Retirement board meeting
May 15, 2013
As a service to the media, city officials and Lansing citizens, I've posted on this website the board meeting minutes of Lansing's two retirement systems: the Police and Fire Retirement System and the Employees Retirement System (ERS). Minutes are available here only for meetings going back to January 2010, however.
I have also posted the actuarial valuations for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011.
To see these documents, click Directory above, then, under City of Lansing, click Retirement Systems and Pensions.
Retirement board meeting minutes are available on the city clerk's website under Documents Placed on File. However, they are not presented in nearly as convenient a manner as they are here. Once a month, a link to "Board and Authority Minutes" is added. The document linked to is a PDF file that starts with a cover letter from the clerk to the city council listing the meetings included, followed by the actual meeting minutes. You have to scroll through the minutes for several "boards and authorities" to find the ones desired, and then if you want print them, you have to figure out what pages of the document they are on and print only those pages. Only about a year's worth of minutes are available on the site.
To make matters worse, some meeting minutes never do get posted. There apparently is no mechanism to make sure that they do.
It's not that the City doesn't know how to provide efficient access to meeting minutes. City Council meeting minutes for the current year are readily available. Past years, not so much. Although there is a place to enter the year to get the minutes for past years, it doesn't work. And the search function doesn't work well. The word "bombing" appears in the April 15, 2013 minutes, but when I search for "bombing", I get only the minutes for January 11, 2010 and February 13, 2006.
My retirement board meeting minutes are not searchable, either. Like the city council meeting minutes, they are PDF files, but unlike the city council meeting minutes, they are images created by scanning hard copies of the minutes page by page, and therefore not searchable. If they had been created from the word processing program used to type up the minutes, they would be searchable. Microsoft Word allows you to "save as" PDF, as do (I assume) other modern word processing programs. What this means is that retirement board meeting minutes could be posted to the City website as searchable PDF files.
Here is what the Open Meetings Act says about meeting minutes:
More retirement system information coming. Senate Bill 797, an amendment to the Public Employee Retirement System Act passed in November and signed by Governor Snyder on December 5, requires the City to post a lot more information about its retirement systems on its website. Unfortunately, retirement board meeting minutes are not among the items required to be published. Here is what is required:
The law also requires the City to (1) prepare and maintain written objectives, policies, and strategies with clearly defined accountability and responsibility for implementing and executing the retirement systemís investments and (2) prepare and maintain written policies regarding ethics and professional training and education, including travel, which policies contain clearly defined accountability and reporting requirements for the systemís investment fiduciaries. As with the retirement board meeting minutes, these items do not have to be published on the website.
This is the same law that prohibits the City from releasing details of retirees' pensions.