PROVIDENCE, R.I. - General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo today announced that last week her office engaged the services of Sullivan & Company, LLP of Providence, R.I. to conduct an audit of the disability pension system administered by the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI). The auditors are reporting directly to Raimondo.
“My office has uncovered a pattern of irregular documentation in the files of disability pension beneficiaries and is taking action to fully understand the matter,” Raimondo said. “As the fiduciary of the pension system, my job is to protect its integrity. Any issues that may weaken the entire system for hardworking employees must be avoided.”
During her first month in office, Raimondo launched a review of all aspects of the Treasury in an effort to increase transparency and performance. As part of this ongoing effort, it became clear that a deeper, more immediate audit was required to assess the condition of the state’s disability pension program.
Currently, taxpayers support 556 disabled pension beneficiaries under the minimum retirement age. State law provides for annual medical follow-ups with each beneficiary. State law also requires documentation of any employment earnings to ensure that pension benefits can be adjusted accordingly. The audit is working to determine how much documentation is missing.
“Given this lack of documentation, ERSRI cannot determine the level of compliance that may be occurring within the disability pension program,” Raimondo continued. “Completion of this audit will provide my office with a clear set of priorities to take action on.”
Sullivan & Co. was selected as the internal auditors for ERSRI in June 2009. Their work on this matter began Monday, May 16. While the Treasurer’s office is responsible for ERSRI’s day-to-day operations, major policy decisions are determined by the Retirement Board.
The audit is expected to be completed in about one month. However, its timeline will ultimately be determined by the extent of the problem.