WRAL Investigates

Ex-investment officer defends her spending

Posted September 25, 2009

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— North Carolina's former chief investment officer on Friday defended her expenses in the State Treasurer's Office.

Public records obtained Thursday by WRAL News show Patricia Gerrick was fired from her job on Sept. 4. She directed investments for the state's $60 billion pension fund and was one of the highest-paid employees in state government, with an annual salary of $340,000.

Documents show that, at the time of her termination, she repaid the state $3,045.80 for personal use of her state-issued cell phone.

In a telephone interview Friday, Gerrick said she was told she had an unlimited cell phone plan and that she spent a lot of time on the phone because she traveled extensively for her job.

She also defended the practice of having 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.

A spokeswoman with the Treasurer's Office said Thursday that there was nothing unusual about the private reimbursements.

Yet, the Treasurer's Office gave no specific reason for Gerrick's termination, citing personnel confidentiality.

"I know of nothing behind the scenes that would have caused a termination," Gerrick said.

She acknowledged that her professional relationship with Treasurer Janet Cowell had been somewhat rocky in recent months. Still,  Gerrick said she was surprised in late August when Cowell told her things weren't working out and asked her to leave.

"My focus has always been on the investment portfolio, and I let the politicians take care of the politics," she said. "Sometimes that works for you. In this case, it didn't."

Documents show that the Treasurer's Office gave her the chance to resign on Aug. 24. Gerrick said she tried to take that option but said Cowell wouldn't agree to her terms for payment for vacation and past work.

Gerrick said she is looking for another job and hasn't decided whether to challenge her firing.

24 Comments

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  • concerncitizen Sep 28, 2009

    Tarchilles, how would that be interesting to blog about? No ones interested in the truth! This is another WRAL story have baked with half truths! The news media and the university just throwing her under the bus! Of course she is over paid! Look at the picture, a sad looking little black lady! Could they have found a more unflattering picture?

  • Here kitty kitty Sep 28, 2009

    Of course she defends herself. Did we really expect anything else? Must be nice to make that kind of money. Bet her way of life is about to see a major change.

  • crustyhalo Sep 28, 2009

    Once again ...you can not put certain people in certain positions (around money ) and not expect them to steal.

  • jet2rdu Sep 28, 2009

    This story indicates that there is little oversight and late audits of NC government agencies. These problems did not begin overnight. The spending is still out of control while our politicans are asking for more money.

    One party control of state government means NO controls.

  • bngexpress Sep 28, 2009

    is anyone involved in state govt or politics honest? or is this what our new governor meant by transparency!

  • delilahk2000 Sep 28, 2009

    ROLLINGALONG, YOU SAID IT, BUT PEOPLE LIKE TARCHILLES DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT, HER PAY WAS WAY OUT OF LINE AND IF SHE WANTED TO MAKE PERSONAL PHONE CALLS SHE COULD WELL AFFORD ONE OF HER OWN. SHE GOT CAUGHT STEELING FROM THE TAXPAYERS AND NOW SHE DOES NOT WANT TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HER OWN ACTIONS. THIS TYPE OF THIEF SHOULD NOT BE HIRED.

  • diane7183 Sep 25, 2009

    At least parking space 1031 is not is use since the State cannot provide parking for its staff.

  • whatdidusay Sep 25, 2009

    Affirmitive Action at it's finest. Sooner or lately the true color will show it self. This is why the Red, White, & Blue is going downhill

  • workingforthosethatwont Sep 25, 2009

    Looks like she dug her own grave on this one. From what I read on her reputation, it looks like she is trouble wherever she goes. Do I smell the entitlement attitude?
    NC state govt and our politicians have made this state the laughing stock of the nation. The corruption here is unbelievable. I hope those involved in this are prosecuted.

  • Deacons Sep 25, 2009

    WRAL, what is her background and educational background? What was the performance of the fund during her tenure? Please find this information for us as it is basic journalism to do so.

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