The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 6, 2012
Column Extra: Pension fund critic Joe Nation compliments CalPERS

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Joe Nation.jpgToday's State Worker column notes a marked change in CalPERS' public posture in the last year or so, a shift that we attribute to a leadership turnover, humbling scandals and investment losses that have moved its the organization to press for more transparency, tougher ethical standards and changes to how the fund manages risk.

While CalPERS doesn't hesitate to defend itself when it perceives an unwarranted attack, it also has moved to give critics a voice. Our column cites one example: CalPERS decision to invite Stanford professor Joe Nation, an ardent critic of the fund's investment assumptions, to an August forum on public pensions. Here's video of that event. Note what Nation says at the beginning of the session about CalPERS "big tent" and an earlier experience with the fund:

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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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