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MOSERS replaces Watson as director, names interim

MOSERS replaces Watson as director, names interim

January 20th, 2018 by Bob Watson in Local News

The MOSERS Board of Trustees on Thursday named Ronda Stegmann as interim director of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System.

In a news release, they said she “succeeds John Watson, who is no longer with MOSERS.”

When asked if Watson had resigned or retired, MOSERS’ attorney told the News Tribune the retirement agency had “no further comment at this time.”

In the news release, the MOSERS board members “expressed their gratitude to Mr. Watson for his service and contributions to MOSERS and its members.”

The board issued a request for proposals for an executive search firm to assist in conducting a nationwide search for a new, permanent executive director.

The news release said additional information about that process, as well as a timeframe for the search process, “will be shared with stakeholders as it becomes available.”

Stegmann joined MOSERS in June 2015 as legislative and policy coordinator.

She previously was executive director of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement.

Board Chairwoman Shannon Owens said in the news release: “The Board voted unanimously to appoint Ronda and we have full confidence in her ability to lead MOSERS.”

The news release said MOSERS’s members should be assured “they can continue to expect all benefit payments on time and the same high level of service they have received in the past.”

Watson, an attorney and long-time chief of staff for then-Gov. Jay Nixon, became MOSERS’ director Sept. 1, 2015, succeeding Gary Findlay, who became director in 1994 and retired at the end of 2015.

In a news release issued in July 2015 — after the MOSERS board hired him — Watson said: “I look forward to leading one of the premier public pension systems in the country and building on the strong foundation that Mr. Findlay has established.”

Watson was chosen following a national search by EFL Associates, an executive search firm specializing in public pension recruitment.

The board said that search had generated a field of well-qualified candidates.

In that same news release, Findlay said: “I’m very impressed with the deliberative process followed by the board in conducting the search and evaluating the candidates presented by the executive search firm.”

He could not be reached Friday for a comment.

Also Thursday, the board re-elected Owens as its chair and Crystal Wessing as vice chair. Both are active state employees who were elected by members to serve on the MOSERS Board.

Owens has worked for the state since 2000 and currently is the IT policy director for the Department of Natural Resources.

Wessing also has worked for state government for 17 years and currently serves as director of Financial and Administrative Services for the Office of Administration’s Information Technology Services Division.

Editor’s note: John Watson and News Tribune reporter Bob Watson are not related.