Most Louisiana state pension fund offices remained closed Tuesday due to severe storms and flooding.
The $750 million Louisiana Municipal Employees' Retirement System, Baton Rouge, has been closed since midmorning Aug. 12, when a state of emergency was declared for Louisiana, and is expected to reopen Wednesday with a “skeleton crew,” said Warren Ponder, executive director.
On Sunday, the federal government declared the flooding a “major disaster.” In a Monday statement, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana was experiencing a “historic flooding event that is breaking every record.”
While the worst of the storm appears to be over in Baton Rouge, the flooding has carried over into nearby Ascension Parish, where a few employees live, Mr. Ponder said Tuesday.
The municipal employees' retirement office did not flood, but road closures have made getting the staff of eight to work “impossible,” said Mr. Ponder, who came into the office Tuesday morning to see whether there was damage.
Since all files are kept at the office due to their “sensitive nature,” work must be completed at the office, Mr. Ponder said. The pension fund “has a lot of business to transact,” but if “you can't get here, you can't get here,” Mr. Ponder said. “It's a real mess.”
The $3.3 billion Louisiana Parochial Employees' Retirement System has remained open since Aug. 12, although some employees could not make it in, said Dainna Tully, administrative director.
The $16.6 billion Louisiana Teachers' Retirement System will remain closed Wednesday, spokeswoman Lisa Honore said in an e-mail. It is uncertain when the pension fund and other state offices will reopen, Ms. Honore said. (The teachers retirement system along with other state offices in various parishes have been closed since Friday.)
“Many of our staff are dealing with the immediate needs of their families and communities. Critical staff are in communication with each other, and our business continuity plan is in place,” Ms. Honore wrote.
The $9.9 Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System also closed Aug. 12 and remains closed through at least Wednesday, the pension fund tweeted. Robert W. Beale, chief investment officer, could not be reached for information.
Other Baton Rouge-based pension funds — the $1.8 billion Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System, $1.8 billion Louisiana School Employees' Retirement System and $1.3 billion Louisiana Firefighters' Retirement System — were closed Tuesday, with the firefighters' office expected to reopen Wednesday, according to a voicemail recording. It could not be learned when the other pension fund offices will reopen and how long those offices have been closed.
The municipal police pension board is scheduled to meet Wednesday. Kathy Bourque, director, could not be reached for information on whether that meeting will still take place.
Irwin L. Felps Jr., executive director at the $652 million Louisiana State Police Retirement System, could not immediately be reached for information of whether the pension fund was closed Tuesday.