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Jacksonville Police And Fire Pension Trustees Board Chair Says Investigation Was Poorly Executed

Lindsey Kilbride

Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Board of Trustees Chair Larry Schmitt says the recent external investigationof the fund was poorly executed.

Schmitt met with Councilman Bill Gulliford this Monday to defend himself against the findings.

The investigation found the Police and Fire Pension Fund is responsible for an estimated $370 million in underperformance loss. But Chair Larry Schmitt says the problem is with the investigation.

“Basically all he did was copy and pasted from other sources,” Schmit said. “He didn’t do any actual investigating.”

Edward Siedleof Benchmark Financial Services conducted the probe. He was not at Monday’s meeting. His report said pension administrators failed to supply several requested documents.

Schmitt says he personally tried to get Siedle those documents.

“That’s why I reached out to him,” Schmitt said, “and said, ‘Come on over, I’ll come with you. I’ll meet you there. I’ll walk you around, we’ll bring some city employees and make whatever copies you want.”’

But Councilman Bill Gulliford asks if all the information was made available, then why is the city now issuing subpoenas for the documents? He says the investigation was necessary, even with its $85,000 price tag.

“If there’s wrongdoing, we should pursue it,” Gulliford said. ”If there’s a potential to recapture monies that we should not have paid, we should pursue that too, and then use it as a blueprint to go forward, avoid this in the future.”

The investigator’s report also said the fund was grossly mismanaged and gave it a grade of D minus.

Schmitt says a woman who was offered the job as executive director of the fund, turned the position down Monday morning. He says she was concerned about the rhetoric concerning the fund.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.