MEMORANDUM #18, 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:          Mandatory Retirement Board Member Training-3rd Quarter 2013

DATE:      July 5, 2013

As you know, Chapter 32 mandates that retirement board members complete training during each year of service on the retirement board.  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.

It should be noted that in awarding the number of credits for individual courses the Commission does not necessarily base that number on the length of the program but also considers the nature of the topic involved.

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, 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.

State Ethics Commission Seminars (Three Credits):
The Commission will grant three (3) credits to retirement board members who complete a Public Education Seminar on the Conflict of Interest Law conducted by the State Ethics Commission. As noted above, 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.

The State Ethics Commission will be conducting educational seminars throughout 2013 at its offices in Boston at One Ashburton Place, Room 619:

(a)       July 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
(b)       August 22, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
(c)       September 26, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
(d)       October 24, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
(e)       December 5, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

Seating at these sessions is limited.  Please contact 617-371-9500 to enroll.

Non-PERAC; Non-MACRS Events

PERAC will award credit for attendance at the following educational events sponsored by entities other than the Commission and MACRS:

  1. NCPERS (PATS) (Four Credits)
    PERAC will award four (4) educational credits to retirement board members participating in the NCPERS Program for Advance Trustee Studies (PATS) at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA on August 19,–August 21, 2013. Registration information is available on http://www.ncpers.org/Conferences/AdvTrusteeStudies.php

  2. NCTR Trustee Workshop (Four Credits)
    PERAC will award four (4) educational credits to retirement board members participating in the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) Trustee Workshop on October 5,–October 9, 2013.  Registration information is available on www.nctr.org/Annual-Convention.

July, August and September Educational Events

PERAC’s Audit Syllabus; Due Diligence Tools (Three Credits)

  1. Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:00 a.m. at the Court Room, Lee Town Hall, Lee MA. (Please e-mail Rose Cipriani at RCipriani@per.state.ma.us to make reservations).

  2. Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at the PERAC Offices, 5 Middlesex Avenue, 3rd Floor, Somerville, MA  (Please e-mail Rose Cipriani at RCipriani@per.state.ma.us to make reservations).

PERAC Emerging Issues Forum (Three Credits)
PERAC will award three (3) educational credits to retirement board members who attend PERAC’s Ninth Annual Emerging Issues Forum at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester on Thursday, September 12, 2013.  Individuals who wish to attend the Forum must register with PERAC in advance. Registration materials and a detailed agenda will be emailed to retirement board members and administrators and other interested parties in mid-July. Questions about the Forum should be directed to Tom O’Donnell, PERAC Compliance Officer at 617-666-4446, ext. 922 or Natacha Dunker PERAC Communications & Education Director at 617-666-4446 ext. 970
(Please e-mail Rose Cipriani at RCipriani@per.state.ma.us to make reservations).

ON-LINE TRAINING

State Ethics Commission On-Line Conflict of Interest Law Training (Three Credits)
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 Credits)
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has developed an introductory on-line course that covers the legal requirements for the procurement of contracts by local government bodies for supplies and services under MGL 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 Credits)
The Office of the Attorney General (AG) offers an on line web training seminar on the Open Meeting Law.  That program is accessible 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.  To streamline the attendance verification process, PERAC has created the following Affidavit Form which can easily be completed and returned to PERAC by retirement board members.  http://www.mass.gov/perac/training/Training_Affidavit.pdf

Other Webinars
In 2012, the Commission approved education credit for participating in a Webinar that, among other topics, addressed the issue of GASB Accounting for Pensions.  In 2013, we will entertain requests for credit in relation to relevant Webinars, again, provided that such a request is made well in advance of the session.

Thank You
The Commission would be remiss if we did not also thank all members of the retirement boards who, in spite of other pressing duties, are making a good faith effort to fulfill the mandatory training requirement each year.