Public pension employees skip Hawaii conferenceUPDATED 6:24 PM HST May 20, 2013Video Transcript
A trip to Hawaii turned out to be a pretty tough sell for hundreds of public pension employees... Many states are struggling to fulfil retirement benefits... So a conference in an exotic location doesn't look so good. KITV-4's Cam Tran shows us... In this case.. Perception might not equal reality! This crowd at the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, usually boasts 1,000- attendees, but this year Joe Pisarek is just one of 650 to attend the annual conference in Waikiki. Joe Pisarek, Joe Pisarek, Springfield Police Pension Fund 56:05 PEOPLE THINK WE'RE BLOWING THEIR MONEY WHEN WE'RE IN FACT NOT, The organization represents public employees who manage pension plans for 21 million workers across the United States. Many elected officials on the mainland have criticized the group for picking Hawaii as their conference location... especially during a time when many cities and states have fallen behind on retirement savings for employees. The Executive Director of the group says some members chose to stay home. HANK KIM, NCPER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 48:44 THEY RECOGNIZE IT IS ABOUT HEADLINE LIST, THEY KNOW THAT ECONOMICALLY IT MAKES SENSE IN: 48:50 THEY REALIZE THAT HEADLINE LIST IS SILLY BUT IT'S SOMETHING THEY FELT IF THEY COULD AVOID THEN THEY WOULD AVOID THE HEADLINE RISK 48:57 But Kim says it's all a misconception. In fact, he says this year's conference is actually CHEAPER than the group's conference last year in new york, HANK KIM IN: 40:42 IF SOME OF THE CRITICS LOOKED AT THE COST, FOR INSTANCE WE WERE IN NEW YORK LAST YEAR AND THE HOTEL PRICES WERE 360 DOLLARS A NIGHT, VERSUS WHAT WE HAVE THIS TIME WHICH IS 200 DOLLARS A NIGHT YOU'D NOTICE IT IS A 44 % CHEAPER CONFERENCE TO ATTEND 41:00 Governor Neil Abercrombie defended Hawaii conferences and conventions in his opening day address,,, GOV. IN: 10:45 DON'T LET DEMAGARY OR POLITICAL AGENDAS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL GET IN THE WAY OF YOU DOING SERIOUS BUSINESS THAT YOU HAVE TO ACCOMPLISH TODAY 10:58 Cam Tran, KITV 4 News.