The Kentucky Open Government Coalition today submitted an open meetings complaint to the Kentucky Public Pension Authority Board of Trustees through Coalition co-director, Amye Bensenhaver.
The complaint alleges that the board violated the open meetings law — specifically KRS 61.810(1) or (2) — by discussing public business — namely, whether to comply with the Franklin Circuit Court’s orders to disclose the $1.2 million Calcaterra report or to appeal the court’s order — and taking action — by deciding to release the report — in a secret meeting of a quorum of board members or a series of less than quorum meetings.
At the conclusion of a September 2 special meeting closed session to discuss “litigation,” the board announced that it would take no action. Later that day, the open records requesters who prevailed in Franklin Circuit Court were notified that the report would be released on September 6.
In our complaint, we alleged:
“Inasmuch as KPPA could only act through its Board of Trustees, and no single trustee or KPPA official was legally authorized to make the final decision on the board’s behalf, the looming court imposed ten day deadline necessitated final action in open session or a subsequent special public meeting to take final action in open session. No final vote on the release of the Calcaterra Pollack Report under the court’s opinions and orders was publicly taken at a subsequent properly noticed KPPA Board of Trustees special meeting.”
We reminded the board:
“The express purpose of the Open Meetings Act is to maximize notice of public meetings and actions. The failure to comply with the strict letter of the law in conducting meetings of a public agency violates the public good.“
As a means of remedying the alleged violation, we proposed that the board acknowledge violation of KRS 61.810(1) or (2) and resolve to strictly adhere to the open meetings law.
This follows our September 13 submission of an open records request to KPPA for a copy of the “‘recommendations regarding best practices for investment activities’ referenced on Page 2 of the Executive Summary, and contained in the ‘Legal Recommendations,’ of the recently released Calcaterra-Pollack Report.”
We maintain that recommendations on investment best practices do not fall within the scope of attorney-client legal privilege. The recommendations constitute business advice and not legal advice. Further, we note the substantial public interest in knowing Calcaterra Pollack’s recommended investment best practices and monitoring the extent to which KPPA has implemented them.
Our position echoes that of the Kentucky Government Retirees, a labor organization which advocates on behalf of Kentucky Employees Retirement System and State Police Retirement System.
On Thursday, KGR submitted the following public comment to the Kentucky Retirement System to be included at it September 14 regular meeting:
“The Calcaterra Pollack investigation states that its report has provided recommendations for best practices on investment activities. Those suggestions are included within a Legal Recommendations document that has not been made public. In view of the obvious shortcomings revealed by the report, we call upon the KRS board to publicly disclose the recommendations relating to best investment practices and to provide to stakeholders a progress report on whether those practices have been implemented.”
The Kentucky Open Government Coalition is clearly not alone in its frustration with KPPA’a continuing opacity.