California's two major public pension systems are underfunded and are asking local governments to pay more. Critics want to reduce benefits, while others say policymakers should allow time for recent changes to take hold. Emily Zentner The Sacramento Bee
California's two major public pension systems are underfunded and are asking local governments to pay more. Critics want to reduce benefits, while others say policymakers should allow time for recent changes to take hold. Emily Zentner The Sacramento Bee

The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

The State Worker

State science union leader wins CalPERS seat

By Adam Ashton

aashton@sacbee.com

October 03, 2017 01:56 PM

David Miller’s fourth bid for a seat on the board that manages California’s largest public pension fund paid off.

The state scientist and public employee union leader defeated former private equity fund manager Michael Flaherman in an election for a seat on the CalPERS Board of Administration, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System announced Tuesday on Twitter.

Miller will replace J.J. Jelincic, who did not run for re-election.

Miller, a former president of the California Association of Professional Scientists, campaigned to protect public employee pensions from political campaigns that would weaken benefits for workers and retirees. Flaherman, a former CalPERS board member, argued that his experience would strengthen the pension fund’s hand against Wall Street.

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PERS said Miller got 77,316 votes (63.7 percent) to Flaherman’s 44,041 votes (36.3 percent).

A second CalPERS contest is headed to a runoff between incumbent Michael Bilbrey and challenger Margaret Brown, business services manager for the Garden Grove Unified School District, after none of the four candidates received 50 percent of the vote. Ballots for that race are scheduled to be mailed on Nov. 10. Bilbrey received 49,801 votes (40.8 percent) and Brown received 43,132 votes (35.4 percent).

Public employee unions backed Bilbrey and Miller, contributing about $150,000 to the two candidates.

The 13-member CalPERS Board of Administration manages a $334 billion pension fund for 1.8 million public workers and retirees. Six members of the board are elected, and seven are appointed by the governor and other leaders.

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