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Arizona pension system board fires administrator

PHOENIX — The administrator of Arizona’s pension system for police
officers and other public-safety responders was fired Friday following the
disclosure that he had awarded some employees unauthorized pay raises.

The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System’s board voted unanimously to put
system administrator Jim Hacking on administrative leave, the Arizona Capitol
Times reported

Chairman Brian Tobin has until July 21 to reach a settlement officially ending
Hacking’s employment.

Hacking told The Arizona Republic on Tuesday that he
gave salary bumps for five employees without getting approval from the
Department of Administration, a violation of state law. But he declined at the
time to identify who received the raises, how much was paid or when they took
effect. That information is supposed to be available under state public-records

Tobin on Wednesday announced that the pension would “immediately stop any
future payments of the improperly implemented salary adjustments to all five
investment staff employees.” Any illegal pay raises of up to 27 percent would
be halted.

The raises were awarded late last year. Arizona Department of Administration
spokesman Steve Meissner said the trust initiated pay raises in December.
Records show four of the raises were retroactive to July 1, 2013. The Department
of Administration is continuing to investigate the matter.

In 2012, Gov. Jan Brewer pushed for a change in law that requires all raises
for state employees not subject to employment contracts get approval from the
department. Andrew Wilder, the governor’s spokesman, said Brewer was outraged
by the raises.

“The governor wants immediate action to correct the situation and will examine
additional reforms that would ensure further transparency and accountability for
taxpayers,” Wilder said.

The raises are the latest in a series of problems surrounding the trust. The
pension system is already the subject of a state workplace-violation and a
federal criminal probe. Last year, the board halted bonuses for investment staff
after suffering political backlash. The Arizona Republic reported that they were
given five- and six-figure bonuses even when the trust posted financial losses
in 2008, 2009 and 2012.


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