Capitol Alert

CalPERS president re-elected, Jerry Brown reappoints fund board member

CalPERS’ Board of Administration has re-elected its president to an 11th term, while Gov. Jerry Brown has reappointed a Sacramento-area official to the 13-member panel who advocates restricting pay that counts toward pension payouts.

Rob Feckner, who joined CalPERS board in 1999 and is its longest-serving member, won unanimous re-election Tuesday to lead the 13-member panel. He is former president of the California School Employees Association, past executive vice president of the California Labor Federation and a glass repairman and installer for the Napa Valley Unified School District, which has employed him for 38 years.

Feckner has helped steer CalPERS through sunshine, scandal and slump over the last decade.

Early in his tenure, the fund enjoyed success as investments soared. Later, it lost billions of dollars during the Great Recession and drew unwanted attention for a corruption scandal that swept up former CalPERS officials. Feckner supported the in-house investigation that alleged former board member Alfred Villalobos bribed former fund CEO Fred Buenrostro to gain business for clients of his investment firm.

Meanwhile, Brown’s reappointment of Bill Slaton to the CalPERS board reestablishes a vocal advocate for changing how public pensions are calculated.

Slaton, first appointed to the board in 2012, was on the losing side last year when CalPERS voted to allow 99 so-called “special pays” count toward pension benefits. Brown opposed one item on the list – salary increases from temporary promotions – arguing they are “ad hoc” pay that his 2013 pension law bans from figuring into retirement benefits.

As a director of the Sacramento Metropolitian Utility District representing local governments on CalPERS board, Slaton sided with Brown. He also wanted the board to go further and consider banning other payments on the list, which includes everything from marksmanship certification pay and cement-finisher pay to longevity pay and smog-inspector license pay.

CalPERS board voted 7-5 to consider all 99 items as “normal recurring pay” that counts in pension calculations, along with an employees’ length of service and age.

The Brown administration has said it wants to put the issue of temporary promotion pay – and the other 98 supplemental payments – back on CalPERS agenda. If that happens, Slaton will undoubtedly again be a vocal proponent for whittling down the pensionable-pay list.

Slaton, 67, has lived in the Sacramento area for 40 years. He has served on the SMUD Board of Directors since 2002. He is a a former board chair of public TV station KVIE and served on the board of directors of Sacramento Commercial Bank and Placer Sierra Bancshares.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.