MSRS Board of Directors 2012 Election Underway
The MSRS Board of Directors 2012 election is underway, and the ballots are scheduled to be in the mail by
February 5. MSRS began online voting in its last election and will be continued because of the positive
responses we heard. Voting can also be done through the paper ballot process. The firm of Survey and Ballot
Systems of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has been retained to provide election services. You will receive your
MSRS election materials through the mail from their office. A secure and confidential website has been set
up with Survey and Ballot Systems for voting online.
Of the 11-member Board structure, four positions are open during this year's election. There are two
positions in the General/Unclassified Plans, one position in the Correctional Plan, and one position from all
retirees in any of the plans. The positions are four-year terms and take effect Monday, May 7, 2012.
On the ballots, active members in the General/Unclassified Plans, will be allowed to vote for up to two
candidates, with an option to write in up to two members' names. Active members receiving ballots for the
Correctional Plan, as well as retirees for the Retirees' election may only vote for one candidate or
write in a member's name. [State Patrol Plan active members will not be voting in this year's election.]
The deadline for returning the ballots is Thursday, March 1, 2012. If delivered in person (to our main
office at 60 Empire Drive, Suite 300, in St. Paul, or to the SBS office in Eden Prairie), ballots must be
received by 4:30 p.m. If mailed, ballots must be postmarked by March 1. Ballots will be validated on
Thursday, March 15. Please do not include any correspondence in your ballot, and do not sign your name to the
If you have any questions, please contact Sally Kupferschmidt at (651) 284-7882 or toll free at (800) 657-5757
or email email@example.com.
General Duties and Responsibilities of the MSRS Board of Directors
The MSRS Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the exclusive interest of the members and
beneficiaries of all MSRS plans. While MSRS is ultimately controlled by the laws and statutes of Minnesota
state government, the MSRS Board is responsible for setting policies, hearing disability and benefit appeals,
and overseeing the administration of all MSRS pension plans, in addition to the Health Care Savings Plan and the
Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan. Investments of the plans are handled by the Minnesota State Board of
Investment. Our Board members do not receive compensation to serve on the MSRS Board of Directors; however, they
are eligible for expense reimbursement according to state guidelines.
In the last MSRS Messenger newsletter, we requested that interested candidates apply for our open
positions on the Board. Below are the list of candidates who responded in each category, along with their
biographical sketches. The names are listed alphabetically, however, on the ballots, the names will be rotated
to allow equal placement. Note that the candidates provide the biographical information, and MSRS does not verify
the accuracy of the information.
2012 BOARD ELECTION
CANDIDATE BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
John is an Operations Analyst for MN DEED 3 plus years MAPE 501 Union Steward Finance and Accounting experience
at the U of M, self-employment Income Tax Business, Watershed District Treasurer, accounted for Carnelian-Marine
TIF Funds in Wash. Co. He served as a pension trustee of Teamster 503 Grocery-Storage/Mpls. Food Distribution
Pension and as a union steward for 15 years at Fisher Nut Company/Proctor & Gamble. In a public official
capacity as a Watershed Manager, President for 18 years he managed and levied budgets yearly for the organization.
He also served as a Transportation Supervisor for the Unisource/Georgia Pacific and a Transportation Manager for
the Second Harvest Heartland. In response to why he would like to serve on the MSRS Board, John said, "I have
prior experience serving on a pension board, being responsible for public funds. I would be proud to serve in
that capacity for you again."
Allen has been a board member since 2004, participating in nearly all of the board meetings and serving on several
committees. He has been with the Metropolitan Council for 14 years, currently serving as Senior Manager, Treasury.
He has completed both a BS and an MBA in Finance. He carries the institutional investment designation of Chartered
Financial Analyst (CFA) and the banking designation of Certified Treasury Professional (CTP). As to why he would
like to continue to serve on the Board, Allen says, "I understand my fiduciary role and the need to vote in a
balanced manner so as to preserve and improve the plan for current and future retirees. Although usually voting
with the majority, at times I have voted against the majority. In some cases, I have been able to impact board
direction on issues that have saved us money or generally improved oversight of the plan. As a Sergeant, I left
the Marine Corps with a full understanding of the need to protect the assets of others; I am enthused and able to
continue to serve you."
