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Spring Meeting '09 Summaries



keeping the promise:
opebs and state pension liabilities

Friday, November 13 | 9:30–10:30 a.m.

At a time when states face unprecedented fiscal challenges, a number of critical issues such as state pensions have been pushed aside as policymakers grapple with the immediate challenge of acute budget shortfalls. Notwithstanding the complex fiscal environment, the state pension issue remains one of the most nettlesome issues to navigate and requires the urgent attention of state policymakers. This session will feature updates from two states that continue to wrestle with this complex challenge, including details on remedial measures initiated to address pension liabilities and “other post-employment benefits—commonly called OPEB—liabilities.





Richard Ellis

Utah State Treasurer
Richard Ellis was elected Utah state treasurer in November 2008 with more than 24 years of public finance experience. As treasurer, he is responsible for the treasury and cash management functions of the state, investment of state funds and the Public Treasurers Investment Fund, the issuance of all general obligation and revenue bonds authorized by the legislature, and administration of the unclaimed property program. He also sits on various boards, including the Utah Retirement System Board, Private Activity Bond Authority, Utah Science Technology and Research Board, Utah Capital Investment Board, Community Impact Board, Utah Communications Agency Network Board, State Bonding Commission, State Building Ownership Authority and State Charter School Finance Authority to name a few.
Prior to becoming state treasurer, Ellis served nine years as chief deputy state treasurer under his predecessor, Ed Alter. Ellis’s other state experience includes three years as the director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget under former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. and former Gov. Olene S. Walker, and a stint as the executive director of the Department of Administrative Services. He gained public finance experience as the first finance director for Draper City, Utah, as an investment banker with Dougherty, Dawkins, Strand & Bigelow, and as the assistant treasurer with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District.
Ellis is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University and teaches a class in Cash Management and Investments for the Romney Institute.


Jason Dickerson

Principal Fiscal & Policy Analyst, California Legislative Analyst’s Office
Jason Dickerson is the director of state administration expertise in his role as principal fiscal and policy analyst for the Legislative Analyst’s Office in California. In that role, he focuses on issues of budget overview and general fund condition, cash management, the lottery, public retirement systems and state administration. He received a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University in 1997 and a bachelor’s degree in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia in 1995.