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Check Out The New KRS Dream Director Candidate

April 16th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Not long ago, a guy from San Diego interviewed in-person at Kentucky Retirement Systems to take over as Executive Director. That’s all puppies and rainbows, right?

It is.

Until you find out he’s barely been holding on to his job in Southern California by one vote. Five people want to keep him, four people do not. For reasons that will make you more angry at Frankfort than you were already.

His name is Brian White and he’s really good at hiding things from the Securities and Exchange Commission:

Stephen Walsh and Paul Greenwood of WG Trading were arrested Feb. 25 on charges they misappropriated $535 million of retirement plan and endowment money. Federal investigators say the pair spent more than $160 million on items like rare books, horses, and an $80,000 teddy bear. Pension board member Doug Rose, a San Diego County prosecutor, sharply criticized SDCERA Chief Executive Brian White for failing to contact federal investigators when the fund learned of problems at WG Trading before the arrests. Rose said SDCERA was keeping a lid on information that might useful to prosecutors. “I’m baffled as to why we’re not reaching out and affirmatively offering our hand to the SEC,” he said.

That’d be helpful for the current investigation at KRS, wouldn’t it?

He’s allegedly got a solid history of retaliating (Warning: Extern PDF Link) against whistleblowers.

You’ll absolutely want to read the rest of what Frankfort money brokers wish wouldn’t see the light of day…

He’s great at trying to justify high salaries for staff (friends):

White did not think his $250,000 salary was high enough, and he sought to pay the CIO over $800,000.

To get around county salary limits, SDCERA CEO Brian White sought to insert language into pending state pension legislation that would allow county pension agencies to become special districts.

He’s even leading the fight against transparency in California when it comes to disclosing retirement pension data.

Wait, there’s more:

It was reported that the SDCERA has spent over a $100,000 for this particular legal fight to reject a data request from the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility and media groups. In response to criticism about this expense and the pension fund’s choice to appeal an order regarding the release of data, the chief executive officer of SDCERA, Brian White, recently penned an op-ed for the San Diego Union Tribune. White contends that the pension fund wants to keep the names of pensioners confidential because it is striving to protect some of society’s most vulnerable individuals: the elderly and disabled.

Mmm hmm:

Neither Jacob nor the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association board formally agreed to expand the staff, nor did they agree to seek a waiver of pension fund employees’ salary limits. ….But the fund’s CEO, Brian White, went ahead, sending a July 7 letter to the county’s chief administrator, Walt Ekard, asking for the necessary approval to waive the salary cap and expand the staff. White didn’t have his board’s approval

Yep:

When approached after the vote on Thursday last week, pension system CEO Brian White said there was no need to inform the retirement board that the Molpus Woodlands Group is in business with Salient Partners, the Houston consulting firm that guides the $8 billion pension fund.

Oh:

Yet, instead of calling the shots and outlining his staff’s responsibilities, SDCERA’s CEO has reached out on numerous occasions to Partridge for advice on staff responsibilities, the emails show. While San Diego County rules prohibit outside contractors from supervising public employees, whether Partridge is following such regulations is unclear.

Sounds like a great fit for the KRS so far!

Great:

Jeffrey Baker, an investment officer at the $8 billion San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA), claims in a civil service complaint that risk limits have been breached by contracted portfolio strategist Lee Partridge.

Michael Aguirre, partner with law firm Aguirre, Morris & Severson and former San Diego city attorney, is representing Baker.

Just gets better and better:

  • County agency defends hiring costly PR firm [FOX5]
  • Despite Revisiting Timber Investment, SDCERA Claims No Conflict [AI-CIO]
  • Pension fund to take up investment again [Union-Tribune]
  • San Diego County Pension Terminates “Whistleblower” [AI-CIO]
  • Parts of pension fund overstep risk limits [Union Tribune]

The flexible new board at KRS can finally get the Executive Director they want for making things disappear. A guy who has applied for so many E.D. jobs across the country that his current county issued a press release (Warning: External PDF Link) about his candidacy for a job in Texas. A guy who hired an outside public relations firm on San Diego’s dime to help him interview for jobs.

Sounds like a perfect fit to us.

Tags: Corruption · Flashback · Wasted Money

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jimfkft // Apr 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Looks like same old-same old. The search for a new executive director is being conducted without any input at all from stakeholders — the retirees themselves. Only the board and staff are on the search committee. Transparency, indeed.

  • 2 J. Bruce Miller // Apr 17, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’ve read this closely, now, on two occasions. The claims and ‘draw-downs’ from the claims appear to be completely accurate. As a former office holder in Jefferson County and having known several of the office holders, presently residing in Frankfort offices, I am simply and completely dumfounded that this kind of individual is EVEN being considered for this position. If this is the case, then whomever is advising the existing Governor is doing a MISERABLE job and should be promptly exited. I will accept the likelihood that the Governor doesn’t know all this because he’s occupied with a number of PROBLEMS. However, that’s what he has a staff for and there is little question in my mind that there are way to many sycophants occupying those staff positions who simply are unwilling or incapable of providing proper and efficient advice.
    This is tragic.

  • 3 Jimfkft // Apr 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

    On Mr. Miller’s point, KRS hired a headhunter to guide the search. Was this candidate recommended? If so, did the headhunter do due diligence?

  • 4 Curt Morrison // Apr 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

    What J. Bruce Miller said, except I believe the Governor has intentionally sought out the sycophants intentionally.
    There’s ridiculous examples like where he’s appointed Charles Buddecke to chair the Bridges Authority when Buddecke’s family owns land that will be used by the Bridges Project. He’s appointed the River Fields attorney, Bob Griffith to chair the Kentucky Heritage Council. When the governor stops outsourcing, um, governing to Stites and Harbison, we’ll all be the better off.
    Chris Tobe was the rare example where he appointed someone based on their expertise, doubt if we’ll see much more of that in the future.