Joseph E. Connarton, Executive Director
February 7, 2011
Mr. James P. Costello ,Chairman
Massachusetts Port Authority Employees' Retirement System
Suite 200 S
One Harborside Drive
East Boston , MA 02128-2909
REFERENCE: Report of the Examination of the Massachusetts Port Authority Employees' Retirement System for the three-year period from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008
Dear Mr. Costello:
The Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission has completed a follow-up review of the findings and recommendations contained in its audit report of the Massachusetts Port Authority Employees' Retirement System for the most recent period referenced above. We conduct these visits as a regular part of the oversight process. They are designed to ensure the timely implementation of corrective action for the recommendations cited in that report. The examination addressed two specific findings and recommendations included in the audit report for the period referenced above. The results are as follows:
1. The Audit Report cited a finding that the attendance rate for one Board member was below the seventy-five percent minimum considered reasonable for each of the years evaluated. Also the member was recorded as voting while participating by conference call.
The auditor reviewed monthly meeting minutes since the last audit field work was completed. This member cited missed 46% of the 15 meeting minutes examined, from November 2009 through December 2010. The member was recorded as voting on matters that came before the Board while participating by conference call. Also, during the same period the member was not physically present at 6 of the 7 Executive Sessions held, but participated remotely and voted during 3 of these Sessions.
The Attorney General has been given the statutory enforcement of the open meeting law. In accordance with G.L. c. 30A §20, “The attorney general may by regulation or letter ruling, authorize remote participation by members of a public body not present at the meeting location...” However, in the absence of any specific regulations or a letter ruling; the Attorney General has stated remote participation is not permitted. In accordance with this position, PERAC has determined that members must be present; to qualify for a quorum; and may participate remotely but not vote. As such, a member is not deemed present in determining the attendance rate considered reasonable for the period reviewed. The member continues to participate in a manner that is not in compliance with the current statutory provisions of the Open Meeting Law. This finding is not resolved.
The Massachusetts Port Authority Employees’ Retirement System is operating out of compliance with applicable statutes and this matter will be forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General for the enforcement of such violation of the Open Meeting Law as identified in this Report.
2. The Audit Report cited a finding that when members receive separate checks for vacation buyback, the Board is receiving less than the required 2% additional retirement deduction for that pay period.
The employer has made adjustments to the payroll system resulting in the Board receiving the correct 2% deductions when multiple checks are issued. This finding is resolved.
We anticipate your continued cooperation in resolving the above important matter identified during this audit follow-up review.
Joseph E. Connarton