June 10, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

City Police-Fire Pension Board Members Temporarily Abstain

The City of Springfield management staff members who serve on the Springfield Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement System Board of Trustees will temporarily abstain from upcoming board meetings until any alleged conflict-of-interest issues are resolved.

Deputy City Manager Evelyn Honea, City Attorney Dan Wichmer, Human Resources Director Sheila Maerz and Finance Director Mary Mannix Decker will abstain from participating in the Pension Board meetings and voting on any matters.

Mannix Decker will remain the Board’s treasurer and will attend upcoming meetings to answer questions regarding financial reports and retirement calculations, but will not participate beyond that.

City Manager Greg Burris has asked board member Ken Homan to serve as the interim board president in place of Evelyn Honea beginning with this week’s meetings. The board’s quorum will be adjusted to five votes during this interim period.

St. Louis Attorney Dan Tobben raised the conflict-of-interest issue at the May 6 meeting of the Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizens Task Force. Tobben, who represents the Springfield Police Officers Association and the Firefighters Local 152, said he believes the City Attorney has a conflict in serving on the Pension Board and also representing the City in potential legal matters involving the board. Wichmer said he decided to recuse himself from the Pension Board, which is seeking independent legal counsel.

Wichmer also advised that the conflict-of-interest assertions could apply to other City staff members on the board, so Burris decided to temporarily remove them until the Citizen’s Task Force makes recommendations about the Pension Board’s membership. Wichmer also raised the issue of whether other City employees, who represent Police and Fire employees on the board, could be considered to have conflicts. Burris said he has not asked the other City employees to abstain because they were selected as members by their departments. He said he is encouraging the Pension Board to get an independent legal opinion regarding any conflict-of-interest issues with remaining board members.

For more information, contact: Interim Board President Ken Homan, 883-3838.

city of springfield

Department of Public Information

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1010 • Fax: 417-864-1114 • springfieldmo.gov