The City of Detroit has left whole areas without street lighting and even proposed allowing buildings to burn rather than spend the money on fire fighters. The mayor has called it quits and even an emergency manager appears close to throwing in the towel on the city. However, Detroit’s two public pension funds (long accused of gross mismanagement) are sending four trustees to Hawaii at the cost of $22,000 as an educational trip.
The funds are reportedly $600 million underfunded due to poor management. Yet, while Detroit literally burns and descends into darkness, four trustees will be drinking Mai Tais on the beach in Hawaii.
Trustees insist the conference provides the education needed to manage the public fund competently. Other major public pension systems, including the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions, have declined to send trustees to the conference.
The six-day National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) conference starts this weekend on the 22-acre oceanfront resort at Waikiki.
Cynthia Thomas the executive director for both funds insists that the expenses fall within the systems’ travel and expense policies — and will offer important educational opportunities for the trustees. She further stressed “The way conferences are set up, there’s not too many of them happening in Indiana or Kansas.”
Well, it certainly is not going to be Detroit any time soon.