<!-- Swiftype Variables -->

Defined Contribution

Baltimore City Retirement executive director out after investigation finds misuse of funds

Roselyn Spencer, executive director and chief investment officer of the $1.8 billion Baltimore City Employees' Retirement System, is no longer employed by the city after a report from the city's Office of the Inspector General found a retirement plan official had misused assets to renovate the Retirement Savings Plan offices, Councilwoman Shannon Sneed confirmed Thursday.

The report does not identify any employee by name or position.

Ms. Sneed said she lodged a complaint with the OIG after getting a tip from a city resident earlier this summer. The report released Wednesday found that an unnamed RSP official approved the use of more than $218,000 from retirement forfeiture accounts to renovate offices.

The RSP is responsible for the administration and operation of the city's two defined contribution retirement plans: a 401(a) plan and 457 plan. As of Nov. 20, assets of the plans totaled $389 million, according to information on the system's website.

"The OIG found that the official did not follow proper procedures for obtaining approval for the use of the funds, withheld forfeiture fund accounting information from other city employees, disregarded explicit legal challenges by the former retirement plan administrator, and directed money to flow through three separate entities before paying the contractor for work performed," the report said.

According to the city code, forfeiture accounts can be used for "reasonable plan administrative expenses" or "to reduce the employer contribution … for the plan year in which the forfeiture occurred."

The report said the official determined unilaterally that the cost of the renovation was reasonable and did not allow for proper discussions by the board of trustees.

"We don't want people working for Baltimore City who are essentially going to steal and cheat just to decorate their office," Ms. Sneed said in an interview. "That doesn't make any sense."

Two officials formerly employed by RSP are no longer Baltimore city employees, according to the report. The state attorney declined prosecution in the case.

Ms. Spencer was named executive director of the Baltimore City Employees' Retirement System in 2003.

Henry Raymond, Baltimore's finance director, could not immediately be reached for comment.