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Pension Funds

CalPERS affirms confidence in CEO amid questions on educational background

CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost

Top officials at CalPERS are confirming their full confidence in CEO Marcie Frost after published reports asserted that Ms. Frost, who does not have a degree higher than a high school diploma, made false or misleading statements about her educational background.

"The board's confidence in Marcie Frost and her leadership is unwavering," said board President Priya Mathur and Vice President Rob Feckner in a written statement regarding Ms. Frost. "We hired her two years ago based on her expertise and background in pension administration, and on her outstanding leadership abilities. Our decision was the right one then and it's the right one today."

A news release dated July 14, 2016 — when Ms. Frost was hired — states she is "pursuing dual bachelor's and master's degree in public administration from Evergreen State College."

Wayne Davis, spokesman for the $358.9 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, said that was an incorrect statement.

Ms. Frost was enrolled but did not complete a program at Evergreen State College that awards units toward a bachelor's degree based on experience. He said the program is known as "Prior Learning from Experience," which allows students to earn 45 of the 180 units needed for a bachelor's of science or bachelor's of arts degree. According to the college's website, a bachelor's degree is required to pursue a master's degree in public administration.

Ms. Frost's resume did not mention her education. Her resume only mentions that she was a speaker at the Evans School Master of Public Administration at the University of Washington. She was only required to submit a resume and one page of a state job application — which did not include the portion asking about educational background.

"The board knew her education background when they hired her in 2016. They knew she did not have a college degree. That was no secret and Marcie never hid it," Mr. Davis said in an email. "Marcie's talents, expertise in pension administration, hard work and an unquestioned ability to work with people earned her the top job." She was director of the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, Olympia, before she joined CalPERS.