Monday, January 31, 2011

Honolulu's Boards: A Black Humor Sample

The Sunday (Jan. 30, 2011) newspaper editorial explains that the Transit Authority will be a powerful volunteer board that oversees billions. Of course I find it entirely unnecessary.

"At the most we would need a separate division at the city within the Department of Transportation Services," Prevedouros said. "The largest problem is lack of accountability."

Mayor Peter Carlisle disagrees.

Amusingly, on the cover of the same newspaper on the same day(!) we see this:

Federal regulators have raised serious questions about the actions of the volunteer board overseeing the state's second-largest credit union while the directors are facing increasing internal criticism about the level of benefits they are giving themselves. (This board oversees over one billion dollars in assets.)

And let's look at the performance of another board that oversees the state Employees' Retirement System pension fund. See the graph below. They started with 9.9 billion in 2000 and ended up with 9.8 billion in 2010, while the number of pensioners has increased. We now face roughly a 10 billion dollar underfunding.

So what's the verdict on unelected boards managing billions? Broken Trust should be a good hint understood by those who have at least a casual appreciation for history. Carlisle excluded, of course.