The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 8, 2013

Two state powerhouses — Bronner, Mabry — at odds

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The chief executive of the state's retirement system says the head of the Alabama Education Association is trying to wrest control of the system from him and control the board that oversees the state's $19 billion pension system.

David Bronner, the longtime CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, said Henry Mabry of the AEA is making a power play to replace members of the Teachers' Retirement System Board of Control and replace them with members loyal to him.

Mabry disagrees and expressed concerns about the board continuing to pass along costs to teachers, support staff and retirees when they have not had a pay increase in years and have instead had their income reduced.

"I am concerned with board members who vote against the interests of support workers, teachers and retirees," Mabry said.

He said, instead of trying to oust certain board members, he used the AEA's Alabama School Journal to point out how board members voted and said he was trying to bring that to the attention of AEA's almost 100,000 members.

Mabry, in his column in the Journal, let AEA members know that they elected the TRS board members and that they "can un-elect them." Two board members are currently in runoffs for their positions.

Bronner subsequently warned people in RSA's The Advisor newsletter to take the "power play" from Mabry seriously and said it could create a threat to the progress at the pension system, where he said assets have grown from $300 million to $19 billion in the last four decades.

Bronner wrote in the newsletter that those in the system have two choices in the current runoff election for the two seats.

"Your choice is to support the TRS, or go along with the new AEA director's power play," he wrote.

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