Gary Nierengarten, CHMM, CSP, has been a state employee for five years and is a Senior Environmental Programs
Administrator for the Department of Military Affairs at Camp Ripley. He has earned Bachelor of Science degree and
a Master of Business Administration, with an elective emphasis in finance, from St. Cloud State University, where
he also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at the Herberger Business School. Previous volunteer leadership positions:
Boy Scouts of America, St. Cloud State University, and the Church of St. Michael (St. Cloud, MN). He is married,
and resides in St. Cloud, where they are the parents of two college students. He also serves on Region 4 Regional
Review Committee for the MN Depart. Public Safety/HSEM. In response to why he would like to serve on the Board,
Gary says, "I am passionate about helping my fellow state employees in representing their interests as it relates
to their retirement assets and future income. I would be honored to serve my fellow state employees in this
William M. O'Neill
William has worked for the University of Minnesota for 26 years and has held civil service positions which include
supervisor, manager, and director. He has experience in process and policy development, financial development and
operational management. He believes MSRS outcomes will benefit from these skills. He has a BA, a professional MBA
Certificate, and is a Certified Facilities Manager (CFM). He currently serves on the University Civil Service
Committee (CSC) and was elected to the University Senate representing the CSC. In addition, he currently serves on
the Board of Directors, International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), Houston, Texas. As to why he would
like to serve, he says, "I want to give back to the Civil Service Community some of what I have learned and the
skills I have developed during my years at the U of M. We are in continuously changing times that demand
financial and operational attention to our benefits program. I want to make a positive, forward acting
contribution to MSRS' future."
Mike has 13 years of state service and is currently a District Traffic Engineer with the Department of
Transportation. He has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University. He is a registered
Professional Engineer and Professional Traffic Operations Engineer. He has over 24 years experience in the
transportation engineering field. Mike currently serves on the Board as an interim appointee. Mike says, "I want
to help ensure that our state retirement plan remains secure, stable, and well funded for the long term. I will
apply a rational, objective, and detailed approach to all issues that come before the Board. I will analyze details
thoroughly and I will not hesitate to ask tough questions. The needs of all current and future retirees will always
be foremost in my mind. I care very much about the retirement benefits of state employees and will appreciate the
opportunity to continue my service to this great state as a Board member."
Dave is a Labor Market Information Specialist Sr. for the DEED with 16 years of service. Has B.S. in economics
(U of Montana) and Master's Degree in economics (Colorado State). He has 25 years of economic research and
analysis at a private consulting firm, as academic researcher (U of MN), and as state labor market research
analyst. DEED responsibilities included long-term employment projections, short-term employment forecast, and
monthly analyst of Minnesota's economic indicators. In regard to serving on the Board, Dave says, "Public
pensions are under attack and I would like to help insure that the MSRS funds achieve long-term sustainability
that insures the promised level security for the retired Minnesota retirees. Slower economic growth and increased
investment risk have increased the challenges of the MSRS funds. I think I can assist the MSRS Board in making the
right decisions that will spread and share investment risk fairly, achieve appropriate benefit levels, and keep the
fund actuarially sound."
David has a BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Iowa with majors and minors in Finance and Insurance. His work
experience includes 20 years of collegiate teaching, including four years as a department chairman. His
administrative experience in the MN State College and Universities system includes two years as the Dean of the
College of Management at Metropolitan State University, 17 years at Minnesota State University Moorhead as Vice
President of Administrative Services, Dean of the College of Business and Industry and Interim Athletic Director.
He served a four-year term on the MSRS Board from 2000 to 2004. As to why he would like to serve again, David
says, "During the process of completing paperwork for retirement, I realized the most efficient organization that
I worked with was MSRS. I want to serve on the MSRS Board again to continue to support Board and staff members'
efforts to make MSRS the best public employee retirement system in the country. It will be a privilege to
represent the retirees on the MSRS Board of Directors."
Eugene H. Gwin
Eugene retired from the Fergus Falls Treatment Center after 20 years of State service. He graduated from high
school in Owatonna, MN, and received training as an Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Counselor. He served 10 years
as the Treasurer for Local 735 in Fergus Falls. In response to the question about why he would like to serve on
the MSRS Board, he said, "To assist the MSRS Board in whatever way possible to help all areas of benefits reach
full funding again."
