Thursday, October 28, 2010

PERS-Don't look over here.

The Oregonian is reporting that: "Oregon's Public Employee Retirement System is going to court to try to overturn a decision by the state's top lawyer and keep the names and pension benefits of its best-paid retirees a secret.'

Earlier this month, Kroger's office ordered PERS to release records to The Oregonian of all PERS-covered retirees whose annual retirement benefits exceed $100,000. The Oregonian argues that the public has an overriding interest in learning about individual benefits because they are stacking up as one of the most critical public finance issues of the decade.

PERS has hired outside counsel and filed for an injunction with the Marion County Circuit Court seeking to block release of the information.

It is highly unusual for a state agency to hire outside counsel and spend the money to appeal an order from its own legal adviser. The public records statute does provide for that process, though legal experts were puzzled why the agency, rather than the pensioners themselves, would seek to keep the information private.

Oregon PERS, however, has long argued that such disclosures would constitute "an unreasonable invasion of privacy" and be "highly offensive" to a reasonable individual.

That last line is very informative.  If revealing to the people who pay for your retirement compensation is indeed "highly offensive" then perhaps you do not feel that you can defend that largess.

1 comment:

MAX Redline said...

It is interesting that a state agency has hired its own lawyers.

I don't think I've ever seen that before.

On the other hand, OPERS is rather unique, as they are one of the few such entities to have actually remained solvent until the recession hit.

As a Portland resident, I'm more concerned with the police and fire pension system, which is completely un-funded.