Commonwealth of Massachusetts | Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission
Five Middlesex Avenue, Suite 304, Somerville, MA 02145
Ph 617 666 4446 | Fax 617 628 4002 | TTY 617 591 8917 | www.mass.gov/perac
Domenic J. F. Russo, Chairman
Auditor Suzanne M. Bump | Alan Macdonald | James M. Machado | Donald R. Marquis | Robert B. McCarthy | Gregory R. Mennis
Joseph E. Connarton, Executive Director
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: All Retirement Boards
FROM: Joseph E. Connarton, Executive Director
RE: Mandatory Retirement Board Member Training-Quarterly Update
DATE: October 3, 2012
Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011, An Act Providing for Pension Reform and Benefit Modernization, includes provisions mandating that retirement board members complete training during each year of service on the retirement board. During each member’s term on the retirement board, the member must complete 18 hours of training. This requirement, contained in the new Subdivision 7 of Section 20 of Chapter 32, takes effect for calendar year 2012.
PERAC will provide board members with appropriate forms to file as statements of completion of education. These will be provided before December 31, 2012. Retirement boards must provide these forms to board members who must submit completed forms regarding training programs completed in 2012 to PERAC by January 31, 2013. The Commission will then provide the board member with a summary status report by March 1, 2013.
Failure to meet this mandatory requirement will prohibit the member from serving beyond the conclusion of the term for which the training requirement was not met.
Pre – Approval
The Commission is willing to approve educational credits for a variety of events sponsored by “…local, state, regional and national organizations recognized by the Commission as having expertise in retirement issues of importance to retirement board members or other entities…” This provision of the statute has been interpreted to encompass particular programs offered by such entities. For example, an ethics class or open meeting law class offered as part of a broader conference may be eligible for education credit. However, as far as practicable, approval for such credit must take place well in advance of the date of the event. This will enable the Commission to analyze the program and to provide a general notice to retirement board members to maximize participation.
As of this date nearly 500 members have met the minimum 3 credit requirement this calendar year. If you have not completed an education program(s) and earned the minimum we urge you to attend one of the sessions outlined herein.
The Commission will grant three (3) hours of credit to retirement board members who complete a Public Education Seminar on the Conflict of Interest Law conducted by the State Ethics Commission. These sessions are sometimes held in conjunction with meetings of certain organizations. Credit will be granted upon receipt, by the Commission, of a copy of the Certificate of Attendance issued to the retirement board member by the State Ethics Commission.
October, November, and December Educational Events
MACRS October Conference – (Six Hours Credit)
Educational credit will be granted for sessions offered as part of the MACRS Conference held in Springfield, MA. October 14-17, 2012. PERAC will present three (3) hours of credit focusing on Anti-Spiking, Legislative Process, and the Impact of Chapter 176 on New Members on October 17. In addition, three (3) hours of credit will be awarded for participation in sessions provided by MACRS on other days of the Conference. Topics will include Securities Litigation Part 2, Pension Board Governance and Legal Issues. In all six (6) hours of credit are available.
PERAC Disability Training Program (3 Hours Credit)
Anti-Spiking / Calculations (Two Hours Credit)
State Ethics Commission Seminars (Three Hours Credit)
The State Ethics Commission will also be conducting educational seminars at its offices in Boston at One Ashburton Place, Room 619. The following is the schedule of these sessions for the remainder of 2012:
October 25, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
November 29, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
Seating at these sessions is limited. Please contact 617-371-9500 to enroll.
Office of the Inspector General – Bidding Basics (Three Hours Credit)
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has developed an introductory online course that covers the legal requirements for the procurement of contracts by local government bodies for supplies and services under M.G.L. c. 30B. Although that statute does not apply to “a contract for retirement board services” recently enacted law sets forth similar requirements for retirement boards to follow when seeking certain services. In addition, retirement board members, under their fiduciary duty to act as a prudent expert would act, should employ best practices in this area.
Bidding Basics takes two to three hours to complete. It has been designed to be completed through PACE, the Commonwealth’s Web-based Learning Management System, or at your stand alone computer using a Compact Disc (CD). PACE should be accessible to any entity with an Internet connection. Upon registering with the Office of the Inspector General, you will be issued a PACE Login ID and Password so that you may access PACE for free. For further information about Bidding Basics, access http://www.mass.gov/ig/mcppo/seminars-and-courses/bidding-bascis.html. (Please be sure to enter this address as it is spelled.) In the right-hand column of that page you may access a link to the Bidding Basics FAQs and a link to the Bidding Basics Online Registration Form, or you may obtain the form directly by selecting http://www.mass.gov/ig/publications/forms/bb-online-regform.doc.
The Commission would be remiss if we did not also thank all the rank and file members of the retirement boards who, in spite of other pressing duties, are making a good faith effort to fulfill their duties and responsibilities under the new law.