Michael R. Hamm
Mike retired from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with 37.5 years of State service. He has a B.A. in
Public Administration and Criminal Justice, and has attended many training seminars on retirement funds. He has
served on multiple boards: Past President and Vice President of the Minnesota Conservation Officers Association,
Past President and Vice President of the MN Law Enforcement Association (Unit 201), and Past president and Vice
President of the MN Police and Peace Officers Association. He has been involved in monitoring, attending and
testifying at Legislative Pension Commission meetings since the late 1970's. He is a retired COL (Chief) from
the DNR, Division of Law Enforcement, who oversaw all of its operations and their 235 employees. As to why he
would like to serve on the Board, he said, "I believe I have the knowledge, experience, leadership, and enthusiasm
needed to be an active MSRS board member. Our pension needs to be there for future workers and most importantly
be able to sustain the need of those currently retired."
James A. Laumeyer
Jim has served over 30 years with MN Department of Transportation (MNDOT) as the Director of Administration in
Northeast Minnesota, starting with MNDOT in St. Paul in Personnel. He has a B.A. in Economics from Macalester
College and an MBA from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Jim was responsible for all administrative functions,
including financial management and benefit administration such as pensions, 401s, HCSPs. He taught Human
Resources, including employee benefits and pensions at University of MN-Duluth for over 30 years. Jim was founder
and first President and Chief Negotiator of the Middle Management Association. Jim says, "If elected, I will be a
valuable resource and strong accessible advocate for the MSRS members and pension recipients. In these challenging
economic times, my education, work experience, board experience and skills, such as decision making, interpersonal
and problem solving will be valuable tools for the Board."
Darrel worked for the MN Dept. of Economic Security (now DEED) since graduating from college, a total of 36 years.
He has a master's degree in counseling psychology. He was an active member and officer in the MAPE union and
worked as a counselor in the Brainerd area office. He now resides in west central Wisconsin and is living on his
MSRS pension and Social Security. Darrel would like to serve on the Board because, "I have followed the funding
perils of our retirement program and believe the only way to maintain our program for future retirees is to make
sure the legislature cannot change the program which could be deleterious to retirees now and in the future. I
will work actively with any group who supports the continuation of our retirement rights and recognizes the
importance of a system which guarantees a continuous payment to our retirees now and in the future. I realize how
important the State retirement program is for all employees and want to work to assure that it continues in spite
of government budget cuts."
Steve retired from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) as an Administrative Director for Budget and
Legislation in 2010 with 30 years' service. He holds a M.S. in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota
and a B.A. in History from Macalester College. He did planning and research at the former Minnesota Planning
Agency in financial and environmental policy areas. His DHS experience has included strategic planning,
inter-governmental finance, program forecasting, budget analysis and coordination for large state and federally
funded programs. Steve has worked with legislative finance committees on DHS budget issues and proposals. Steve
says, "With long experience in striking the right balance between public pressures, resources and the public needs,
I would greatly value this opportunity to serve Minnesota and my fellow public employees. As a board member, I
would be a strong advocate for the interests of all retirees. I would enjoy the challenge and influence afforded
by serving on the MSRS Board of Directors."
Wes is a retired DFL State Senator and Representative who was endorsed by AFSCME and MAPE in every election. Wes
chaired the Judiciary and Financial Institutions and Insurance committees and authored over 200 bills on subjects
ranging from pension protection to the control of sex offenders. He was Human Resource management level employee at
Control Data, Teacher for special needs children, and Minnesota National Guardsman. He is a graduate of University
of Minnesota, Special Olympics coach and community volunteer. His wife, Linda, is a MSRS retiree who had a 33
year career with DEED (Unemployment Department). Wes and Linda have two daughters, who are both teachers and
grads of the University of Minnesota. In response to why he would like to serve on the MSRS Board, he says,
"Public pensions are under attack. I will fight legislative and other schemes to privatize, shift, borrow from,
shutdown or pawn well-deserved public pensions. Safeguarding the financial solvency of MSRS is my goal."
Michael has been a correctional officer for over 27 years with the D.O.C. His education and experience include:
High school graduate, St. Paul Area T.V.I., Veteran (USN) Corr. Ofc. 1984-present, Pres. Local 915 2001-present,
chair of C. P. C. 2010-present, co-chair C. P.C 2006-2010, Chair Unit 8 bargaining 2005-2007, 2011-present
Co-chair Unit 8 2003-2005, 2007-2009. In response to why he would like to serve on the Board, Michael says, "There
is a nationwide attack on public workers' pension and collective bargaining rights. I wish to be on the front line
to fight back this attack, not only for myself but for all public workers."