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State official urges MBTA pension board to release audit results

Members of the MBTA pension board attended their regular monthly meeting Friday with pressure mounting on the group to release results of an internal audit that is holding up the Commonwealth’s year-end reporting.

The state’s comptroller, Thomas Shack, on Tuesday released an unaudited draft of the state’s fiscal 2015 financials -- minus the pension fund’s annual results -- and urged the $1.6 billion T pension fund to be more transparent.

“We are hopeful that more communication from the MBTA Retirement Fund will be forthcoming as it relates to the scope and status of their investigation,’’ Shack said in a statement this week. “Transparency in such matters is of paramount importance in ensuring accountability to the public.”


The pension fund for transit workers was organized as a private trust and does not hold public meetings or disclose records beyond its annual financial report and its investment return. The T pension board in December hired an outside consultant to conduct a forensic investigation of its assets and liabilities, after a critical report last June called the reporting into question.

On Friday, Steve Crawford, a spokesman for the T pension board, said the group had not yet received the audit report from the outside firm, FTI Consulting.

The delay in the pension fund’s report has had the domino effect of delaying final reports for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015, by the MBTA, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Commonwealth itself.

Shack, the comptroller, said in his statement that despite the pension fund’s private trust status, “it receives substantial public funding and its assets and liabilities must be accounted for by the MBTA in its own financial statements.”

He also said his fiscal oversight authority does not extend to the T pension fund because of its legal status. As a result, the state and transportation officials have “limited insight” into the pension fund investigation or when the process will be completed.


The last annual report of the pension fund made available to members and the public was 2013.

Beth Healy can be reached at beth.healy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.