STUMP » Articles » Public Pensions Watch: Tales of Incompetent Politicians in Charge of Pensions » 10 August 2014, 03:39

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Public Pensions Watch: Tales of Incompetent Politicians in Charge of Pensions  


10 August 2014, 03:39

This is not news. But it is illustrative.

First, from California:

Fiona Ma almost certainly will be the next member of the state Board of Equalization from the district that includes the Bay Area. A former Democratic assemblywoman from San Francisco, Ma is opposed by Republican James Theis of Hollister, who has no obvious credentials for the job and is not running a real campaign.

Ma is an accountant with an MBA and a masters in taxation. It’s good training for an agency that administers sales and use taxes, oversees county assessors and rules on taxpayer appeals.

But in 2010 Ma authored legislation that would have legitimized illegal spiking of retirement pay, among other outrages. It would even have shut off public access to employee pension records that court rulings had just opened. The legislation was stopped only when newspapers blasted it and key legislators withdrew support.

Ma didn’t seem to understand her own bill at the time, and in a recent interview, she still didn’t. She says she meant to stop pension spiking. It makes no sense. Now she’s set to win an office that requires attention to detail and political independence.

Let’s be serious. If she were at all competent as an accountant with an MBA, she could legitimately make lots of money in the private sector. I am immediately suspicious of anybody who goes into politics. Especially if they claim high credentials or knowledge.

Remember Joe Biden? You believe he has a higher IQ than anybody who can hold down a legitimate job?

So Ma is not exactly details-oriented. Here’s someone who is an actual non-detail-oriented person:

FORTVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Imagine if retirement money taken out of your paycheck wasn’t being invested by your employer. That’s the scenario unfolding in the town of Fortville.

Fortville clerk-treasurer Marcie Stafford admits she’s overwhelmed by her workload and behind on transferring town employee payments to the Public Employee Retirement Fund, or PERF. That fund is responsible for managing public employees’ retirement funds, many of which include additional benefits like disability coverage. Stafford claims her requests for help fell on deaf ears for months.

“I’ve been asking for help,” Stafford said during an interview with I-Team 8 Thursday. “And that’s the reason why. Because I need help. Believe me, I’m not one to delegate. I’m more of a control freak. I want to make sure it’s done correctly. So for me to say I need help is the equivalent of an alcoholic walking into his first meeting with AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).”

Stafford’s office is a virtual fortress of boxes. Many of them are old payroll statements or personal files – some that date back decades. They all still need to be archived and placed on microfilm. Couple that with the online pension payment transfers she is suppose to make but hasn’t in months, and Stafford says people should understand her workload is burdensome.

Stafford, who is an elected official, admits she sometimes doesn’t come into the office until the afternoon, but says she often works late into the night – sometimes into the earlier morning hours. As an elected official, she is not required to keep a time sheet but claims she works 70 or more hours per week.

When pressed about why the payments haven’t been made, Stafford said: “Because I would work on it get pulled away, then get working on something else, and then get back to it. And then there were still more problems.”

Sure she does.

This sounds fairly simple. That woman is simply not getting done the job she was hired to do.

Look, I know that most people have not held incompetency against candidates (cf Presidential elections 2008 and 2012), but this is fairly simple.


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