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Published: Saturday, 5/5/2007

80 from Michigan being sent to pension seminar in Hawaii


DETROIT - More than twice the number of officials from any other state are scheduled to leave Michigan for Hawaii for a weeklong seminar about public pensions, and most of the money is coming from taxpayer-backed pension funds.

The list of registrants for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, details of which were published Thursday by the Detroit Free Press, shows nearly 80 from Michigan will attend events in Honolulu starting May 18.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and 12 others from Detroit plan to attend, making the city second only to Chicago, which is listed as sending 16. The list also includes seven from Grand Rapids and nine from Monroe County.

Kilpatrick spokesman Matt Allen said the pension board will pay for the costs of Detroiters but the mayor will pay his own airfare, meals and other costs.

"This isn't a vacation, this is a working conference," Allen said. "The fact that it's in Honolulu, it's a bonus."

Hank Kim, the conference's executive director, said that Michigan has more public retirement systems than many other states. Kim said he was pleased to see so many listed in the state's delegation.

Conference organizers said they expect more than 600 officials to attend.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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