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MOSERS may bar bonuses in underperforming years

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The board that oversees Missouri's State Employees Retirement System (MOSERS) is crafting a proposal that would bar employees from receiving bonuses during years when the pension fund loses money.

Earlier this year, MOSERS staff members received around $400,000 in performance incentives, even though investments made by the system lost money in 2008.

Democratic State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sits on the board and voted in favor of ending that practice.

"A board has a responsibility to stand up and be an advocate for taxpayers and for beneficiaries, and that's really what the intention of this proposal is, to make sure that we're evaluating people and giving incentives that are proper," Zweifel said.

But State Representative Bill Deeken (R, Jefferson City), who also sits on the board, voted against it. He says even in down years, hard work should be rewarded.

"These guys have done a fantastic job...it cost us $400-and-something thousand, they made $600 million more than anybody else did...to me, we did the right thing," Deeken said.

The proposal to bar staff bonuses when the pension fund loses money will be voted on at the next MOSERS board meeting.