Project

Public Sector Retirement Systems

Susan Banta Project Director

Susan Banta directs a team of researchers analyzing infrastructure and public pensions, focused on helping states and localities ensure that their retirement plans are affordable and sustainable and that needed infrastructure investments are identified and met.

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Stephanie Connolly Principal Associate

Stephanie Connolly leads the public sector retirement systems project’s efforts to track state and federal legislation and other public policy proposals, and she contributes research and technical assistance. Before joining Pew in 2019, she was an analyst at the American Academy of Actuaries, responsible for managing legislative tracking and engagement as well as developing public policy materials designed to educate stakeholders on issues related to insurance and pensions. Connolly holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College, Maryland.

David Draine Principal Officer

David Draine serves as a principal investigator and methodologist for Pew’s research on public sector retirement systems. His research has looked at pension plan design, risk and uncertainty, and disclosure and transparency. Based on this work, Draine has advised state and local task forces considering public sector retirement system reforms.

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Maria Garnett Officer

Maria Garnett is an officer with Pew’s public sector retirement systems project, where she is responsible for identifying and executing opportunities to engage with states and provide technical assistance to policymakers working to improve public pension systems. Before joining Pew, Garnett served as a policy adviser with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, a senior legislative analyst for the Virginia General Assembly, and a data analyst focused on economic and tax policy research in the Texas comptroller’s office. Garnett holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in public service and administration from Texas A&M University.

Corryn Hall Manager

Corryn Hall leads the project’s technical assistance efforts, overseeing relationships with policymakers and stakeholders, and managing a team that develops high-quality data analysis and evidence-based policy options for decision-makers. Before joining Pew in 2019, Hall spent 10 years as a financial adviser, serving clients responsible for public sector retirement plans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Illinois State University and a master’s in business administration from Roosevelt University.

Claire Lee Associate

Claire Lee is an associate with Pew’s public sector retirement systems project, where she researches funding and investment practices of public pension systems. Her work also includes researching the budgetary impacts of underinvestment in public infrastructure and examining equitable infrastructure investment. Before joining Pew in 2023, Lee worked as a graduate research assistant for various faculty and research teams at Georgetown University. She graduated from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies with a bachelor’s degree in law and is pursuing a Ph.D. in government at Georgetown University.

Gerald Lindrew Senior Officer

Gerald Lindrew is an expert on fiduciary issues and oversees the project’s legislative drafting and review efforts. Before joining Pew in 2013, he served as the deputy director of policy and research for the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, and he was the general counsel and staff director for the labor subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, now known as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Lindrew holds a bachelor’s degree in American history, a master’s in industrial relations, and a Juris Doctor, all from the University of Wisconsin.

Mollie Mills Principal Associate

Mollie Mills manages the project’s financial analysis and financial modeling work, and she provides quantitative and technical analyses on project research deliverables. She also helps lead research and technical assistance initiatives on retirement security and retirement readiness. Before joining Pew in 2017, Mills researched policies affecting low-income Americans at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and worked with valuation actuaries at a life insurance and annuity firm. Mills holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in economics from the University of Kansas.

Aleena Oberthur Project Director

Aleena Oberthur directs research for the public sector retirement systems project. This work includes 50-state research on a range of topics related to state pension and retiree funding, plan design, and investment and governance policies.

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Christine Pulfrey Officer

Christine Pulfrey supports the project’s editorial needs by drafting and editing publications and communications with policymakers. Before joining Pew in 2021, Pulfrey was a writer-editor at Bloomberg Tax, where she covered federal, state, and local wage and hour developments. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature with a writing specialty from New York University and a master’s degree in literature from American University.

Keith Sliwa Principal Associate

Keith Sliwa leads the project’s research on state employee retiree health benefits and contributes to 50-state research on pension funding and investments. Before joining Pew in 2013, he interned with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Office of Tax Policy Analysis, working on the state’s Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program and tax expenditure budget. Sliwa holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and Chinese studies from Grand Valley State University.

Andrea Wales Principal Associate

Andrea Wales oversees internal processes for the project’s technical assistance efforts, including the production of fiscal analyses, as well as ensuring that advocacy and technical assistance work complies with federal, state, and local rules. Before joining Pew in 2012, Wales worked in federal government affairs, representing Pacific Northwest clients—including cities, counties, and private industry—on matters related to federal appropriations, environment, defense, and trade. Wales holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Dakota State University.

Emma Wei Associate Manager

Emma Wei is the lead researcher and data analyst for the public sector retirement systems project. Before joining Pew in 2019, she worked for nonprofit organizations on a range of fiscal policy issues, including taxation, government spending, and intergovernmental transfers. Wei holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Shanghai Normal University. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration, and a master’s and doctorate in urban planning from Virginia Tech.

Fatima Yousofi Senior Officer

Fatima Yousofi leads the state fiscal policy project’s work examining additional long-term liabilities to state and local governments budgets, including the accumulated deferred maintenance of public infrastructure. Her research also explores emerging financial risks to public pension funds and infrastructure from the enduring effects of climate change, and the potential costs of failing infrastructure.

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