The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 21, 2009
CalSTRS responds to Sunday 'incentive awards' story

Sherry Reser, spokeswoman for the California State Teachers' Retirement System, sent an e-mail our way in response to our Sunday news story, "CalPERS, CalSTRS award big bonuses despite loses." With her permission, we're posting the section of Reser's e-mail that discusses points about CalSTRS' she wished would have made it into the article:

  1. We operate at a high degree of transparency. The Teachers' Retirement Board has a compensation committee, as you know, and provides full disclosure of incentive calculations and public discussion of compensation issues.
  2. Investment decisions added value to the teachers fund. CalSTRS paid out less than $3 million last year in incentives, yet had about $2 billion added to the portfolio over the last 3 years based on the staff decisions.
  3. This is a gripe about the article: Speaking of three years above, that's the rolling average considered in the incentives paid last year. That period included a portfolio return of more than 23%. Jon, this is an important fact and I really wish you had included it in the piece. The incentives were not just for FY 07-08 returns.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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