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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Defamation Trial Told Ferguson Was Right In Not Trusting Pension Board

Lawyer Rod Gillis asked City Manager Pat Woods whether former Common Councillor John Ferguson was right not to trust the Pension Board.

Woods told Gillis at Ferguson's defamation trial he disagrees but then was asked about why the Pension Board ignored warnings from actuary Fred Lewis to fix the pension plan until recently. Gillis pointedly asked Woods why the changes weren't made 100 million dollars earlier.
The City Manager testified the obligation of the Pension Board is to the beneficiaries. Gillis suggested Woods, himself, being a beneficiary, didn't want to change the plan calling that an untenable conflict of interest.
He points out then City Manager Terry Totten's recommendation in 2004 with a rising pension plan deficit was to let the taxpayer pay with a rise in the tax rate. Woods conceded he didn't disagree with Totten saying it sounded reasonable at the time. Both Totten and Woods are beneficiaries themselves.
Gillis used the city's own figures showing 70 thousand dollars was spent in 2000 and 87 thousand in 2001 to send Pension Board trustees to conferences including one in Maui and questioned whether the money was well spent considering the letter from then Pension Board member Glen Tait in 2006 admitting they didn't fully comprehend what was happening.