Public pension employees skip Hawaii conference

Some concerned on how trip may be perceived on mainland

 UPDATED 6:24 PM HST May 20, 2013
Hilton Hawaiian Village and swimming lagoon
HONOLULU -

Organizers of an annual conference for people who manage more than $3 trillion in public sector pension funds say administrators are skipping this year's meeting in Hawaii to avoid the perception they're wasting money by heading to the island paradise.
    
Hank Kim is the executive director of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. He says roughly 650 attendees are coming to this year's conference, which started Monday in Waikiki. That compares with about 1,000 attendees at last year's weeklong conference in New York.
    
Kim says trustees and others from around the country are thinking about "headline risk" -- how the trip may be perceived back home.
    
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie defended Hawaii in remarks to open the conference, saying Honolulu is as legitimate a host as any other U.S. city.

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