SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

August 27, 2013

Retirement system gets favorable audit

(Continued)

“We’ve brought down costs all across the board,” he said.

In a press release, Joseph Maney, chairman of the Essex Regional Retirement System board, called the audit “a validation of nearly three years of effort by the board to clean up the finances and management” of the agency.

The audit, which covered the period from January 2009 to December 2011, said Essex Regional “performed in conformity with the standards” established by the commission, with the exception of three findings presented in the report.

Those findings included errors by some of the system’s members in determining what earnings were considered regular compensation, and failing to make sure that all employees who earn more than $30,000 are contributing an additional 2 percent toward their pensions, as required by law.

Connarton said this kind of problem is not unusual in regional systems that have many members.

“It’s difficult to establish uniformity,” he said.

Kostro called the deficiencies “very important” but also “very different in nature compared to the types of things (in the audit) a few years ago.”

Overall, Kostro said, the audit reflects the system’s determination to overcome the problems of the past.

“Our mission has been to restore people’s trust in the system,” he said, “and we think this is a validation that this is happening now.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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