CalPERS Board President Feckner Re-Elected to 11th Term

board room chair

The president of CalPERS’ board of administration, Rob Feckner, has been reelected to his 11th term. The term is one year long.

The board held the vote on Tuesday.

Feckner has sat on the board since 1999.

More from the LA Times:

During his long tenure, Feckner has steered CalPERS away from sometimes strident, anti-corporate activism; backed a campaign that successfully defeated a 2005 initiative that would have reduced some pension benefits; and helped the nearly $300-billion fund recover billions of dollars in losses from the recession of 2008-09 and its aftermath.

He also worked to clean house and overhaul policies in the wake of a 2009 bribery and corruption scandal that resulted in federal criminal charges being filed against two former CalPERS officials, a board member and chief executive.

“In the past few years, we have many accomplishments to be proud of,” Feckner said in a statement released by CalPERS, “but there’s still much more to do to ensure we provide secure retirement and health benefits to California’s hard-working public employees.”

Among those challenges is a potential 2016 proposed ballot measure that would allow cities and local governments to cut pension benefits for current employees. The board is expected to oppose such a measure.

Another development from Tuesday’s meeting: the board elected Henry Jones to the vice president position. He is replacing Priya Mathur, who was stripped of that position after repeated violations of financial reporting laws.

New Jersey Pension Panel Faces “Big Test”

New Jersey State House

When Chris Christie created the Pension and Benefit Study Commission, the skeptics were quick to point out the politics of the decision.

The panel was formed to recommend reforms for the state’s pension system; but when Christie announced his appointees, some thought its real function was to act as a political shield for the governor, who has said benefit cuts are likely on the horizon for state workers.

The panel is set to release its latest report in November. The editorial board of the New Jersey Star-Ledger says the report will be a “big test” for the panel:

The panel is expected to issue its report within a month. If it offers a lopsided solution that relies entirely on a second round of benefit cuts, its report will be dead on arrival. Democrats would not consider a solution like that, and for good reason.


Democratic leaders say they will not consider more benefits cuts until Christie restores full payments. That can’t be done without a tax increase, which Christie finds equally repugnant.

The job of this panel is to find the political sweet spot, to come up with a repair plan that both sides might accept. If it fails that test, its report will gather dust and its mission will have failed.

In the end, Democrats will have to accept some new benefit cuts. The state’s fiscal condition is much worse than anyone expected when this deal was signed in 2011, thanks mostly to the sputtering economy. If New Jersey had simply matched the average state since the Great Recession, it would have raised roughly $3 billion more in annual revenues and the 2011 reform would probably have survived.

Democrats can’t expect taxpayers to make up the entire shortfall if there are reasonable cuts to be made. One example: In its preliminary report, this panel noted that the state’s health benefits remain generous, and that some might qualify as “Cadillac plans” under Obama care. The state also treats early retirees more generously than Social Security does. The panel, no doubt, will have a long list of soft spots like this.

Christie needs to face reality, too. He can’t expect public workers to bear the entire burden when the state that has shortchanged these funds for so long, and when Christie himself broke his commitment to do better. And after years of fiscal crisis, there is simply no spare money in the treasury. That means a tax increase is needed.

This is a bipartisan panel, but Christie made all the appointments, a big mistake that undercuts its credibility. If its members want to have impact, they will have to declare their independence by offering a balanced repair plan.

If that leaves both sides unhappy, then the panel will have done its job by telling the hard truth about this unforgiving math.

The panel’s first report can be read here.