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Entering the fray

CalPERS calls meeting on proposed pension changes

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Countering: California Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension reform plan offers little cost savings, CalPERS board members say.

Officials of the California Public Employees' Retirement System are stepping right into the middle of the state's pension reform debate, scheduling a town hall meeting for Aug. 16 in Anaheim.

While CalPERS board members and staff believe that dismantling defined benefit plans further erodes confidence in America's retirement system, they have not taken a formal position on California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s 12-point pension reform plan. They do say the plan would offer little cost savings.

That proposal, which has languished in the California Legislature, offers a hybrid pension model for new employees, creating a smaller defined benefit plan in conjunction with a defined contribution plan for those covered by the $230.3 billion CalPERS, Sacramento, and the $146.8 billion California State Teacher's Retirement System, West Sacramento.

The speakers have not been set for the town hall meeting, but CalPERS spokesman Robert Glazier said a full range of viewpoints — not just those of CalPERS — will be presented.

“We want to be an honest broker of information,” said CalPERS board member J.J. Jelincic.

The debate over public pension plans has heated up in California recently as voters in both San Jose and San Diego last month approved changing retirement benefits for workers in those cities.

The specific venue for the meeting has not yet been set.