Thursday, August 7, 2008

Massachusetts Pension fund chief gets bonus after loss

The executive director of the state's pension fund will receive a $64,000 bonus on top of his $322,000 annual salary, despite presiding over a $1 billion loss last year, because the fund outperformed the market indexes and many other major state pension funds.

Michael Travaglini, who is already the highest paid state employee, and his two top aides will get a 20 percent bonus under benchmarks set by the nine-member Pension Reserves Investment Management Board in October.

The bonuses are kicking in as Travaglini is campaigning for salary increases of up to 5 percent for the agency's staff, according to agency documents. But facing questions from the Globe yesterday, the board's chairman, State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, pulled the pay increases from the agenda for today's meeting.

The bonuses and the recommended raises come after the $50.6 billion fund registered a 1.8 percent loss for the 12-month period ending June 30, its first loss in five years. The pension board has noted that its investment returns place it among the top tier of public pension funds around the country.

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