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Concerns that bill to separate county retirement from state goes farther

I am a retiree of the Kentucky Retirement Systems' County Employees Retirement System(CERS), having invested 40 years of service to my communities as a police officer and deputy sheriff. Obviously, I have a vested interest in the welfare of CERS. To that point I filed a civil action in the Franklin Circuit Court to challenge KRS investment practices when KRS asserted the City of Ft. Wright had no cause to challenge investment practices. The Ft.Wright case has been returned to the Franklin Circuit court and warrants your review.

I write to you today because of my concerns about Senate Bill 226. This bill is 376 pages long and has passed out of committee. The bill seeks to separate CERS from KRS administration, but goes beyond separation. I have a concern it will be used to reduce existing benefits, contrary to KY Revised Statute 78.852, by nullifying the inviolable contract provisions of 78.852.

**Editor's note: SB 226 can be found at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/17RS/SB226.htm

I believe that passage of this bill without further review constitutes a haphazard and premature action by the KY legislature. A performance audit of KRS investment practices is underway, likely paid in part by CERS. Why should SB 226 be enacted before PFM finalizes its report on KRS performance? Why should SB 226 be enacted before the new KRS Board of Directors, appointed by Gov. Bevin, have a chance to turn around investments? See New state pension board focused on accountability

for insight into the new Board's actions. Why does Governor Matt Bevin claim that pension liabilities are $82 billion, when others place the liability closer to $ 30 billion? I agree understating the liability undermines retiree security, but overstating the liability can be cause for draconian benefit cuts for retirees which may not be necessary. There are certainly many questions about pension reform legislation. I only hope that you in KY's media can sift through the political rhetoric to get answer for those of us who have served our communities. Thank you. May we not become a Commonwealth divided and conquered.

The Public Pension Oversight Board meets Monday Feb 27th at 1:00pm at Capitol Annex.

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