MEMORANDUM #08, 2013

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:          On-Line Training for Educational Credit

DATE:      January 15, 2013

The Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) is pleased to announce that commencing immediately a retirement board member who completes the newly revised Ethics Commission Conflict of Interest Law online training program will receive 3 credits towards meeting his or her education requirement under Chapter 32.  In the past, although credit has been granted for Ethics Commission Seminars, PERAC had been unable to grant credit for the mandatory on - line course as it consisted only of multiple choice questions and did not include an overview of the Ethics Law.

In order to access the program retirement board members should go to the Ethics Commission Web Page at www.mass.gov/ethics/ and then click on the link “Conflict of Interest On line Training Programs”.  Following transfer to that page scroll down and click the link to “Municipal Employee Online Training Program”.
At the conclusion of the program the board member will be able to generate a completion certificate to send to the retirement board and to the Commission.
The Ethics Commission instructions indicate:

Please note that, under the State Ethics Law, this on - line training program must be completed by each retirement board member once every two years.  PERAC will grant 3 credits only once each term for completion of this course.

Also, retirement board members who have met the Ethics Law requirement by taking the test which comprised the previous Ethics on line training program and did not receive PERAC education credit for that course may take the new course and receive 3 educational credits.

ON-LINE TRAINING
As a result of this initiative retirement board members now have three on-line courses available to them as part of the PERAC Educational Program:

State Ethics Commission On-Line Conflict of Interest Law Training (Three Hours Credit):
As noted above, in order to access the program retirement board members should go to the Ethics Commission Web Page at www.mass.gov/ethics/ and then click on the link “Conflict of Interest On line Training Programs”.  Following transfer to that page scroll down and click the link to “Municipal Employee Online Training Program”.

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 standalone 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.  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

Office of the Attorney General – Open Meeting Law (Three Hours Credit)
The Office of the Attorney General (AG) offers an on line web training seminar on the Open Meeting Law at http://www.youtube.com/user/MassAttorneyGeneral It can also be accessed through the AG’s Web Page by clicking on “Government Resources” and then clicking on “Open Meeting Law” and on that page clicking on “Web Training”.

Retirement board members can confirm participation by filing an affidavit with the Commission.

Once again, thank you for your cooperation.