Contact: Brian Rothgery, Public Information Manager
MILWAUKEE – In response to County Executive Abele’s support of a proposal to transition the administration of Milwaukee County’s pension plan, known as the Employee’s Retirement System, to the State of Wisconsin, County Board Chairman Lipscomb released the following statement:
“Day to day management of the county pension office has been County Executive Abele’s responsibility for nearly six years. As the most powerful county executive in the state, Abele needs to accept accountability for the growing list of administrative errors on his watch and his failure to act before the hidden reports and hidden pay raises came into public view.
“Abele’s vague proposal yesterday appears to loosely mimic a seven year old County Board proposal and a current proposal under consideration by the Board, but he has not personally authored and advanced a single significant pension reform at any point during his three terms in office.
“Abele’s statement that the administration of the pension plan needs new management is a stunning admission that he is not capable of doing his job as the ultimate manager of all county departments, including Retirement Plan Services, which reports to the HR Director, a cabinet level position,” concluded Lipscomb.
County Executive Abele has stated that he did not know about the 2014 report to the IRS until January, but upon learning of this massive catalog of errors he rewarded his pension director with a unilateral 5% salary increase, to $109,793, without notification or approval of the County Board.
The 2014 Voluntary Correction Plan (VCP) report caught the attention of Supervisors after it was vaguely referenced at the bottom of a January 19 memo from the former Director of Retirement Plan Services. The focus of the January 19 memo was to provide Supervisors a summary of errors detailed in a separate VCP report, filed with the IRS in 2008.
Although the 2014 VCP report was by then nearly three years old, it remained hidden from the public until Lipscomb asked the pension director and HR Director Kerry Mitchell on January 24 to provide more information to about the errors detailed in the nearly 200 page filing to the IRS.