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MOSERS is the acronym for the Missouri State Employment Systems, the pension fund for many state employees. In April 2009, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the MOSERS’ board of directors had voted for performance bonuses of approximately $300,000 to its 14 member investment staff and nearly $160,000 to its 58 operations staff members. These performance bonuses were paid despite the fact that the Missouri state retirement stock market holdings declined by 1.8 billion dollars last year.
It is hard to understand how the MOSERS board of directors could award these bonuses in a year when the retirement fund declined in value by nearly 24%, many state employees were laid off, state employees’ salaries were frozen, and education and social services budgets have suffered severe cut- backs. Arguments that Missouri’s pension funds have done better than similar funds during this period and that we need to keep our valuable fund managers and staff members are short-sighted. Every day, business, industry, education and government prove that no consultants, advisors, employees and officers are indispensible.
State officials have called for more transparency regarding the management of MOSERS. Others say that the agency needs to be reminded that it is a Missouri state program. That is a start; but, I believe, if legally possible, the bonuses should be rescinded.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.