Pa. officials, lawmakers share concern over PSERS’ handling of teachers retirement funds

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — An effort is underway to oust the leadership of PSERS. The state’s largest public pension system is under fire about transparency and how its handling billions of dollars of teachers’ retirement funds.

PSERS stands for Public School Employees Retirement System and it’s important because it impacts the futures of nearly 100,000 school employees across the state.

“We want to make sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and not mismanaging money,” said Michele Rolko, who just finished her 24th year of teaching.

Rolko is Harrisburg Education Association’s president is concerned about Pennsylvania’s teachers’ retirement funds.

This week, a group of state leaders and lawmakers wrote a letter, expressing a loss of trust and confidence in PSERS Executive Director Glen Grell and Chief Investment Officer James Grossman.

“You want to make sure what you are saving is there,” Rolko said.

A federal investigation is ongoing for how PSERS is handling its money.

Pennsylvania’s Treasurer Stacy Garrity reports as of the end of 2020, PSERS pension investments were $62.4 billion.

If the investment performance was as good as the public plans, those assets would now be more than $80 billion.

If the performance was simply average – the assets would now be more than $67 billion.

“It is worrisome,” Rolko said. “It’s like, what has been happening with the funds?”

PSERS board spent much of Friday behind closed doors.

Initially there was a resolution to discuss personnel matters, but that was tabled for the day.

Some members of the board insist there are still issues that need to be addressed.

Whether you are taking it from the performance perspective as mentioned in the letter that we signed onto or from the perspective of transparency and accountability, there are problems here that have not been solved,” State Senator Katie Muth said.

Muth is suing the system for refusing to share documents about its plan to buy land near the state Capitol for a future headquarters.

PSERS’ attorney says those documents can’t go to Muth because of the ongoing investigation, even though she is a board member herself.

ABC27News has been trying to interview Grell for the last few months.

PSERS’ attorney says the system has no comment at this time.

The next meeting is Wednesday.

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