Officials with California's massive public pension fund, CalPERS, issued a press statement Wednesday on the new proposed ballot initiative on public employee pensions that restates the long-held position that those pensions are deferred compensation and a vested right under both federal and state law.
"CalPERS is bound by fiduciary duty to deliver the promised pension benefits according to the U.S. and California Constitutions, statutory law and case law," the release says. "The California voters placed these protections and duties in our Constitution to ensure that employees' pensions would be protected by CalPERS as their fiduciary and trustee. CalPERS will continue to support and defend our members' vested rights, in accordance with the laws of the land and our obligations under the federal and State constitutions."
Rather than downgrade pensions for government employees, CalPERS says, "a better solution would be to help those without pensions find ways to save for retirement ... Changes to pension benefit levels should be determined by the employer and the employees, and not at the ballot box. If this initiative were to pass, then all contractual rights in California could be in jeopardy."
You can find the full statement on the fund's website.
PHOTO: CalPERS headquarters in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Jay Mather