Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 3, 2013

Public Eye

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Retirement issues, clarified

In last week’s Public Eye, we alluded to the late “wealth manager” Richard Schwartz, when making a larger point on concerns over current pension reform efforts.

After reading it, Kokomo city officials set us straight on some key facts regarding Schwartz’ potential involvement with some city worker-held retirement investments, which in turn led to a need to clarify.

Schwartz was formerly a broker, and was seeking to match the city with The Hartford, a company which was seeking to manage the city’s 457(b) accounts, recalled city director of operations Randy McKay, who dealt with this particular decision.

Basically a 401k for public employees, 457 accounts are entirely separate from public pension funds, and are a voluntary salary deferral into an investment account. City pension funds are invested through the state’s Public Employee’s Retirement Fund. Schwartz was simply standing to earn a commission for bringing the city’s 457 savings account business to The Hartford. The Hartford was going to manage the 457 funds, not Schwartz.

The deal bogged down, however, because Nationwide, which had been managing those accounts, also managed life insurance accounts for some city employees. McKay said the city was unable to get a deal worked out to convert those accounts to The Hartford without some employees getting hit with premium increases, so Hartford didn’t get the business, and Schwartz didn’t get a commission.

Let the primary fight begin

After defeating six other candidates in the 2012 Republican Party to win the nomination in the 5th Congressional District, freshman lawmaker Susan Brooks already has a challenger for 2014.

Carmel insurance broker David Stockdale announced earlier this year that he was seeking the GOP nomination against Brook.

Stockdale is one of the Indiana voters who filed a challenge to Sen. Richard Lugar’s residency during the 2012 campaign, which Lugar lost to Richard Mourdock.

Information about Stockdale is included on the Indianapolis Tea Party website and is mentioned on the Ron Paul forum site.

According to the Tea Party website Stockdale was scheduled to stop at the Subway restaurant in Greentown on Saturday. But there was no mention of the campaign stop on the Howard County Republican Party website calendar.

“David’s vulnerable incumbent opponent, freshman congresswoman Susan Brooks, supports bigger government and larger bail-outs,” reads a recent Stockdale campaign announcement. “She is a career government worker. Davis is running a well-organized campaign to defeat Brooks based on a lethargic voting record that aligns her with moderates and populist ideals.”

Signs of renewed interest?

Howard County Democratic Party Chairman David Tharp is very happy about this year’s upcoming Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, which could be setting an attendance record for recent years.

Tharp said he has 236 people reserved to see Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, up from around 100 last year. The event is Nov. 9, and is sold out, Tharp said, with 31 on a waiting list. Ritz spoke at last year’s event as well.

“I wish I could say that I have some magic formula, but it’s fairly rudimentary,” Tharp texted. “Set goals, plan out how to achieve them. Empower others to help achieve the goals. Build a list, work the list.”

For comparison, Howard County Republican Party Chairman Craig Dunn said last year’s annual GOP Lincoln Day Dinner drew 235.