But several states have started to question whether these organizations should qualify for such benefits, since they are private entities in most respects: They face no public oversight of their activities, can pay their top executives private-sector salaries and sometimes lobby for positions in conflict with taxpayers. New Jersey and Illinois are among the states considering legislation that would end their inclusion. […]“There is liability for taxpayers,” said Keith Brainard, research director of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. “Providing a pension benefit involves some amount of risk for the state and when you provide access to employees of entities that are not in control of the state.”
And unlike regular state employees, there are no salary guidelines for private employees, so the means for circumventing one of the regular measures cities use to keep pension liabilities in check are within reach for the more unscrupulous.In regular times, this may very well be business as usual. But given the sorry state of pension funds around the country, the optics for these kinds of arrangements are unfortunate, to say the very least.