Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday the creation of the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Directors, replacing the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees.
The 13 current trustees will retain their seats on the new board and four new members will be added, the governor's office said in a news release. The new members, appointed by Mr. Bevin, are William S. Cook, retired senior portfolio manager at KKR Prisma; David L. Harris Jr., senior partner and shareholder of MCF Advisors; Neil P. Ramsey, founder of Ramsey Financial; and John E. Chilton, state budget director.
Mr. Bevin also appointed existing trustees John R. Farris and David L. Eager as board chairman and vice chairman, respectively.
Under the old board of trustees, the trustees elected the chairman.
Mr. Bevin added Friday that any executive director appointed by the board must also be approved by governor. William A. Thielen, current executive director of the $15 billion Frankfort-based retirement system, announced last month he will retire Sept. 1.
“The reorganization is critical in helping to address the state's pension system, which is underfunded by over $35 billion” and “will provide a more focused, expert vision and purpose, designed to carry out the objectives honoring the expectations of current retirees and employees,” Mr. Bevin's office said in the news release. “It will also help promote and achieve greater transparency, expertise, efficiency and improved administration of the Kentucky Retirement Systems.”
Earlier this week, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear issued an opinion against the conditions at last month's KRS board meeting. Mr. Beshear wrote Monday that the presence of state troopers and warnings of arrest or investigation made by officials of the governor's office and personnel cabinet to board Chairman Thomas K. Elliott and to trustee Thomas Stephens at the May 19 meeting, violated the state's Open Meetings Act.
Citing a need for a “fresh start and more transparency,” Mr. Bevin issued an executive order in April removing Mr. Elliott from the board. In May, he issued another executive order appointing Mark Lattis, a certified public accountant from Louisville, Ky., as Mr. Elliott's replacement. Warned he would be arrested if he participated, Mr. Elliott attended the May 19 meeting but did not participate, Mr. Thielen previously told Pensions & Investments.
Mr. Lattis was listed as a member of the new board of directors on Friday. Mr. Elliott was not listed.
Mr. Thielen could not immediately be reached for comment.