Files Complaint Against PSERS in Commonwealth Court
HARRISBURG − June 8, 2021 − Earlier today, Senator Katie Muth (D- Montgomery/Chester/Berks) filed a Complaint in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania following several months of continuously being denied documents and information needed to legally perform in her role as a Board Member for the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). The Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief seeks to require PSERS to provide information regarding the public pension fund in a timely manner.
“While I have only been on the PSERS Board as a Trustee since February, I have time and time again been denied access to documents and information regarding PSERS investments, practices, and management,” said Senator Muth. “While at first this was just frustrating, once news that the Department of Justice was investigating PSERS, it became incredibly concerning. Moreover, when I was informed that the Board is expected to vote on over $1 billion dollars worth of alternative investments on June 10th, I knew I needed to take this step to guarantee transparency and security to the fund. These are the dollars of hardworking teachers, school employees and taxpayers, they should know how every dollar is spent and how it was allocated. We are talking about taxpayer money and the retirement of more than 200,000 hardworking teachers throughout our Commonwealth.”
As a member of the PSERS Board, Trustees have a fiduciary obligation and responsibility to receive all information and documentation that can inform their decision as the overseers of the $64 billion dollar public pension fund. Senator Muth filed her Complaint in Commonwealth Court to compel PSERS staff and counsel to provide board members this vital information in advance of the June 10th board meeting and moving forward.
“While I understand that PSERS is incredibly busy responding to the Department of Justice during the investigation, it is absurd to expect Board members to vote on over a billion dollars of public money without access to all information.” Senator Muth continued, “ I demand transparency, especially when it comes to the use of public money. When we are talking about allocating investments on such a grand scale, it is of the utmost importance that we are absolutely crystal clear on how decisions are being made. Sadly, my experience so far has been beyond disappointing and I am deeply worried about why PSERS staff and counsel would want to leave board members without the necessary information we need to uphold our fiduciary duty.”
Following months of denied requests for relevant information, Senator Muth hired national transparency law expert Terry Mutchler, a partner at the offices of Obermayer, Redmann, Maxwell, and Hipple, to provide legal guidance and advice to obtain documents necessary to perform her duties on the PSERS Board. Following the denial of multiple requests for this information by Mutchler, the decision to bring this issue before Commonwealth Court was reached.
“As a trustee responsible for overseeing the financial security of hard working teachers and school employees, I cannot do my job if I am being blocked at every turn. The teachers, school employees, and taxpayers of Pennsylvania should know how each and every penny of their money is being invested. If I, as a PSERS Trustee, am having difficulty acquiring basic documentation about the fund and various investments and practices, what hope does the public have to know how their money is being managed or invested.” Senator Muth continued, “I am confident that the Commonwealth Court will take a look at the facts in this case, as well as my statutory rights as a trustee to have full access to all information regarding the fund management, and quickly rule that my rights as a fiduciary must be upheld to protect the fund and its annuitants.”
For more information or to contact Senator Muth directly, please visit www.SenatorMuth.com or call the Royersford District Office at (610) 792-2137.