Dallas Police/Fire Pension Fund board member suddenly resigns

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 7:40 PM

DALLAS -- There were new troubles for the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Thursday when one of its board members abruptly announced his resignation, saying he had lost faith in the pension fund leadership team.

The resignation follows months of negative publicity over board member travel and the controversy surrounding their signature investment, the Museum Tower in downtown Dallas.

The police and fire pension system has come under intense public scrutiny over the past year, primarily over the harsh reflection off off the Museum Tower condos onto the Nasher Sculpture Garden next door.

Then, there were questions surrounding the globetrotting, conference-hopping habits of many of the board members and staff.

Now comes the sudden resignation of Board Member Thomas White -- a sitting member for less than two years. According to The Dallas Morning News, White told fellow board members Thursday, "It has come to the point where I've lost faith in the leadership to provide the direction I believe we as a Board need to go."

White did not cite anyone or any reason in particular. Neither the Chairman of the Board George Tomasovic nor any board members we talked to seemed to know specifics, other than White's references to a lack of transparency in pension system's business transactions.

"I would have been more than willing to talk to Tom about his concerns,” Tomasovic said. “He’s never tried to work out solutions, he's never offered solutions, he's never expressed his concerns about the fund, the leadership, the direction or anything."

In his resignation statement to the board, according to the Dallas Morning News, White added, "…our primary responsibility is the preservation of assets. We as a board, must question all facets of the investments."

Presumably, all facets includes board and administrative travel, which amounted to $185,000 last year.

A travel expense review by News 8 shows that White was one of the more active members, attending 16 conferences and seminars in 14 cities across the country in 14 months. The total tab for his travels was $26,112. Among his expenses were what appears to be an affinity for steak and seafood dinners, one costing the pension fund nearly $100.

White will remain on the board until he can be replaced this summer.

Richard Tettamant, the pension fund administrator, declined to comment.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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