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Archive for Saturday, March 7, 1998

KPERS TO BOLSTER COMMUNICATIONS

March 7, 1998

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— KPERS has decided to give state employees more information about their retirement funds.

Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, has worked a little legislative magic.

Sloan accomplished his goal to get the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System to give more information to state employees -- and he did it without legislation.

Sloan said Friday that KPERS has agreed voluntarily to organize an advisory council of KPERS members -- something Sloan had pushed for in legislation.

``It's a lot easier if the agencies agree to do what's right than if we have to work through the cumbersome legislative process,'' he said.

Details are still to be worked out. But Sloan expects the new council to review current and proposed KPERS policies and practices in the areas of benefit structure and administration, communications and technology.

Sloan said that during the 1996 election campaign, several constituents told him there was a lack of two-way communication between employees and KPERS trustees.

``This has taken me two legislative sessions,'' Sloan said. ``Last year, the KPERS staff dismissed it as not being necessary.''

Legislators studied the issue last summer. And this session, Sloan's bill received a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee and further discussions in the Retirement System Subcommittee.

KPERS officials notified Sloan and the Retirement System Subcommittee in writing that KPERS will create the new system by July 1.

``I think it's to KPERS' staff and trustees credit that they understand what the rank-and-file members want is a chance to have greater say in their retirement system,'' he said.

Sloan expected the advisory council to have from 12 to 15 members.

Under current law, only two members of the nine-member KPERS board of trustees must be KPERS employee members. The advisory council will strengthen members' ability to direct their own retirement system, he said.

Sloan's bill was supported by Reps. Troy Findley and Barbara Ballard, both Lawrence Democrats, and Rep. Kent Glasscock, R-Manhattan.

-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is toplikar@ljworld.com.

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