Theodore Lipscomb
Press Release

Supervisors Consider Measure to Improve Pension Transparency

A live video stream would offer greater transparency because it would capture verbatim the discussion of Pension Board members in real time.

By - Jan 26th, 2017 03:37 pm

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee County Pension Board could ensure that their monthly meetings are fully open, transparent, and accessible to the public and the media if they are held at the county courthouse, according to a resolution adopted today by the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Supervisors.

“The public and the press deserve immediate access and complete transparency when it comes to meetings of the Pension Board. In light of recent disclosures, complete transparency is a must if we are to restore the public’s trust in our pension system,” said Chairman Lipscomb.

The resolution, authored by Chairman Lipscomb, seeks to ensure the utmost transparency of the county pension system and its processes. The resolution requests the Milwaukee County Pension Board start holding their meetings at the courthouse, in order to provide live online streaming of the proceedings and an easily accessible archive for future review.

High profile decisions such as whether to make payments to a former County employee convicted of crimes, decisions related to the IRS’s Voluntary Correction Program, and important policy changes generate significant public interest and demonstrate the need for greater transparency.

In late November Chairman Lipscomb proposed to Director of Retirement Plan Services that the Pension Board hold its meetings in courthouse committee rooms that are equipped with live streaming capabilities and capacity for a public audience.

The Pension Board considered the request at their December meeting but took no action, and choose to continue meeting in the Marcus Center, which does not offer live streaming.

An improvement over current practices, a live video stream would offer greater transparency because it would capture verbatim the discussion of Pension Board members in real time. Live streaming also provides the added benefit of being archived immediately via the County Legislative Information Center, the central location for providing public access to records of county government proceedings.

Disclosures about errors dating to the mid 2000’s have been made regularly in recent years. In anticipation of potential future disclosures, implementing greater transparency measures now would ensure that deliberations over any future corrections and their fiscal impact are fully open and accessible to the public and the press.

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