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:

  • “Some of the information presented in each program, such as the program completion certificate, is displayed using pop-up windows therefore you must disable any pop-up blockers on your computer.  You can do this by clicking "Tools" at the toolbar at the upper left-hand side of the browser page, and then look for "Pop-up Blocker" in the drop-down menu.  Hover your mouse over that selection to see if the option to turn off pop-up blockers appears, and if so, turn off pop-up blockers.  If you are able to proceed through the entire program but your completion certificate does not display properly, you can temporarily disable the pop-up blocker by holding down the "Ctrl" key on your keyboard, and then click the "View Certificate" button on the program.
  • You need to have a media flash player downloaded on your computer to run the video segments.  Click the link to download the Adobe Flash Player if you find that the video does not play or the program appears to freeze and a page will not display properly.
  • If any text on a page is obscured, you will need to adjust your browser view setting.  To adjust your browser view setting, click "View" at the toolbar at the upper left-hand side of the browser page, then select “Zoom” from the drop-down menu and select 100%.
  • Remember to print your completion certificate to submit to your employer [retirement board and the Commission], and please retain a copy for your records.  The Ethics Commission will not have any records to verify that you completed the program.
  • To save your completion certificate electronically, you must convert it to a .pdf and then save it to your computer or network.  The "Save Certificate Information" button that displays on the completion certificate is not working at this time.  Until a fix can be implemented, you must convert your completion certificate to a .pdf.  You can also print and scan the completion certificate.”

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 .  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 .

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.