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Published: Tuesday, 3/5/2013

3 on pension boardset to go to Hawaii

Wachtmann wants explanation


DAYTON — Three members of the public pension board for school bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers voted to send themselves to a conference at an oceanfront resort in Hawaii.

School Employees Retirement System board members Mary Ann Howell, Catherine Moss, and Barbra Phillips are set to attend the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu in May. SERS is expected to foot the $11,232 bill.

Ohio Retirement Study Council Chairman Lynn Wachtmann, a Republican state representative from Napoleon, asked the three appear before the bipartisan oversight committee today to explain why they think it is so important to make the trip. The trio initially said they would appear but canceled Monday.

Mr. Wachtmann said he hopes they’ll cancel their Hawaii trip. “It shows a lack of being in tune with what a lot of their members would think about this,” he said.

At the SERS meeting in January, Ms. Howell, Ms. Moss, Ms. Phillips, and a fourth member, Madonna Faragher, voted in favor of the travel while members James Rossler and Beverly Woolridge voted against it. Mr. Rossler said he decided against going to Honolulu because it would look bad. Likewise, SERS Executive Director Lisa Morris advised against the travel.

“Perception for many is reality and I don’t think it is a mystery how this would be perceived,” Mr. Rossler said at the meeting.

Conference organizers know the trip might be a tough sell so they include on the Web site: “Seven Tips for Building Your Case for Attending the 2013 Annual Conference.”

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