The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 2, 2013
Lawmakers to CalPERS: Let's talk about that pension database

The controversy that kicked up in July over CalPERS' plan to launch a online pension database has reached the California Legislature.

According to an Aug. 26 letter from Sen. Jim Beall and Assemblyman Rob Bonta to CalPERS President Rob Feckner, the Senate and Assembly pension committee leaders plan to hold hearings on "issues related to the right of the public to access CalPERS data and ... personal privacy concerns."

The letter doesn't set any dates, but it's safe to assume that hearings will be scheduled sometime between the legislative year-end on Sept. 13 and Jan. 6, 2014 when lawmakers return to the Capitol.

Fund officials hoped the website would become the go-to resource for CalPERS pension data that they said is sometimes mishandled or cherry picked for political purposes. They also expected a regularly-updated site would curb the number of individual requests for information that now consume staff time to process.

Pensioner groups, including California State Retirees, said that putting names, allowance mounts, last employer information, service time and other data on in searchable form on the Internet -- even though it is considered public record -- would make some vulnerable seniors easy targets for scammers.

The retirees asked the Legislature to intervene. Meanwhile, CalPERS decided to put the database launch on hold.

Here's the Beall/Bonta letter:

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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