100 Attendees Fascinated by “Most Boring Topic”

On a sun-splashed morning, in a room overlooking a sapphire blue Lake Champlain and the autumn-hued Adirondack Mountains, more than 100 representatives from business, government, legislative, and non-profit sectors attended a half-day series of presentations on national trends across state public pension programs, and implications for Vermont. Hosted by Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy and the Roundtable, national speakers included keynoter Greg Mennis, Director of Public Retirement Programs at Pew Charitable Trusts, and Bailey Childers, Executive Director of the National Public Policy Coalition.

Governor Scott kicked off the morning with remarks that acknowledged the importance of finding a Vermont solution to our unfunded liabilities, which shortly threaten to outpace the state’s net worth. Roundtable member panelists David Coates, a long-time champion for comprehensive reform, and Mark Crow, who made a similar presentation at the Summer Membership meeting, presented the case for action. Additional panelists Treasurer Beth Pearce and Childers argued for maintaining the status quo and focused on implications related to any change away from the current Defined Benefit structure.

The engaged audience posed very well-informed questions, which revealed more than a passing interest or understanding of the issues. Sponsors for the event included Green Mountain Power, National Life Group, and People’s United Bank.

The Roundtable’s Pension Reform Task Force will develop a series of next steps to continue the movement for comprehensive reforms. Stay tuned here for updates.