The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 7, 2011
Computer switch, pension politics create CalPERS work backlog

A recent technology upgrade and a possible pension policy change has backed up the workload at CalPERS.

The fund went offline for a little more than two weeks last month to switch computer systems, which temporarily shut down processing retirement and reinstatement applications and processing member enrollment into health and dental plans.
Thumbnail image for 100607 CALPERS HQ.JPG
That wasn't a surprise. Fund officials anticipated the Sept. 2 to Sept. 18 shutdown would impact its member services and put out the word.

At the same time, CalPERS has been hit with a flood of service credit pricing requests. Gov. Jerry Brown's anticipated plan to ax "airtime" purchases has prompted the surge in inquiries, we hear.

In August, Donna Ramel Lum, Deputy Executive Officer for Customer Services and Support, told CalPERS' board that staff completed 71 percent of service credit pricing requests within 90 days during the third quarter fund, far short of the goal to complete 95 percent within 90 days.

This link downloads CalPERS service and support performance charts. Scroll down to B-7 to see the assessment of how quickly the fund is turning around service credit cost requests.

By the way, if you want to do your own quickie calculation to see whether you might be able to afford airtime, check out the CalPERS online service credit price calculators.

PHOTO: CalPERS headquarters in Sacramento. Sacramento Bee file, 2007.

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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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