The reputations of Marcie Frost and CalPERS are under a cloud, given the circumstances of her hiring, alleged evidence and news reports. See
- California official wants probe of pension chief’s education;
- Calpers Chief Faces Short-Term and Long-Term Liabilities;
- CalPERS board rewards CEO with $84,000 bonus, 4 percent raise;
- Investigate hiring of CalPERS CEO, John Chiang says;
- CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost’s History of Embellishment and Poor Management Goes Back to Washington;
- CalPERS needs to come clean about its CEO’s educational background;
- California Treasurer John Chiang Calls for an Independent Investigation of CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost’s Hiring Misrepresentations;
- CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost’s History of Embellishment and Poor Management Goes Back to Washington
- Adam Ashton of the Sacramento Bee Publicizes This Blog (and CalPERS’ Frustration With It)
The following is an email concerning the need for an investigation. I hope others will join in this request:
Dear Ms. Yee (via email@example.com):
I hope you will join Treasurer John Chiang in his call for an independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the hiring of Marcie Frost to determine if any laws or policies were violated. All parties involved should welcome this approach. Without such and investigation both the credibility of Ms. Frost and the Board will continue to be called into question.
The Board’s history with regard to maintaining the highest ethical standards is not a good one. I am sure you are familiar with the scandals surrounding former CEO Fred Buenrostro and Board members who died before they could be prosecuted. You may not be familiar with the following:
In 1998 I petitioned CalPERS to follow the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) with respect to rulemaking. The Board argued unsuccessfully that article 16, section 17 of the Constitution, which gives them “plenary authority and fiduciary responsibility of investment of moneys and administration of the system…” “exempts it from any oversight or control by any other executive branch agency, including any such oversight or control which finds its source in the APA.” (https://www.oal.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/166/2017/05/1999_OAL_Determination_No._18.pdf) (See also https://www.oal.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/166/2017/05/2007_OAL_Determination_1.pdf for another instance.)
In 1998, I ran for the CalPERS Board. In what an official protest panel later ruled as “arguably a technical violation of board rules,” incumbent Crist was allowed to amend his own ballot statement after the deadline to respond to McRitchie. His “First Amendment” speech rights apparently trumped CalPERS rules. After the findings of the protest panel, the Board did not take action to ensure staff would not interfere in future elections.
Instead, they voted 9-4 to restrict ballot statements to “a recitation of the candidate’s personal background and qualifications” — and nothing more. Incredibly, board members even voted to delete a proposal by their staff that would have allowed ballot statements to include “candidates’ opinion or positions on issues of general concern to the system’s membership.” (CalPERS muzzles critics: Ballot rules protect board, keep others in the dark at https://www.corpgov.net/1999/05/calpers-muzzles-critics-ballot-rules-protect-board-keep-others-dark-2/) Thankfully, the Sacramento Bee editorial and public outcry led the Board to rescind its self-serving rulemaking aimed at protecting incumbents.
Given the Board’s history, I hope that any independent investigation will look not only at possible legal violations, such as perjury, but will also make recommendations to improve the CEO hiring process.