mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Pension Officials to Gather at Luxury Island Resort

Here’s a thought experiment: if you were convening a national conference of public pension officials to discuss the country’s $766 billion unfunded liability (some have it as high as $2.2 trillion), where would you hold it? Providence, RI? San Bernardino, CA? Portland, OR?

Try a beachfront luxury resort in Honolulu, the site of this year’s National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems:

A four-star resort along Waikiki’s widest stretch of beach with a deluge of pools and water slides, the resort is surrounded by palm tree gardens that boast South African black-footed penguins, flamingos, sacred ibis, chameleons, macaws and parakeets. […]

“Objecting to Honolulu because it has beautiful beaches is like objecting to New York because it has Broadway and Times Square or objecting to New Orleans because it has jazz clubs and great food,” NCPERS said in a statement.

We can’t imagine why NCPERS is being so defensive. Does anyone really expect these officials to fix the pension crisis away from a water slide park inhabited by exotic reptiles? What decent official can brainstorm about pension investments hundreds of miles from the African sacred ibis?

For whatever reason, some party-pooping officials are pushing back:

“Hawaii is just not the right message to send at this time,” William Raggio, interim general manager of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions, wrote in an email to the fund’s proposed delegates. […]

Steve Glazer, a Democrat running for a seat in California’s legislature, said “tone deaf is too nice” to describe the choice of Honolulu for the conference for pension fund trustees, administrators and staff whose expenses are footed by their funds.

Via Meadia lives for informed scrutiny and cutting analysis. But even we can appreciate the moments when none is needed. This story speaks for itself.

Features Icon
© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service