Getting CalPERS’ number

If the Associated Press is writing articles like this one, then the city-stunting mismanagement at CalPERS, the state public employee retirement giant, is dawning on the mainstream.

The governor of California asked CalPERS to immeidately take a more fiscally prudent course. CalPERS’ staff recommendation, going to the board tomorrow, is to defer the changes untill fiscal 16-17, and then only to start phasing them in. The governor earlier tried to plant a a couple fiscal experts on CalPERS board so, you know, somebody there understood money. CalPERS said no.  

The essence of CalPERS’ perspective is well summarized by a law professor the reporter dug up at Northeastern University. He says, to quote the story, “the most important function of a pension board is to make sure retirees get the payments to which they are entitled.”

“Their sole responsibility is for the beneficiaries,” he said. “This is not a state enterprise.”

That is completely false. When CalPERS runs short, the state — we taxpayers — must pony up to fund its mismanaged pensions. Every dollar taken out of a city’s General Fund means fewer police, fewer firefighters, fewer road repairs, fewer library hours. The pension vampire is sucking city services up and down the state.

Yet CalPERS operates as if it bears no responsibility to anyone outside of their membership. They brook neither reform nor expertise, as such things merely get in the way of their self-enrichment.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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