Future of Retirement Study Commission


The joint Boards of the North Carolina Retirement Systems direct the Commission to recommend the retirement benefits that should be provided to future hires of state and local government in North Carolina.  The Commission’s recommendation should:

  • Provide adequate retirement income at a reasonable retirement age after a reasonable period of employment
  • Provide a proper system for managing risk, including eliminating risk through pooling wherever possible
  • Encourage employee behavior that best meets the workforce needs of the state and local governments
  • Give control over retirement planning decisions to those best able to make those decisions
  • Fund benefits in a sound manner through an appropriate mix of employee and employer contributions
  • Comply with applicable laws, keep administration costs low, and be easy for stakeholders to understand
  • Determine whether or not it is possible and appropriate to extend this benefit design to any of the existing employees. 

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Commission Members

Commission Members

Dr. Robert Clark, Chair, is a professor in the NC State University College of Management, where he specializes in labor economics, the economics of aging, and pension and retirement policies. Clark has also served as director of research with the TIAA-CREF Institute, senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, a fellow of the National Academy of Social Insurance, fellow of the Employment Benefit Research Institute, and a member of the Pension Research Council.

Dr. Charles Abernathy is the county manager and director of economic development for McDowell County. A 22-year veteran of local government management, Abernathy also teaches public administration at Appalachian State University.

Mary Bethel co-directs advocacy efforts for AARP North Carolina. Bethel spent 29 years working for the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services in various capacities and has a graduate degree in educational gerontology.

Randy Byrd is a criminal investigations supervisor for the Cary Police Department. A 17-year veteran of the department from Rocky Mount, Byrd serves as division president for the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association and as president of the organization’s Cary chapter.
Joseph Coletti is a fiscal and health care policy analyst for the John Locke Foundation. Coletti researches the state’s budget cycle, the earned-income tax credit, business incentives, state and local government finance, and government employee compensation.

Monda Griggs is a 27-year veteran of Rowan-Salisbury Schools, currently serving as a curriculum specialist for high schools. Griggs has served on the board of the North Carolina Association of Educators and worked to recruit new teachers through the N.C. Teaching Fellows and Future Teachers of America.

Darleen Johns is the retired founder and CEO of Alphanumeric Systems, a Raleigh-based provider of high-tech business solutions. Johns has been inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame and has served on numerous state boards and commissions, including the North Carolina Economic Development Board.
Charles Johnson is a captain at Central Prison in Raleigh and a vice-president of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. A 17-year veteran of state government, Johnson has also worked at the North Carolina Library for the Blind and the Polk Youth Institution.
Dr. Shirley Morrison is the chief human resources officer for Guilford County Schools. She has also served as a teacher, counselor, and principal, as well as working in the private sector. Morrison has worked to bring innovative approaches to hiring school personnel both in Guilford County and throughout the State.
Dr. Aaron Noble has served as human resources director for the City of Burlington for the past 13 years. He has a master’s degree in public administration from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government and a doctorate in education from NC State University. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

Charles Perusse is the state budget director and a member of Governor Beverly Perdue's administration. After earning a master's of public administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, he worked eight years for the legislature's Fiscal Research Division.
Representative Deborah Ross is a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly, representing Wake County. Ross was recommended by several organizations including the North Carolina Association of Educators, the North Carolina Retired School Personnel, and the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees' Association.
Senator Richard Stevens is a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly, representing Wake County. A member of the Pensions and Retirement Committee, Stevens served as manager and assistant manager of Wake County for 16 years.