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Watson terminated over 'priorities, direction'

Watson terminated over 'priorities, direction'

January 21st, 2018 by Bob Watson in Local News

John Watson was removed Thursday as the Missouri State Employees Retirement System's executive director by a 7-4 vote during a special, closed session of the system's Board of Trustees.

The board then unanimously approved naming Ronda Stegmann as MOSERS' interim director.

Information provided the News Tribune on Saturday after a Sunshine Law request showed the board terminated Watson's contract effective Thursday, "in the interests of more effectively addressing the Board's priorities as to the performance, direction and operation of the System," and "without cause within the meaning" of the Aug. 17, 2015, employment agreement between MOSERS and Watson.

That agreement also had a 180-day notice of termination provision that, the board's resolution said, was "waived in accordance with MOSERS' rights under the employment agreement."

The resolution expressed the board's "appreciation to John for his service."

The 11-member MOSERS board includes three members elected by active and retired employees; four lawmakers appointed by the House and Senate leaders; two members appointed by the governor; and the state treasurer and commissioner of the Office of Administration.

Those voting for Watson's termination included Reps. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, and John Wiemann, R-O'Fallon; Joe Keifer and Gary Metzger, both appointed to the board last July by Gov. Eric Greitens; Retiree Don Martin; Treasurer Eric Schmitt; and Shannon Owens, an active employee member and the board's chair.

Those who voted against Watson's removal were OA Commissioner Sarah Steelman; Sens. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, and Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors; and Crystal Wessing, the other active employee member and the board's vice-chair.

Watson was not available for a comment for this story on Friday or Saturday.

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

Previous coverage:

MOSERS replaces Watson as director, names interim

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