Six members of the $64.2 billion Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System's board have called for the removal of the Harrisburg-based state plan's executive director and chief investment officer.
In a letter addressed to board chairman Christopher SantaMaria and sent to all 15 PennPSERS board members, six board members announced their intention "to conduct a no confidence and termination vote" against Executive Director Glen R. Grell and CIO James H. Grossman Jr.
"As members of the Board of Trustees, we write to express our loss of trust and confidence in the ability of the Executive Director and the Chief Investment Officer to effectively manage and administer the retirement fund," the letter said, citing the pension plan's poor investment performance for the past 10 years.
Further the letter said: "It is our intention to request the immediate termination and replacement of the Executive Director and the Chief Investment Officer" at the board's upcoming Friday meeting.
The six board members request that the PennPSERS board select an interim executive director and to select investment consultant Verus Investments as temporary OCIO.
Thursday's letter was signed by state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, former Treasurer Joseph Torsella, acting state Education Secretary Noe Ortega, state Banking and Securities Secretary Richard Vague, state Sen. Katie Muth, and Pennsylvania School Board Association CEO Nathan Mains.
PennPSERS spokeswoman Evelyn Williams could not be immediately reached for comment.
The letter follows Ms. Muth filing suit Tuesday against PennPSERS seeking documents and information, disclosing how the plan is managed and selects its investments. Ms. Garrity and Mr. Torsella announced their support for Ms. Muth's suit on Wednesday.
"Withholding important documents from a trustee is outrageous," said Ms. Garrity in a news release she issued, adding that PennPSERS' "management has not done enough to ensure that (Ms. Muth) has access to the documents and records necessary to fulfill her obligation to be fully informed as to the investment activities" of the pension system.
Mr. Torsella added in the same release that he was "disappointed but not surprised they are taking this unfortunate approach," adding, "Every member of the board is entitled to the records Senator Muth is seeking, many of which are also public records."
In response to Ms. Muth's suit, Mr. SantaMaria and state Representative Frank Ryan, who also chairs the PennPSERS board's audit and compliance committee, said in a joint statement that "the board and external counsel had developed a methodology to account for the board's transparency obligations," and that a "public dispute pitting board members against each other leaves no victor and distracts from the more pressing inquiry such as enhancing returns for system members."
PennPSERS is currently under federal investigation after the board had discovered an error in its reported investment figures.