“Some are very specific,” CEO Allyson Tucker said in an interview at the WSIB’s Olympia offices. One, for example, is a real estate expert. Others are trained in macroeconomics.
“These people are there to hold staff accountable, so when we bring information to the deliberations of a decision, they’re there to poke holes in it and to help the voting board members make sure that the decision is presented fairly.”
Perhaps the key to the board’s success is a diversified appointment authority, Ms. Tucker.
“They are not elected by the public to their positions, the governor does not select all of them, no one else selects all of them,” said Ms. Tucker.
The 10 voting board members are made up of five members of the Public Employees’ Retirement Systems, three of whom are appointed by the governor and two of whom are appointed by the state superintendent of public instruction. The remaining five are three ex-officio members: Tracy Guerin, director of the Department of Retirement Systems; State Treasurer Mike Pellocciotti; and Joel Sacks, director of Labor & Industries, which regulates and enforces labor standards, and two lawmakers, currently Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) and Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane).
The latter two were appointed by the president of the Senate and the president of the chamber, respectively.
The investment beliefs adopted by the board in 2007 form the basis of everything it does, said Ms. Tucker.
“I really can’t stress enough how important it is that you have a board-adopted set of things that govern what we do,” he said. “We have the investment beliefs, and then we send them to conferences as often as they want. I think we encourage at least one a year where there are professionals to show them what to think as patrons.”
“We bring in fiduciary counsel and all that stuff to make presentations when they have questions,” Ms. Tucker. “I think one of the things that my predecessor (Theresa Whitmarsh) established here culturally is that when the board has a question, you just go as fast as you can to get the answer and expand it so that the whole board benefits from the question because obviously one of them has it and many probably have it.”
“So if we get a question, we’ll look for experts outside of staff to come in and offer a topic,” he said.