Local Politics

Treasurer implements policy changes

Posted September 29, 2009

— Weeks after ousting the woman who oversaw investments for North Carolina's $60 billion public pension fund, State Treasurer Janet Cowell on Tuesday announced policy reforms she said would increase transparency in her agency.

The reforms include a two-year ban on former employees doing business with the State Treasurer's Office, a prohibition on outside parties from directly reimbursing employees for travel and a requirement that managers to disclose when they have hired agents to help find funds in which to invest.

"There are no gifts that are going unreported. There are no trips going unreported. There is no pay going unreported," Cowell said.

Public records obtained by WRAL News show Patricia Gerrick was fired from her job on Sept. 4. She directed investments for the state's pension fund and was one of the highest-paid employees in state government, with an annual salary of $340,000.

The Treasurer's Office has given no specific reason for Gerrick's termination, citing personnel confidentiality.

Documents show that Gerrick had investment firms doing business with the state's pension fund reimburse her for air fare, food and hotels when she traveled to meet fund managers.

Cowell said such reimbursements are common industry practice, but the new policies will have all reimbursements come to the Treasurer's Office, which will then repay the employee. The Financial Operations Division in the office will now approve all travel reimbursements and retain all records.

All investment managers have been asked to voluntarily disclose their past use of placement agents to find investment funds, and the new policies will require them to disclose all current and future use of these agents and the fees they receive.


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  • howdiditgettothis Sep 29, 2009

    too little too late.

    i'm tired of my tax dollars being wasted on someone else's luxury items, and violent prisoners who barely deserve a 6x4 cell.

    oh - and not to forget the politician's lifetime pensions after one 4 year term.....

  • MSN93 Sep 29, 2009

    Perhaps Ms. Cowell is trying to improve her public image. Remember, she is one of the people on the board who voted to allow illegal immigrants to attend our community colleges.

  • james27613 Sep 29, 2009

    How about giving them a Baron's subscription and they won't
    need to have outsiders find funds to invest OUR money in.

  • donnied1952 Sep 29, 2009

    Eduardo1 you crack me up
    I'll let the obama camp, ACORN, to get right on that

  • GWALLY Sep 29, 2009

    ..."transparency, ethics and accountability..."

    Right out of the messiah's play book!!!!

  • Eduardo1 Sep 29, 2009

    Can not say why she was fired! humbug! Is their a crime involved. If it is, then the heck with confidence problems. Looks like a racial situation, just ask Jimmy Carter, he can let you know if it is. It must be white boss vs African American worker. I think Obama should invite them both to the white house for a beer and work it out between them

  • fernshubert Sep 29, 2009

    Good moves, but far short of what is needed. As AARP clearly stated in blasting a private firm for failing to uphold its fiduciary duty (bulletin.aarp.org, September 2009, pg 29) “ERISA requires that firms managing investments act for the sole and exclusive benefit of plan participants and beneficiaries.” Surely state employees should be able to trust the state to be as responsible as private firms, but that clearly has not been the case.
    More disclosure is needed so the public can judge the extent to which state resources have been used to enhance private profits. While Treasurer Cowell is to be commended for the new policies, there’s a long way to go to clean up the mess she inherited.

  • donnied1952 Sep 29, 2009

    "Patricia Gerrick was fired from her job on Sept. 4. She directed investments for the state's pension fund and was one of the highest-paid employees in state government, with an annual salary of $340,000."

    Hold on just minute there WRAL and State of NC. We deserve to two things, why was she fired and who authorized her pay at $340,000.00? Both of these items are outrageous!!

    I sure hope this new person isn't being paid like that.
    Good Grief, taxpayers money doesn't grow on trees.

  • 37 Sep 29, 2009

    The policy of allowing investment firms to pay for expenses goes again state policy. We cannot accept ANYTHING, not even a t-shirt or a pen, which surprised me coming from IT companies.

  • maydaymanny Sep 29, 2009

    sure, transparency. I think I have heard that before!