The Chatter: Bernie Sanders seeks recanvass in Democratic primary, state seeks proposals for pension audit

05/24/2016 02:18 PM

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary to front-runner Hillary Clinton by 1,924 votes last week, requested a recanvass on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said county clerks will double-check their voting machine totals starting 9 a.m. Thursday.

“My office is notifying all county boards of elections that Sen. Sanders has requested a recanvass, and we are reminding them of the laws and procedures to be followed,” Grimes said in a statement. “As always, we will assist the county boards of elections in any way we can.”

Grimes’ office also announced that John Yuen, a Republican candidate in the 33rd Senate District, sought a recanvass in his 38-vote loss to Shenita Rickman last week. Rickman is slated to face Senate Minority Caucus Chair Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, in the Nov. 8 election.

Clinton won 28 pledged delegates in the May 17 primary while Sanders took 27.

State issues RFP for retirement systems audit

The Finance and Administration Cabinet is seeking bids for a comprehensive audit of all state-administered pension plans to be completed by Dec. 31.

A request for proposal was issued on Wednesday, , looking for firms to explore numerous areas in the Kentucky Retirement Systems, Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and Kentucky Judicial Form Retirement System.

The audit will look at the current state of the pension plans and how they reached their current funded statuses before recommending options the state can undertake to improve their financial standings.

Kentucky has one of the nation’s worst-funded public retirement plans as the Kentucky Employees Retirement System, which covers most state workers, has less than 18 percent of the cash needed to cover its liabilities.

The General Assembly, following the spirit of Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget proposal, appropriated $1.2 billion in additional pension contributions and established a $125 million permanent pension fund to help future retirement payments, authorizing up to $3 million from that fund for the audit in the biennial spending plan.

The reviews will not only examine financial performance of the agencies, but also current benefits, governance, administration and transparency.

Those evaluations may include analyses of pay for key personnel in the agencies, optimal makeup of governing boards, other states’ policies regarding disclosure of investment fees, how much the state spends on investment advisors and placement agents compared to other states and how other states have attempted to change pension plans for current employees and retirees, among other items listed in the RFP.

Responses are due 3 p.m. June 30, and the winning bidder will be required to submit a detailed work plan by Aug. 31 and a final report by Dec. 31, according to the RFP.

Movement on the performance audit came the same week that Thomas Elliott, the former chairman of the KRS Board of Trustees who was removed from the board by Bevin, was relegated to the audience during Thursday’s board meeting, which included uniformed Kentucky State Police troopers.

Elliott said he was threatened with arrest if he had taken a seat at the table, but Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper said Elliott was reminded of the governor’s executive order, adding that Elliott would have, in effect, disrupted a public meeting had he participated.


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