Treasurer Walker Stapleton introduces bill to balance PERA’s board with more diversity, expertise

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2017                                                                                                                                                                     

Treasurer Walker Stapleton introduces bill to balance
PERA’s board with more diversity, expertise 

Denver, CO— Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton has introduced a bill to address the make up of the board of Colorado’s Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA). Senator Jack Tate sponsored the second bill Treasurer Stapleton has introduced this legislative session to reform PERA, SB17-158, which will put more age diversity and financial expertise on PERA’s board.

“This bill will make sure that the board has a greater range of experience in investment management, economics, accounting, pension administration, or actuarial analysis, while minimizing the appearance of conflicts of interest in matters dealing with PERA’s solvency and the financial liabilities of the State,” said sponsor Senator Jack Tate.  “As a result, we can look forward to a more intellectually honest discussion of what the future holds.

Currently PERA has a 15-member voting board made up of three gubernatorial appointees, 11 PERA members, elected from various divisions, and the State Treasurer. Senator Tate’s bill will give the Governor three additional nominees, with the qualification that they have financial experience, to the board. This will allow PERA members to keep eight of their board seats leaving them with an 8-7 voting majority.
 
“PERA’s board manages a $42 billion fund, and they are in desperate need of some independent voices that understand finance, I don’t care if these board members are a Democrat, Republican or Unaffiliated” said Treasurer Stapleton who has been serving on PERA’s board for the past 6 years. “I have witnessed first hand how CEO Greg Smith has run roughshod over of a group of well intentioned people without a background in finance, who make up the majority of the board. It’s bad for PERA members and taxpayers. In the case of PERA’s governance the tail is wagging the dog and PERA executives are desperate to see it stay that way.”
 
Additionally to diversify the expertise on the board, this bill will ensure that certain board members representing PERA divisions are 20 years away from retirement, giving the board the perspective of younger PERA members.  These board members will have a vested interest in not only the short-term viability but in the future as well.

Currently, PERA has a roughly $30 billion dollar unfunded liability. The unfunded liability is the money the system owes but currently does not have in its accounts.

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BACKGROUND:
 
SB17-158 text
 
PERA Board composition