Ticket to Hawaii: Talking Points for Convincing Your Board to Send You

Photograph by Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg

A statue of Duke Kahanamoku stands along Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

What better place to host a conference than Hawaii, right?

Sun, golf, swimming.

The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems thinks so, too.

It’s hosting its annual confab at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu in May and expects about 800 fund trustees from across the U.S and Canada to attend.

The organizers know that penny-pinching fund boards may not take kindly to the idea of sending their colleagues off on a junket to the Hawaiian Islands at a time when the cost of public pensions have become a hot button issue. That’s why their invitation to the event includes a “2013 Attendance Justification Tool Kit,” complete with a sample letter that wanna-be attendees can download, customize and give to their boards, as well as a sheet with seven tips for building the case for attending.

The group, which bills itself as the largest trade association for public pension funds, suggests in the kit that attending will allow officials to learn, among other things,  what other funds are considering and what is working for them.

“Without education, it is not possible for me to know these things,” the sample letter reads. “Without this knowledge, I cannot act in your best interests.”

There’s even a session on the conference called “Avoiding a Front Page Scandal at Your Pension Fund: Learning by Example.”
The hotel, which promises “more pools, more beach, more paradise” on its Web-site, has five pools on oceanfront property and 18 restaurants and lounges, as well as a spa for the weary.

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