Edelen plans more transparency for Auditor's office, disclosure from "placement agents" in pension system

07/05/2011 08:04 AM

Democratic candidate for Auditor Adam Edelen wants placement agents, who help guide investments for Kentucky’s Retirement Systems, to be subject to far more transparency and disclosures.

While Edelen wouldn’t call for their outright ban, as some in Kentucky politics have, he did say they should be looking out for the people paying into the pension program, not anyone else.

“We have gotten ourselves in a mess where we have a $35 billion unfunded pension obligation, that is beginning to crowd out our ability to build quality schools, create world class schools for kids, build good roads, invest in job creation,” Edelen said. “That’s something we didn’t get into overnight. These are messes that are generations old that are being cleaned up.” (see the 3:15 mark of the clip)

Edelen’s opponent in the fall, Republican John Kemper, is going through a personal bankruptcy and home foreclosure while on the campaign trail.

Edelen acknowledged Kemper was having a difficult time personally, but said those problems didn’t necessarily disqualify Kemper from running.

“John has his issues. I don’t think there is any question that’s he’s dealing with the personal bankruptcy and his home foreclosure,” Edelen said. “We’re candidates for office and we want to be public servants. We need to be human beings, too. In the sense that in June or July where we are now in this campaign, that this is a guy that’s on the verge of losing his house and he’s dealing with personal bankruptcy. I’m just not going to pile on right now.”

The people will have to decide if Kemper, despite his personal troubles, is qualified to run for the office, Edelen said.

One of his goals for the Auditor’s office, should he win in November, would be to take the data collected all across the state and compile it into a “dashboard” which would use measurements of performances and use them to show the public how the state is doing.

“There is not a CEO in America, with a large or small company, that doesn’t have a dashboard that they use every day to give them an indication of how their business is running,” Edelen said. “We need to take this data and develop a desktop dashboard to give the people of Kentucky a non-political sense of how we’re performing as a state.”

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