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What crisis? Detroit pension fund trustees jet to Hawaii

- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 26, 2013

As Detroit flirts with bankruptcy, new reports have revealed that four trustees of its public pension funds spent $22,000 of retirement system money to attend a conference in Honolulu last week.

The trip to Waikiki Beach for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems isn't sitting well with top officials now running Detroit's finances, Reuters reports.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has not ruled out a bankruptcy as the city struggles under a $15 billion debt, which is being strained further by its pension obligations, Reuters reports.

"It especially doesn't look good when you have city employees, police, firefighters having taken pay cuts," Mr. Orr's spokesman, Bill Nowling, told Reuters. "Middle-class, blue-collar workers, their dream vacation when they retire may be a two-week trip to Hawaii — they don't associate Hawaii with a place you go to work."

John Riehl, a senior sewage plant operator, is among the four who traveled to Hawaii.

"It's one of these things we trustees must do to stay on top of the field," he told Reuters. "It's important that we participate in these conferences. The stakes are too high."

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