Ray Higgins - Executive Director- Public Employees Retirement System

Ray Higgins is the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi’s sixth executive director in its 66-year history.

Higgins joins Mississippi PERS from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, where he has served since 2011 as deputy commissioner for finance and administration.

Higgins also has served as director of governmental affairs for the Georgia Department of Driver Services (2009–2011); deputy director/COO for the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia (2006–2009); fiscal officer and treasurer and budget administrator for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (2001–2006); fiscal officer for the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts (2000–2001); and budget analyst for the Georgia Legislative Budget Office (1998–2000).

The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) serves the state of Mississippi by providing retirement benefits for individuals working in state government, public schools, universities, community colleges, municipalities, counties, the Legislature, highway patrol and other public entities. 

Mississippi PERS’ executive director is responsible for leading the retirement system and conducting all business for the system, which includes Mississippi PERS, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System, the Municipal Retirement Systems, the Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan, Mississippi Deferred Compensation Plan & Trust, the Optional Retirement Plan, the Retiree Medical Insurance Plan, the Retiree Group Term Life Insurance Plan, and any other area of operation of the system.

 

Retirement benefits not only help recruit and retain a strong workforce in MS, but they help stimulate local economies in every county in the state, reducing the need for public assistance.

 

The system administers four defined benefit retirement plans that guarantee a specified retirement payment beginning at a certain age and after a certain period of service.  The plans included in the System are the Public Employees Retirement System of MS (PERS), the MS Highway Patrol Retirement System (MHSPRS), the Municipal Retirement System and Fire and Police Disability and Relief Fund (MRS), and the Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP).  The total number of active members has changed from 162,044 participants in 2014 to a current count of 151, 376 with 877 participating employers.

 

Higgins gave a recap of the financial status of PERS and the financial information can be found in their financial report for 2018 on their website pers.ms.gov .