From The Denver Post: The board of Colorado’s retirement system should delay voting on a compensation package for its executive director until details of the deal are released to the public first.
The Public Employees’ Retirement Association is scheduled to vote Wednesday on what has been described as a “lavish” new compensation package for Greg Smith. But the board won’t reveal what the package contains until after the vote.
This is not a smart move. As a public pension dependent on taxes, PERA should be more transparent, as Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton wrote in a recent letter.
“The board should be mindful that we are here to protect all PERA stakeholders, (including) PERA members as well as the people who make this plan possible, Colorado’s taxpayers,” he wrote.
The public should have the right to scrutinize the director’s compensation package before the vote. And the board has a responsibility to justify what it considers a fair offer.
Jefferson County Schools learned this lesson last year, when it infuriated the public by failing to disclose the proposed contract for incoming Superintendent Dan McMinimee before a vote. The district relented after an e-mail campaign of protest, posting a proposed deal that would have paid McMinimee $280,000. The contract was adjusted after the public’s response.
Under Colorado’s open records law, a document distributed to elected board members for use in a meeting loses its status as “work product” and therefore is a public record. And while PERA’s board is appointed rather than elected, the same principle of transparency should apply.
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