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Lillard Reelected TN Treasurer

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Treasury; January 14, 2015:

Members of the 109th General Assembly reelected, by acclamation, David H. Lillard to a fourth term as Tennessee State Treasurer. The State Treasurer is a Constitutional Officer elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. In his official capacity, Treasurer Lillard oversees the Tennessee Treasury Department and its more than 250 employees. The Treasury Department internally manages over $45 billion in state and local government funds.

Since he was first elected, Treasurer Lillard has championed issues of financial literacy and has strived to provide Tennesseans with financial tools to lead to a better quality of life, such as creating the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission and the TN Stars™ 529 College Savings Program. In late 2014, the TNStars™ 529 College Savings program was recognized as one of the top direct-sold plans in the nation based on one year investment performance. The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission has worked to educate approximately 2,000 Tennessee K-8 school teachers to incorporate the nationally recognized Financial Fitness for Life™ curriculum in their classrooms. Teachers receive training by attending one of the many regional summits held across state. Both the training and the curriculum are provided at no cost to the teacher.

Under Treasurer Lillard’s leadership, the Treasury Department proposed, and the 108th General Assembly enacted, reforms to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement Systems (TCRS), the state pension plan. These reforms created a hybrid pension plan with cost controls effective for state, higher education and K-12 teachers hired on or after July 1, 2014. The restructured plan has been recognized as an aggressive, innovative reform that substantially reduces the costs to the state while providing a sufficient and sustainable benefit for State and higher education employees, K-12 public school teachers and employees of electing local government entities. TCRS is valued at more than $42 Billion and was recognized by Standard and Poor’s as the sixth best funded public employee defined benefit retirement system in the Nation.

“It has been an honor to serve our state in this position since 2009. With the support of the General Assembly, the Treasury Department has been able to accomplish a lot of great things for our state.” said Treasurer Lillard. “I am honored to serve a fourth term and grateful to the General Assembly for the opportunity to continue to serve Tennessee as a faithful steward of our state’s financial and human resources.”

Treasurer Lillard is active as an advocate for Tennessee’s position on national financial issues that impact our state and our nation through the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). He was elected by state treasurers across the county to serve as the national President of NAST for 2015. He is the first Tennessee Republican to serve as president of NAST.

Lillard Elected President of Nat’l Association of State Treasurers

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Treasury; September 9, 2014:

Mackinac Island, Mich. (Sept. 9, 2014) – Tennessee State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. has been elected by treasurers across the nation to serve as president of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). NAST is the premier organization that provides advocacy and support for state treasurers and treasury staff throughout the United States and its territories. Treasurer Lillard is the first Tennessean in history to serve as president.

Treasurer Lillard was elected president at NAST’s annual conference on Monday, Sept. 8. He will serve a one-year term, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

“I am honored that my colleagues have chosen me to lead this great organization,” Treasurer Lillard said. “For nearly four decades, NAST has been a resource that state treasurers and other top financial officials have used to help them perform their jobs more effectively and better serve their constituents.”

During his term as president, Treasurer Lillard said one of his top priorities for NAST will be continuing the organization’s advocacy to preserve the exclusion from gross income of interest on municipal bonds. If municipal bonds lose their tax-exempt status or the tax benefits are reduced, interest costs on those bonds will rise – increasing costs to citizens for critically needed infrastructure.

“Municipal bonds help pay for schools, libraries, parks and other public infrastructure that are essential to citizens,” noted Treasurer Lillard. “Increasing the financing costs on those projects does not serve the public good. Preserving the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds continues to be a paramount priority for NAST,” he said.

Treasurer Lillard’s priorities also include promoting financial literacy education and programs that encourage retirement readiness.

“State treasurers play a vital role in assisting Americans with retirement readiness,” Treasurer Lillard said. “People are living longer than they ever have before so they need to plan properly in order to live comfortable lifestyles after they leave the workforce.”

Treasurer Lillard believes one of the most effective ways to promote financial literacy is to teach basic money-management concepts and strategies to children while they are young so they develop good habits later in life.

“We need to help people develop good strategies and habits with regard to managing the financial resources that they have,” Treasurer Lillard said.

