Chairman Brian Tobin Fails To Fire Pension Administrator Who Broke The Law

Arizona taxpayers get slapped in the face – again

Laurie Roberts, columnist | – July 25, 2014

Question of the day: what the heck does it take to fire a public official?

Answer: Apparently, it can’t be done.

Exhibit A: Jim Hacking.

The guy has been in charge of Arizona’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Elected Officials Retirement Plan since 2005.

During his tenure, the PSPRS trust has plummeted in value, forcing taxpayers and public safety workers to pony up ever-larger amounts of money to keep the thing afloat.

PSPRS is now under criminal investigation by the FBI.

This, after four high-level employees last fall resigned amid allegations that the trust was using inflated real-estate values in annual reports to improve its financial status, triggering ridiculous bonuses for the staff – the folks whose investments helped drive down the value of the trust.

The PSPRS’s board’s reaction to those allegations? In December, board members voted to extend Hacking’s contract by a year.

Earlier this month, The Arizona Republic’s Craig Harris uncovered evidence that Hacking has authorized illegal raises for five staffers.

It seems the Hack-man secretly handed out raises of up to 27 percent to the trust’s investment staff late last year, with the approval of the PSPRS board.

This, to replace those ridiculous bonuses that were rescinded last fall once they hit public view.

Harris was told that the state Department of Administration had approved the raises, as required by a 2012 personnel reform law. Turns out DOA had no idea what Hacking and the board were up to.

So what’s a PSPRS board to do, now that its dirty laundry is waving wildly in the breeze?

Hacking’s contract allowed for him to be fired from his $234,000-a-year job for cause.

So it fired his a$$, right?

This week, PSPRS Board Chairman Brian Tobin offered Hacking $107,250 to please go away.

His severance package will include a commitment to cover his bills should he be named “in any legal proceeding” and to even pay his travel expenses from his Minnesota home, should he have to return to Arizona to testify. In exchange, he agrees not to sue us.

And, of course, he also walks away with the usual lovely parting gifts: a $86,704 pension for life and $16,406 for all his unused vacation time.

Not bad for nine years of work, capped off by an illegal act.

The PSPRS board should have fired Hacking.

Since it didn’t, Gov. Jan Brewer should fire the PSPRS board.

She, after all, appointed all seven of its members and thus is ultimately responsible.

We – the taxpayers and every police officer and firefighter in the state – have a financial stake in this mess.

How do you trust this board to oversee a grossly underfunded $7.9 billion pension system when it has proven to be blind?

Pensioners First-

Who are those pension trustees/ board members that have proven to be blind?

The Arizona PSPRS Board of Trustees:

Brian Tobin, Chairman

For more on Phoenix Fire Chief Brian Tobin:

Greg Ferguson, Vice Chairman

For more on Yuma County Supervisor Greg Ferguson:

Randie A. Stein

For more on Stone & Youngberg’s financial expert Randie Stein:

Richard J. Petrenka

For more on Davidson Fixed Income’s financial expert Richard Petrenka:

Lauren Kingry

For more on Arizona Department of Financial Institutions’ Lauren Kingry:

Jeff Allen McHenry, Tempe Police Department

William (Bill) Davis

For more on Piper Jaffray’s financial expert Bill Davis:

MORE: Complete coverage of public pensions


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