A lawsuit filed today challenges an agreement between the CalPERS board and California Gov. Gray Davis to defer $1.3 billion in state pension contributions in the coming fiscal year. The lawsuit, filed by the California Association of Professional Scientists in state Superior Court in Sacramento, says the board of the $147 billion California Public Employees Retirement System, Sacramento, failed to give adequate advance notice of the pending board action.
"This is a raid of the PERS system by the Davis administration, aided and abetted by the PERS board, pure and simple, said Thomas Napoli, president of the scientists group. CalPERS participants are to receive improved inflation protection benefits in exchange for contribution deferral, but CAPS says the deal actually hinged on settling a lawsuit filed by state Controller Kathleen Connell that would roll back salaries of senior CalPERS internal portfolio managers, according to a CAPS news release.
However, a government official, who requested anonymity, said the lawsuit actually is an effort by the scientists union to negotiate a better salary increase for its members. Rick Chivaro, chief counsel for the controller, said the lawsuit is moving ahead, despite an effort by the state personnel chief to undercut the litigation as part of the budget deal.
Officials at CalPERS could not be reached for comment by press time.