The State Worker

With one member bowing out, CalPERS has an unexpectedly open election

Joseph John Jelincic Jr. is not running for a third term on the CalPERS Board of Administration.
Joseph John Jelincic Jr. is not running for a third term on the CalPERS Board of Administration. Sacramento Bee file photo, 2011

An outspoken member of the CalPERS Board of Administration is not seeking re-election, setting up a wide-open race to succeed him.

J.J. Jelincic, an eight-year incumbent and CalPERS investment officer, told the pension fund in late March that he planned to run for another term.

But, he did not file paperwork to run by this week’s deadline. He posted a message on his website saying he would not be on the ballot.

Jelincic’s message further urged voters to press candidates for more information about CalPERS’ investment strategies. He did not return a phone call from The Bee by deadline.

“I originally ran for the CalPERS board because I thought the board was not doing its job and was too often being manipulated by staff. After eight years on the board, I can tell you it was even worse than I realized,” he wrote.

Three candidates have filed paperwork to run for Jelincic’s seat. They are State Personnel Board member Richard Costigan, state scientist David Miller, and Long Beach Unified School District member Felton Williams.

Costigan sits on the CalPERS board as an appointee from the State Personnel Board. He’s was a legislative affairs secretary and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He said he wanted to run for a four-year term on the CalPERS board because it would give him “more certainty” in his role on the board. His appointment from the Personnel Board must be approved every year.

Because Jelincic is not running for re-election, CalPERS is extending the candidate filing deadline for his seat. It is scheduled to close on May 30.

Michael Bilbrey, another incumbent, is seeking re-election. He’s facing challenges from Margaret Brown, the director of facilities at the Garden Grove Unified School District; Bruce Jennings, a retired legislative consultant in the Capitol; and Wisam Altowaiji, a retired city engineer for Redondo Beach.

CalPERS members will start receiving ballots for the election in September. Ballots will be counted in October.

The CalPERS board has 13 members. Some are elected by public employees and retirees, others are appointed by the governor and two are statewide elected officials.

Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton. Sign up for state worker news alerts at