A friend sent me the State Auditor’s press release…

…on her audit of Minnesota’s public pensions. I couldn’t copy from the PDF file he sent me so I googled the story and found it on the Star Trib.

Lagging national and international investments dragged down the performance of Minnesota’s large public pension plans in 2011, according to a new report by the state auditor.

The Bloomington Fire Department Relief Association, the Duluth Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association and the St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association all failed to meet their respective investment targets for the year.

Duluth Teachers’ pension performed the worst, losing nearly a percent for the year. Bloomington Fire did the best, gaining just .3 percent in 2011. “The returns weren’t very good for 2011, but they were significantly improved for 2012,” said Larry Martin, executive director of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement.

None of the large plans were able to meet their financial targets over the last ten years. St. Paul teachers had the best investment performance over the last decade, up 5.9 percent. Bloomington Fire grew 3.3 percent and Duluth Teachers swelled by 3.8 percent.

I’ve got almost four years of earnings in the DFTRA pension but I don’t recall them passing along this discouraging news.

When I served on the School Board I learned that DFTRA’s Board of Directors took an annual winter trip, usually to warm weather locales like the Caribbean, to attend pension conferences. They always had a member of the Duluth School Board on their local board who got to attend that nice little “working” vacation. I never served on the DFTRA board.

Its Director once sent an indignant letter to the News Tribune concerning my having sworn at a school board meeting. He said it was high time I was removed from the School Board. I was a bit surprised because I had taken up his offer the previous year for a tour of his offices and a personal seminar in how the Duluth Teacher’s Pension Plan operated.