Worker-run pension boards raise call for reform

By By FENIT NIRAPPIL

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The nation's largest public pension fund is rejecting Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown's call to hike pension contribution rates immediately today.

Pension reform and taxpayer advocates say that's not surprising considering who's overseeing the multibillion dollar pension.

The 12-person board of California Public Employees' Retirement System is made up mostly of public employees and state and elected officials who will receive pension benefits. Dozens of pension funds across the country are stacked similarly in favor of pensioners.

Critics say such arrangements encourage rosy investment projections and low contribution rates. Government employee unions say they deserve a voice in securing their retirements and protecting the money from politicians.

Brown and a Democratic state lawmaker have tried and failed to add two independent financial experts to the CalPERS board. Research is inconclusive about whether pensions are worse off with worker-heavy boards.

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