The Public Employees Retirement Association board on Thursday accepted the resignation of executive director Terry Slattery effective Oct. 14.
Slattery, 57, is leaving to become the executive director of the Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa. He plans to assume the job early next year.
PERA board chairwoman Nancy Hewitt said the governing board didn’t pressure Slattery to leave. He has been executive director for 10 years and is paid $141,000 a year.
Slattery said it was a personal decision and the move will allow him to return to the Midwest.
“It’s more of a lifestyle decision with family being back there,” said Slattery, who grew up in Missouri. “My wife and I have been away for quite a while. It’s a career opportunity plus a lifestyle decision.”
He said a recruitment firm contacted him about the job in Iowa.
The health of public pensions in New Mexico and other states has deteriorated because of lower investment returns from market volatility since late 2007. People also are living longer and able to draw retirement benefits for more years.
New Mexico’s two large public employee pension programs have come under greater scrutiny by the Legislature and lawmakers continue to debate possible changes to retirement benefits and higher payroll contributions to shore up the long-term finances of the pension funds.
The PERA fund reported unfunded liabilities of $3 billion last year and that figure was nearly $5 billion for the retirement program for educators.
Slattery said the recent financial upheaval had made it the most difficult time in his 25 years in the pension industry.
“I don’t shirk those challenges, it’s just time for a change,” Slattery said in an interview.
PERA is the pension program for state and local government workers, firefighters and law enforcement in New Mexico. It covers about 30,000 retirees and 50,000 current workers. The fund had assets valued at about $12 billion as of June 30, down from nearly $13.5 billion in September 2007.
The Iowa retirement fund is smaller, with about 3,700 retirees and assets with a market value of about $1.8 billion at the end of March.
Sept. 29, 2011 2:32 p.m.
By Barry Massey / The Associated Press
SANTA FE — The top administrator of New Mexico’s pension fund for government workers is stepping down to take a job with a retirement program in Iowa.
The Public Employees Retirement Association board on Thursday accepted the resignation of executive director Terry Slattery, who has held the post for 10 years.
Slattery’s last day is Oct. 14.
Slattery told The Associated Press that he’s leaving to become the executive director of the Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa. He said he was recruited for the job and it will allow him to return to the Midwest and be close to family.
PERA is the pension program for state and local government workers, firefighters and law enforcement in New Mexico. The retirement program covers about 30,000 retirees and 50,000 current workers.