Treasurer Lillard has served as state treasurer since 2009. During his tenure, he has successfully proposed and the Tennessee General Assembly has adopted legislation that overhauled the state’s pension plan to reduce taxpayers’ liability while still providing fair benefits to employees. He also successfully proposed legislation which became law that requires local governments to pay annual payments to their pension funds deemed financially sustainable by actuaries.

Treasurer Lillard, a graduate tax attorney, practiced tax, securities and municipal finance law for 28 years in Memphis with the law firm of Burch, Porter and Johnson, PLLC. He also previously served as a Shelby County Commissioner and Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in Memphis before assuming his current duties in Nashville.

TN Dept. of Treasury Alert: Metro Nashville Teacher Consolidated Retirement Data Stolen

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Treasury; December 14, 2013:

The Tennessee Department of Treasury is informing active Metro Nashville teachers about a possible theft of personal information. The department determined on Friday that Steven Hunter, a former Department of Treasury employee, previously sent an e-mail with a Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System file that contained personal information, including Social Security numbers, full names, dates of birth and home addresses of 6,300 active Metro Nashville teachers to a personal e-mail address at an unencrypted personal computer. It should be noted that the personal information of retired teachers in Metro Nashville and active and retired teachers outside of Metro Nashville was not included in the file that was potentially compromised.

Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. immediately notified law enforcement officials, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The TBI took swift action and seized Mr. Hunter’s personal computer and other electronic devices Friday evening at his home. The investigation by TBI is ongoing.

It appears that the contents of the active teacher file have not been disseminated to other people.

“This is a situation we take extremely seriously in the Treasury Department,” Treasurer Lillard said. “This former employee clearly violated Tennessee law and the Treasury Department’s privacy policy by downloading information that is clearly confidential under federal and state law onto an unencrypted computer. I want to thank the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and its special agents for their quick and decisive action which has clearly protected numerous Tennessee citizens.

“We believe this is an isolated incident,” Treasurer Lillard said. “We continually stress to our employees that they must follow department policies and procedures in handling sensitive information collected for the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System. This individual violated the public trust by downloading information to his personal e-mail account, regardless of his intentions.”

The Tennessee Treasury Department will continue to work with law enforcement officials on this matter and will notify all the potentially affected individuals to the extent required by federal law and Tennessee law.

Treasurer Pitches Local Pension Options

Press Release from Department of Treasury; Jan. 23, 2012:

 

Treasurer Lillard Proposes New Pension Options for Local Governments

To give local governments more choices for their employees’ retirement plans, Tennessee State Treasurer David H. Lillard Jr. today proposed several new options to state legislators for their consideration.

Lillard stressed that none of the suggested changes would affect K-12 teachers, state employees or higher education employees who are covered under the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS). The changes, which would require approval by the General Assembly, are optional for local governments and would only affect new hires. The proposed options do not affect any current retirees of TCRS.

“Our city and county governments across Tennessee have to balance the need to be good stewards of taxpayer money with the need to offer fair retirement benefits to their employees,” Treasurer Lillard said. “The goal is to make sure pension benefits are affordable, sustainable and sufficient. That’s why I am recommending some choices that would give local governments greater flexibility to meet their specific needs.”

The options presented today were:

• local governments may take no action and remain in the current TCRS defined benefit pension plan with retirement generally at 30 years of service or age 60; or

• local governments may adopt a TCRS defined benefit pension plan with an annual service accrual rate of 1.4%, with an increase in retirement age, limits on cost of living adjustments, a cap on maximum allowed benefits and a revised employee contribution structure; or

• local governments may adopt a TCRS defined benefit pension plan with an annual service accrual rate of 1% to offer reduced pension benefits, but with a supplemental deferred compensation program; or

• local governments may decide to offer only a deferred compensation program as a standalone option.

The proposals were developed following open meetings held throughout Tennessee with more than 200 local government representatives last fall.

“Over the last couple of years, we have had several local governments either withdraw or give notice that they planned to withdraw from TCRS due to changes in market conditions,” Treasurer Lillard said. “We are offering these options because we want local governments to remain part of TCRS, which is in the best interests of local governments, their employees and the citizens they serve. We believe local governments will be more inclined to do that if we’re offering more choices.”

Treasurer Lillard presented his ideas during a meeting of the General Assembly’s Council on Pensions and Insurance. For a copy of the local government pension option proposals and other documents, go to http://treasury.tn.gov/tcrs and look at the tab titled “Proposed Plans for Local Gov’t.”