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Bevin Has Harsh Words for Former KRS Director

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has some harsh words for the former director of the struggling Kentucky Retirement Systems.

"Bill Thielen should be in jail, and I don't know who's here from the media, but if this was a private company, a private pension plan, he would be," said Bevin.

Speaking at the Governor’s Local Issues Conference, Bevin said what has occurred with the state’s pension system has been “criminal, negligent, and shameful.”

"By IRS statutes, if these were private companies, they would have been taken over and frozen, disbanded. The payout of benefits would have been stopped by law," said Bevin.

In a response to the CNHI News Service, Thielen called Bevin a “wild card kind of in the same vein as our current president.” The two have clashed since Bevin removed the chairman of the KRS board last year and issued an executive order that restructured the panel to include more governor-appointed members.

Bevin has vowed that reforms are coming to the state’s pension system, but hasn’t released any proposals on how to shore up the poorly funded retirement plans.

The governor plans to call a special session this fall and is waiting on a consulting firm to offer recommendations on returning the pension plans to solvency. That report is expected to come Monday.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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