CERS Board Holds First Meeting

The County Employees Retirement System (CERS) Board of Trustees held their first meeting Thursday afternoon, more than a year after legislators passed House Bill 484 to establish independent governance of the pension system. The board discussed various committee assignments, the hiring of a CEO and general counsel, the development of bylaws, and the filling of a current board vacancy. The just over an hour-and-a-half meeting began the process of providing oversight that is tailored to the local pension system.

Trustees selected CERS elected representatives Betty Pendergrass board chair and Jerry Powell vice chair. Pendergrass acknowledged the role Representative Russell Webber (R-Shepherdsville) played in creating the separate board and thanked him for sponsoring House Bill 484 in the 2020 session.

Pendergrass announced the appointments of the following committees:

  • CERS Investment Committee: Dr. Merl Hackbart (chair), Bill O’Mara, Lisle Cheatham and Jerry Powell
  • Actuarial Committee: J. Michael Foster (chair), Dr. Merl Hackbart, and another member to be named at a later date
  • Finance Committee: Bill O’Mara (chair), J.T. Fulkerson, Joe Brothers and Lisle Cheatham

The board agreed to pursue a possible joint Retiree Health Plan Committee with the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) Board of Trustees.

Board members outlined the process for replacing David Rich, a CERS elected representative who resigned after last month’s board elections. Rich did not finish in the top three, and Pendergrass stated that he wanted to clear the way for newly elected representative Patricia Carver to join the board.

While Carver’s term is not slated to begin until November 1, Pendergrass noted that the other two elected representatives (Pendergrass and Powell) will select Rich’s replacement. They expressed they would like to add Carver as early as possible. Staff will provided CERS members information about the vacancy and the replacement process.

The new KRS Board of Trustees also held its first meeting on Thursday. The board elected State Police Retirement System (SPRS) elected representative Keith Peercy as chair and gubernatorial appointee John Cheshire as vice chair.

Four members of the KRS and CERS boards will form the Kentucky Public Pensions Authority (KPPA), a board that will oversee the administrative staff serving both systems. KPPA will consist of the following:

  • CERS: Dr. Merl Hackbart, Betty Pendergrass, Bill O’Mara and Jerry Powell
  • KRS: Keith Peercy, Prewitt Lane, Campbell Connell and John Cheshire

KPPA will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, April 6.

KRS will also need to replace an elected board member. Sherry Kremer resigned Wednesday. Her term would have expired March 31, 2022.