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The Greater Fort Lauderdale - Broward County Convention Center
1950 Eisenhower Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL  33316

 Concurrent Sessions and Discussion Groups

Pension and Benefits

Concurrent Sessions  

The Outlook for Alternative Investments

As more public pension plans consider adding “alternative” investments to their portfolios, the media and Congress are focusing on the associated risks and benefits. During this session, panelists will provide an overview of alternative investments being pursued by public pension funds both large and small, including hedge funds, private equity, and discuss associated risks and opportunities.

Sunday, June 15, 2008 / 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm


Moderator: Francie Heller, Senior Managing Director and Head of Pensions, Bear Stearns, New York, NY
Speakers: Jeb Burns, Chief Investment Officer, Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan, Lansing, MI

Chris D. Rae, Managing Director, Chilton Investment Company, New York, NY

Health Care Cost Avoidance

Individual behavioral choices are a significant driver of disease and premature deaths in the United States, yet the vast majority of health care cost containment efforts focus on shifting or cutting costs of medical care.  This session will explore disease management programs in both the public and private sectors and feature strategies for influencing individual behaviors. The session will also feature a case study of a school system’s employee wellness and health management program and its results.

Sunday, June 15, 2008 / 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm


Moderator: Helene Raps-Beckerman, Finance Commissioner, town of North Hempsted, Manhasset, NY
Speakers: Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs, United Health Group, Minnetonka, MN

David S. White, Budget Officer, Howard County Public Schools, Ellicott City, MD

The Future of Public Sector Retirement Plans

A growing disparity between public and private retirement benefits, an increasingly mobile workforce, the challenges facing federal entitlement programs and the fall-out from the sub-prime mortgage crisis are all issues that affect public sector retirement plans.  At this session, dynamic speaker and retirement plan expert Girard Miller will discuss how these and other policy issues are likely to affect plan design and investment strategies. Miller will also discuss economic trends and how the business cycle in coming years is likely to affect investment decisions. Beth Kellar of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence will provide context for this discussion by examining the impact of retirements, the importance of benefits and how public and private plans compare.

Monday, June 16, 2008 / 10:25 am – 12:10 pm


Moderator: Mike Kier, Finance Director, City of Tulsa, OK
Speakers: Elizabeth Kellar, Executive Director, Center for State and Local Government Excellence, Washington, DC

Girard Miller, Consultant, Malibu, CA

OPEB Liability and Management’s Role 1:  What Do We Do Now?

Once governments have determined their OPEB liability, they quickly move to the next issue:  how to deal with it.  This session focuses on the management aspects of OPEB including benefit design, prefunding, trust options and the decision-making strategies jurisdictions are using to decide whether to make changes and if so, what changes to make.   An overview of GFOA’s OPEB Toolkit, an on-line collection of resources and case studies to assist local governments in addressing their OPEB liability, will also be featured at this session.

Monday, June 16, 2008 / 1:25 pm – 3:05 pm


Moderator: John Ruggini, Senior Consultant/Policy Analyst, Research and Consulting Center, Government Finance Officers Association, Chicago, IL
Speakers: Roger Pickens, Risk Management Division Director, Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, GA

Craig Small, Vice President, Emerging Markets, ICMA-RC, Washington, DC

David Vehaun, Management Services Administrator, City of Rock Hill, SC


Socially Responsible Investing and Fiduciary Responsibilities

This session will focus on the relationship between socially responsible investing and the fiduciary obligations of pension plan managers and boards.  A panel of experts will present the complex dimensions of this issue.  In addition a pension plan administrator will discuss how one government implemented a policy that balanced social investment practices with achieving returns.  

Monday, June 16, 2008 / 3:20 pm – 5 pm


Moderator: Catherine Walker, Assistant CEO, Alameda County Employees Retirement Association, Oakland, CA
Speakers: Mark Mathers, Director of Investments, State of Missouri, Office of the State Treasurer, Jefferson City, MO

Dr. Maryann Motza, Social Security Administrator, State of Colorado – Department of Labor and Employment, Aurora, CO

Edward Siedle, President, Benchmark Financial Services, inc., Ocean Ridge, FL

The Hidden World of Retirement Plan Fees

There is growing interest in the transparency of investment fees and administrative expenses charged to defined contribution (DC) plans.  This session will review the range of DC plan fees and expenses and offer strategies for evaluating their reasonableness and opportunities for savings.  A case study of a DC plan that benefited from reduced fees will also be presented.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 / 10:15 am – 11:55 am


Moderator: R. Keith Overly, Executive Director, Ohio Deferred Compensation, Columbus, OH
Speakers: Jayson Davidson, Consultant, Arnerich Massena & Associates, Inc., Portland, OR

Thomas Mueller, Chief Accountant, Los Angeles County Sanitation District, Whittier, CA

OPEB Liability and Management’s Role 2:  Sharing Experiences

In this session, a companion to the “What Do We Do Now” session, experts will be available to answer questions and facilitate experience sharing among attendees.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 / 8:30 am – 10:10 am


Moderator: Denise Bell, CFO, City of Winston-Salem, NC
Speakers: Brian Blalock, Consulting Actuary, RSM McGladrey, Inc., Chicago, IL

Kathryn Guralski, School Finance Auditor, State of Wisconsin – Department of Public Instruction, Madison, WI

John Tuohy, CFO, City of Falls Church, VA

Pension and Benefit Plan Consultants:  What Can They Do for You?

Consultants can provide critical expertise to help governments in administering their health and pension plans.  However, it is important to know what value consultants can add and to be clear about how you want to use their expertise.  Presenters will discuss appropriate roles for consultants, components of an RFP for hiring a consultant, key issues in working with consultants, and how to evaluate your consultant’s services.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 / 10:25 am – 12:05 pm    


Moderator: Rhonda S. Smith, Director of Administration, Houston Municipal Employees’ Pension System, Houston, TX
Speakers: Barbara Avard, Administrator, Charlotte Firefighters Retirement System, Charlotte, NC

Richard J. DeCleene, CFO, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Oak Brook, IL

Melanie Purcell, Budget Manager, Washoe County, Reno, NV                                   

Discussion Groups

Teaching Defined Contribution: Ways to Educate Your Employees

Too often employees feel overwhelmed when faced with making retirement savings decisions.  Come share successful practices for educating your employees regarding their defined contribution plan.  Topics to be discussed include successful education initiatives which cover influencing younger workers to save for retirement, assisting mid-career employees to determine how much they should be contributing and helping those nearing retirement to ensure they have sufficient savings for the future.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 / 3:50 pm – 4:50 pm


Discussion Leader: Mike Hermanson, Retirement Manager, Tucson Supplemental Retirement System, Tucson, AZ