimination, and was paid $212,000 in hush money to leave in a secret agreement that wasn’t revealed until almost two years later (see  “Secret” Settlement at IPERF Comes to Light ).   Gerrick was the first female and first black person to hold the position for North Carolina (see  Tar Heel Fund Gets New CIO ).