April 25, 2011
External Affairs Branch
Patricia K. Macht, Deputy Executive Officer
Brad Pacheco, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Edward Fong, Information Officer
CalPERS Releases Benefit Funding Toolkit for Local Elected Officials
SACRAMENTO, CA – California's local elected officials grappling with decisions related to pensions now have a resource available to them to help make well-informed decisions.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has produced an "elected official toolkit," a primer on the funding of public employee pension and retiree health benefits. The toolkit is being distributed to State, local, and federal officials to help them understand how public employee retirement benefits work and to assist them in developing well-informed public policies on the issue.
"The topic of pensions and employee benefits is complex, which can result in misunderstandings," said CalPERS Chief Executive Officer Anne Stausboll. "We hope our toolkit will give public officials a better understanding of how pensions work so that they can make informed decisions about these important issues. It is important that pension decisions are made on the merits and not on misconceptions."
The toolkit features sections on:
- Retirement Plans – Includes a comparison of defined benefit pension plans and 401(k)-style defined contribution retirement plans, how defined benefit pension plans provide employers with human resources management tools, and a description of the CalPERS defined benefit pension plan.
- Funding Retirement Benefits – Focuses on actuarial funding basics of defined benefit plans along with sample valuations, and explanation of pension discount rates and liabilities.
- Funding Retiree Health Benefits – Provides information about the CalPERS California Employers' Retiree Benefit Trust, which helps California public agencies prefund retiree health benefits and other post-employment benefits.
- Contracting for Benefits – Identifies issues to consider when contracting for the CalPERS pension plan, questions policymakers may want to ask, how to contract and amend a CalPERS pension contract, how to contract for other CalPERS benefits, and employer responsibilities.
The toolkit is being distributed to key State legislators and relevant committee staff, and local government administrators and elected officials such as city council members, county supervisors, and special district board members. CalPERS is also providing copies to key members of Congress and congressional staff who work on employee benefit issues.
The toolkit will also be used as a resource at CalPERS-sponsored workshops and training sessions for public employer and public employee organizations.
CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the U.S. with assets of approximately $236 billion. The retirement system administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million active and retired California public employees and their families on behalf of 3,000 California public employers. CalPERS also administers health benefits for 1.3 million members and their dependents.
Local Elected Official Toolkit (PDF, 1.36 MB)