Local Politics

Treasurer implements policy changes

Posted September 29, 2009 3:55 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2009 6:06 p.m. EDT

— 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.