DUNCAN BAIRD: Gets retirement system job.

Told you so. Former Republican legislator Duncan Baird has been picked as the new director of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System.

After he lost a race for treasurer, he landed a top budget job in Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Department of Finance and Administration. Then Asa got the legislature to change the makeup of the APERS board so his people would control it. Then it forced out long-time director Gail Stone. Then it took applications. Then, Baird made the group of finalists. Then, whodda thunk it?, he got the job.


That DFA job he’s leaving seems likely to be in familiar hands. They just hired defeated Republican legislator Charlie “Colt 45” Collins to a newly created job to stand by at DFA until Baird moved up.

To the victors and all that …. I’ll stipulate Baird seems to be a solid sort and well thought of as a numbers cruncher.


Michael Wickline broke the news for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He says Baird was approved on a voice vote of trustees. His pay will move up to $149,000. Since Baird made almost $124,000 at DFA, I’m guessing Collins, hired at $95,000, might be looking at more money when his expected promotion is announced. Government transformation is Asa’s middle name.

UPDATE: Coincidentally, the D-G reports that the same day the Republican-controlled board of APERS hired Baird they approved a raft of legislative proposals that will reduce benefits to future public retirees and also end the guaranteed 3 percent COLA for current retirees. I’m guessing Baird will approve of these moves. (The new COLA would track rises in the Consumer Price Index rather than compounding at 3 percent a year.) Other proposals would reduce interest earnings on employee contributions from 4 to 2 percent; make employees contribute 6 percent, rather than 5 percent, to retirement; lengthen from three to five years the average highest paid years in the pension formula, and reduce the multiplier for years served from 2 to 1.8 percent. All this is to increase te financial soundness of the system. The changes would apply to new employees and those at work less than five years, exceot the COLA change would appy to all.