After catching an earful from retirees and others, it looks like CalPERS’ plan to launch an online pension database is all but officially dead.
The database, which was the topic of The State Worker blog’s most-viewed item in 2013, would have disclosed pensioners’ names, their pension payments, their last state employer, and a few other bits of information considered public record. CalPERS reasoned that the integrity of the data would be better protected on its own website rather than on external sites kept by other organizations. Some of those groups use the data for political effect.
CalPERS last summer told retiree groups about the database, but once The State Worker reported the news July 8, pensioners blasted the idea. They worried that making the information so easily available would invite scammers to prey on vulnerable seniors. Lawmakers weighed in. Meanwhile, the fund suspended the website’s launch.
In preparing this post, we asked CalPERS’ spokesman Brad Pacheco whether there had been any other decision made about the database. In an email this afternoon, he said,
“After many discussions with our stakeholders and partners, we have come to better understand their concerns about posting this public information in a secure database on the CalPERS website. Next month, staff will report to the Board that we no longer believe the intended benefits of posting the database on our website outweigh the risks and concerns to our members and that we should not move forward with our previous plans.”
CalPERS will continue responding to Public Records Act requests as it always has, Pacheco said.