Arizona's public safety pension board votes unanimously to fire its top executive

PHOENIX (AP) -- The board overseeing a $10 billion pension fund for retired Arizona police and firefighters has fired its embattled top executive.

The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System board voted 8-0 Wednesday to fire administrator Jared Smout. The move comes after sn investigation by the Arizona Department of Administration says Smout admitted to being attracted to an employee of the pension fund, sent inappropriate text messages and often hugged the worker inappropriately.

Smout was placed on paid leave since April, after complaints were filed against him. On Monday, the Department of Administration recommended Smout be fired and not considered for any other job in state government.

Board chairman William Buividas says the behavior was unacceptable from any employee, let alone the system's top official. He says the board "could not in good conscious avoid" firing Smout.

Smout oversaw a nearly $10 billion pension fund that administers retirement benefits for police, firefighters, corrections officers, judges and elected officials.