Possible changes on the way for RSA boards

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There are two boards that oversee the Retirement Systems of Alabama, or RSA; the Teachers' Retirement Systems board and the Employees Retirement Board.

Right now the governor of Alabama appoints a minority of board members and the two top lawmakers in the statehouse appoint none. Democrats say, 'why fix it if it's not broken?' Republicans aren't so sure.

"How do you know it's not broken when you don't have an audit to see what the situation is?," said Senator Del Marsh, a Republican from Anniston.

That could change under two proposals.

House Bill 525 would reduce the size of the TRS board. The members would include the state treasurer, state finance director, two people appointed by the state school superintendent, a member appointed by the two year college chancellor and another appointed by the Council of College and University Presidents.

Of the other board members, three would be appointed by the governor, two by the speaker and two by the top-ranking senator.

It's a bad move all the way around, according to RSA. "It gives politicians total control of that board," said RSA's Marc Reynolds.

As for the Employees Retirement Board, House Bill 524 would keep the four state officials. The governor would appoint one state employee, one state retiree and one local government employee.

The other 6 members would include two appointed by the governor, two by the speaker and two by the top-ranking senator.

"There is a real problem with openness. The legislature cannot require an audit of the boards," said Senator Marsh.

"Like anything everything could be improved. Maybe something positive can come from these discussions but no one had any discussions us about it," said Reynolds.

"RSA literally has billions of dollars," said Marsh. Around $25 billion.

RSA handles investments for more than 300,000 active or retired public employees.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Retirement Systems of Alabama is the primary lender to Raycom Media, the parent company to this television station.

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