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Lawmakers Troubled by ERB Overpayments

During a hearing today at the state Capitol, members of the Legislative Finance Committee expressed frustration over the handling of accidental interest overpayments that the Educational Retirement Board sent last summer to 693 beneficiaries.

The pension fund is trying to recover the nearly $1.7 million in overpayments by sending letters to beneficiaries. If the money isn’t voluntarily returned, the ERB is considering filing lawsuits.

However, Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, the LFC’s chairman, said he was bothered that news of the overpayments was not shared with legislators after ERB officials became aware of a computer glitch that was causing the problem in August 2010.

“There’s kind of a time span in there that’s hard for me to accept,” Smith said. “I do have a high degree of frustration with the way this was handled.”

ERB Executive Director Jan Goodwin apologized to Smith and other committee members for the pension fund’s lack of prompt communication.

She described the fallout of the overpayments as a learning experience for the ERB, and said tighter controls are now in place to try to avoid similar issues in the future.