Seeking 'fresh start,' Bevin removes pension system chairman

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has issued an executive order removing the chairman of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees.

Thomas K. Elliott was reappointed to the board by former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear last year. His term does not expire until 2019. Bevin said the Kentucky Retirement Systems needs "a fresh start" and said the board was opposed to transparency under Elliott's leadership.

The board of trustees has a meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, where Elliot was expected to be re-elected as the chairman. Kentucky Retirement Systems Executive Director William Thielen said Bevin does not have the authority to remove Elliott.

The Kentucky Retirement Systems is among the worst funded systems in the country. It has an unfunded liability of more than $19 billion.

Jim Carroll of Kentucky Government Retirees said they are "concerned" about Bevin replacing Elliott.

"We believe the board should operate independently of any administration and that any action to remove a trustee should be only for cause," he said. "As stakeholders, we hope to soon learn more about the governor’s reasoning and legal precedence for taking this action."

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