Retirement Plan Finance Official Dismissed in Expense Flap

April 28, 2009 ( - Officials at the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System will not discuss the firing of the program's chief fiscal officer, according to a media report.

A news report in the   Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said Trustee Paul Fair referred questions aboutSuzanne Davenport, former chief fiscal officer, to Executive Director George Hopkins who declined to elaborate.“It is a personnel matter, and we follow a policy of not commenting on personnel matters,” Hopkins told the newspaper.

According to the account, Fair indicated in an April 22 e-mail to Hopkins that he agreed with Hopkins’ decision to fire Davenport. “Judging from the reports, it is obvious that she was being used by the former Exec. Dir. to approve travel expenses and thereby preserve her employment,” Fair said in the e-mail, according to the newspaper.

The Democrat-Gazette said former system director   Paul Doane stepped down in October after receiving criticism from lawmakers over a state audit showing he traveled out of state on 115 of 246 workdays over 13 months and received reimbursements for trips where he has residences. Doane took 18 trips to Boston and three to New Mexico, according to a Legislative Audit Division report.

The news report said Davenport signed off on Doane’s travel reimbursements, according to deputy legislative auditor Charles Fiser.

Davenport’s firing came four days after the board of trustees met in a private meeting on personnel matters.

A document obtained by the newspaper referred to 28 out of 30 travel reimbursement forms reflecting “either inadequate support documents, date/location discrepancies, incorrect amounts and/or undocumented changes.”