The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 4, 2011
John Chiang rejects term limit idea for CalPERS elected seats

20111102_ha_JACK_CHIANG0365.JPGEarlier this week we asked you to send in questions for State Controller John Chiang, who visited the The Bee Capitol Bureau on Wednesday.

We had a chance to ask a question submitted by retired state worker Terry Sutherland , who asked if Chiang thought term limits for elected CalPERS board members would be an effective reform.

Chiang first reflected on what legislative term limits have done to state governance, then focused on establishing them for CalPERS:

"I'm not a fan of term limits. I understand voters here in California wanted to extend it. It's just hard for honest, hardworking caring individuals to have that entire body of knowledge to be effective in the legislative process. I can talk to them about a health care plan, they're captured by the committee meetings, captured by the issues of the day and I think that's part of the issues we've had in the past. They deal with the budget, and they think they're done with the budget and (we) said, 'Did you test it for cash?' and said 'We have to test it for cash?' And I think you need those people who understand year after year what the critical issues are, have that body of expertise so that they can take some type action. ...

"There's so much you have to learn about benefit plans. You're not going to have a new member who understands the 16 different strategies for hedge funds, That takes time to acquire that knowledge. That takes time to witness that development."

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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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