California's largest government retirement fund has decided to delay launching an online database of public pension information, citing moves by a retiree group to pursue legislation that would narrow how much of that information would fall under the state Public Records Act.
Here's the email announcing the fund's decision sent to member associations early this morning by CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco:
Good morning. We want to let you know about a change in CalPERS plans to maintain a secure database of pension data that is currently required by law to be made available to the public upon request.
As many of you are aware, CalPERS is currently required by law to release certain pension data to anyone requesting it. We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the privacy and security of our members and their data. CalPERS currently receives many requests for most or all of the data of our members, and that data can be corrupted or erroneous when it is converted, distributed or posted by third parties. By protecting this data on CalPERS On-Line, we would be better able to safeguard the integrity of the data, rather than disperse files to news or other organizations to create their own databases.
However, we have learned today that at least one of our member associations plans to pursue legislation to limit the amount of pension data that is required to be released under the Public Records Act (PRA). In accordance with our desire to protect the privacy and data of our members and only release that information which is legally required, CalPERS has decided to wait to see the outcome of this legislative effort and not release our planned pension database.
We want to assure you and our members that we will continue to protect private information such as date of birth, health information, and address. Thank you for your partnership and support in protecting the retirement security and pensions of those who serve California every day.