The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) has requested roughly $2.1 million in administrative and investments costs for the next two fiscal years.

KPERS handles the retirement benefits of 312,000 members including public employees, police, firefighters and judges.

“Of course, serving all those members is what KPERS is all about,” Alan Conroy, executive director of KPERS, said Monday. “That’s the only reason we exist.”

The funding request breaks down as $224,699 requested for 2019 to cover maintenance costs for the KPERS Integrated Technology System and $1.9 million requested for 2020 to primarily cover consultation services, legal fees, computer programming, salary adjustments and fringe benefits, according to an agency budget summary.

As noted in the agency’s budget summary, Gov. Laura Kelly agrees with the revised estimate. Kelly also recommends the elimination of a payment of up to $56 million from the State General fund to the KPERS Trust Fund scheduled for the end of 2019 and instead the reamortization of the KPERS State/School employees’ group.

“The agency certainly supports the governor’s recommendation in both [fiscal years] 19 and 20,” Conroy said.

Conroy also spoke to the diversification of KPERS investment portfolio, noting that there was public equity, U.S. equity, stocks, international equity, bonds, real estate, alternative investments, timber and more all maintaining a balance. The investments retain an above average 25-year return of 8.1 percent.

“We take that fiduciary responsibility very seriously in trying to have that high level of service,” Conroy said.

As of 2018, KPERS received $1.3 billion in contributions from state employees and employers, and paid out $1.7 billion in annual benefit payments.

Also, up for consideration within the House Committees is House Bill 2119 which would “expand the delegated authority of the [KPERS] Board [of Trustees] to enter into contracts for additional services when it is in the best interests of the Trust Fund,” according to the budget summary.

HB 2119 is up for consideration in the House Financial Institutions and Pensions Committee.

Grant Heiman is a University of Kansas junior from Wichita majoring in journalism.

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