December 9, 2016

Chuck Reed's December 7 column in the San Diego Union-Tribune, "Loyalton's pension default is a wake up call," is full of exaggerations that have little merit. In twisting facts to square with his anti-pension beliefs, he fails to point out the key element behind the Loyalton story: Local agencies determine the benefits for public employees, not CalPERS.

As administrators of the plan, it's our job to pay the benefits workers have been promised. We're committed to protecting public employees, not throwing them overboard as Reed carelessly writes.

Blaming pensions for the troubles in Vallejo, San Bernardino, and Stockton is equally false. Officials in those cities have long been clear that their troubles run much deeper than the benefits offered to employees.

Pension obligations are a shared responsibility between employer and employee. CalPERS will continue to take bold steps to protect members' benefits and chart a course that addresses the real issues and not what critics want readers to believe.

(This For the Record was sent as a Letter to the Editor to the San Diego Union-Tribune and in response to the San Jose Mercury News article, "Former San Jose mayor highlights tiny town's pension plight.")