COLUMBUS, Ohio — Board members of the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, Columbus, are scheduled to meet Sept. 30 to discuss appointing a successor to David K. Harker, who resigned under pressure earlier this month.
Mr. Harker, chairman of the $8.2 billion fund since June, resigned after a Dayton newspaper reported the fund spent more than $612,000 in trustee travel and expenses since 1998, including $144,617 by Mr. Harker and $108,492 by Robert Beck, vice chairman.
Mr. Harker, a Dayton firefighter who is an elected trustee on the pension fund board, said in his letter of resignation that he made his decision "after hours of personal struggle and reflection." He was succeeded as chairman by Mr. Beck, a Cleveland police officer; Mr. Beck will serve out the rest of the one-year term as chairman.
Mr. Harker had been a trustee since 1996 and previously served as chairman in 1999-2000.
The Franklin County prosecutor's office, Columbus, and the state ethics commission are conducting several reviews, looking at Messrs. Harker and Beck as well as Thomas Bennett, another elected trustee who is a Dayton police officer, and reviewing the board as a whole, said William J. Estabrook, executive director of the pension fund.
"They asked us to produce documents and we're cooperating," Mr. Estabrook said. He said he doesn't know the extent of the reviews.
H. Ritchey Hollenbaugh, Mr. Harker's attorney with Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP, Columbus, wasn't available to comment.
The elected members of the nine-member board, under law, will appoint a successor trustee for the remainder of Mr. Harker's term, which expires in June. Six members of the board are elected; the other members are the state attorney general, state auditor and a fiscal officer of a state municipality appointed as trustee by the governor.
State Sen. Lynn R. Wachtmann, chairman of the Ohio Retirement Study Council, will introduce legislation that could overhaul the structure of the five state pension funds.
Mr. Estabrook said he is awaiting details of the legislation, which will include consolidation of the five funds, composition of the boards of trustees and expenses. The bill would also affect the $52 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, $42.4 billion Ohio State Teachers Retirement System, $7.2 billion Ohio School Employees Retirement System and $600 million Ohio State Highway Patrol Retirement System, all in Columbus.