Monday, April 25, 2011

Texas Comptrollers release of ERS employee information costs taxpayers $1.8 Million so far

By The Backgate Website

If you are a Texas state employee be on the lookout for criminals using your personal information to commit crimes. The Comptrollers office admits, millions of employees may have been affected by the release of information of employees using ERS and TRS retirement systems.  The Comptrollers office began mailing out notification letters last week. And at a time when the state is scrambling to find every dollar to avoid teacher and vital employee layoffs, the state has had to pour $1.8 million into correcting the mess so far. 

The office mailed out letters to those affected, a $1.2 million cost; set up a call center to offer assistance to them over the phone, costing the state $393,000; and spent $290,000 contracting with two different information technology consultants in examining the agency's information security policies and procedures. And the costs could rise.

The Austin American Statesman reported :

The breach occurred after information was transferred to the comptroller by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission and the Department of Public Safety to be used as part of the state's unclaimed property verification system.

The information was erroneously left on a publicly accessible server for about a year.
Four employees in the comptroller's office have left because of the incident.
The attorney general's office is investigating at least one suspicious phone call that might be connected to the exposed data.


  1. READ THIS ONE!!!!

    Teacher Retirement System execs get $8.2 million bonuses
    Monday, Apr 25, 2011, 01:19PM CST 3 comments Add comment

    By Mark Lisheron

    A lung-challenging dive into a Dallas Morning News story about state teacher retirement fund bonuses yields this pearl: If asked right now to pay out every dollar owed to retirees for the next 30 years, the fund would be almost 20 percent short.

    This thorough review of the $8.2 million in bonuses earned this year by 54 members of the investment management team for the $100 billion fund is also a stark reminder that taxpayer-supported retirement funds are supported by complex investments that carry with them risk and not piggy banks filled with the nickels and dimes of thrifty state employees.

    In the middle of a tepid economy and state budget negotiations that will almost certainly cost teachers their jobs, retirement fund managers are playing a furious game of catch-up from a 2008 market crash that saw the value of the fund portfolio drop $23.3 billion.

    In 2008 and 2009, according to the weekend story, top managers earned $6.5 million in bonuses for exceeding investment targets, but deferred payment because the fund operated at a loss. Restored to profitability in 2010, managers earned another $1.7 million in bonuses, and the $8.2 million total was paid out in January.

    And at least the public knows which investment manager got which bonus. Texas Watchdog has tried without success to get the state to divulge to taxpayers to whom they are paying pensions and in what amounts.

    R. David Kelly, chairman of the Teacher Retirement System board, told the Morning News that for the state retirement fund to compete in the investment world it must be managed by talent. Talent must be compensated or it will go someplace else.

    “If we don’t pay out incentive compensation when you had clearly superlative performance, it sends a bad message, and it causes people to ask just how big a discount are they willing to work for,” Kelly said.

    If this is, indeed, the reality, Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, says his members don’t like it much. The state’s 300,000 retired educators have not had a pension increase in 10 years.

    Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, would like to end the incentive program. “You can hire fund managers and people right now in this environment, pay them good salaries, be competitive with the private sector, and I do not think it’s a requirement in this environment to pay incentive for these fund managers,” he said.

    Vicki Truitt, R-Keller, chairwoman of the House Pensions and Investments Committee, said the bonuses were necessary as incentives to erase that nearly 20 percent gap between the assets the fund has on hand and what it owes its retirees over the next 30 years. In the parlance of the certified public accountant, actuarial soundness.

    “We want the best advice we can get and to ensure the best returns for our investments,” Truitt said. “You get what you pay for.”

    Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or

  2. Happy to see your blog as it is just what I’ve looking for and excited to read all the posts. I am looking forward to another great article from you.

    tv licence