The State Worker

CalPERS board member loses bid to distance herself from pension rate hikes

A CalPERS board member seeking reelection has lost a fight over whether her challenger made a misleading statement tying board actions to soaring pension contribution rates.

Incumbent Priya Mathur, who holds the local public agency seat on the 13-member board, last month protested this sentence in a written candidate statement by Leyne Milstein, director of finance for the City of Sacramento:

“With recent CalPERS Board decisions resulting in what could easily be 55% increases or greater in pension costs for more than 400 participating local agencies over the next six years, it has become apparent that we need an advocate for public agency interests and concerns.”

In a 367-page exhibit, Mathur protested to an arbitrator that the statement is inaccurate, inflamatory and “inherently misleading.” She also questioned Milstein‘s source (”I don’t believe her claim reflects CalPERS’ published information ...”) and sought to have the sentence deleted.

After reviewing Mathur’s documents and Milstein’s 50-page defense exhibit, Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Lew said the statement was accurate.

“(Milstein) relied upon CalPERS published information for school districts and public agencies on future rate increases,” Lew wrote. “She applied this information to current CalPERS published rates.”

The decision issued Tuesday comes a month ahead of election ballots going out to CalPERS members. Voting ends Sept. 29. Mathur’s term expires Jan. 15, 2015.

CalPERS Election Dispute