San Diego County panel upholds investment officer’s termination

The termination of Jeffrey Baker, former investment officer at the $8.1 billion San Diego County Employees' Retirement Association, was confirmed by the San Diego County Civil Service Commission.

Mr. Baker was terminated from the county pension fund system in July 2011; the commission originally upheld the termination in November and Mr. Baker had appealed.

Mr. Baker said Thursday that he plans to launch multiple legal actions including a whistleblower lawsuit.

He said that he was fired based on the release of e-mails to a local newspaper and for failure to cooperate with the investigation into the release of those e-mails. He said the e-mails were released by his attorney and he did not answer some questions from SDCERA verbally on advice of counsel. Mr. Baker said that he later answered the questions in writing.

Michael Aguirre, Mr. Baker's attorney, said in an e-mailed response to questions Thursday: “Mr. Baker cooperated with the investigation, reported in every morning at 8 a.m., provided written answers. The civil service commission ignored the evidence and simply rubber-stamped SDCERA's unlawful actions.”

“Terminating employment is a difficult decision and one taken with the greatest care. SDCERA defended the decision because of the important policies involved,” said Brian White, CEO of the pension fund, in a written statement, following the commission's decision Wednesday.