CalPERS' new governance model was adopted after a series of committee and board meetings in August following several lively debates.
Among the most hotly contested issues were changes in the frequency of the board and committee meetings and the reduction of the investment committee to an advisory panel without decision-making authority.
The board and the governance committee declined to accept board member Lisa Middleton's suggestion to put off making a decision until September to give staff time to flesh out what the changes would mean and to produce sample board and committee schedules to give board members a clearer view of the impact of their decisions.
California State Controller Betty Yee expressed doubts about converting the investment committee to an advisory panel.
"I know there's been some practices with respect to a good rationale for having quarterly meetings, but to me, it's really the quality of the meetings and what you do with your time. … And I get it … in terms of the board … then looking to ratify the (investment) committee's recommendations," Ms. Yee said. "But everything we do in investment committee is oversight. It's about policy. It's about strategy … that gets lost in a board meeting … And so I feel … (we're) kind of diminishing our role by moving in that direction."
Cari Dominguez, a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and former chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, assisted with the board self-evaluation process and recommendations.
At the August governance committee meeting that took place the day before the board meeting, Ms. Dominguez said the board needed to determine what issues it should work on and what work should be taken on by staff. CalPERS should differentiate between strategy and operational reports of what already has transpired, she said.
"And that (latter) type of information shouldn't consume your time, your deliberation's time," Ms. Dominguez said. "So, it's very important for you to really differentiate what should be coming to the board for action, for oversight vs. what should the board be informed about for purposes of governance."
Following Ms. Dominguez's comments, board Chairman Henry Jones called on members of the public to speak.
Former board member and CalPERS staff member J.J. Jelincic, who is running for Mr. Jones' board seat, spoke against reducing the number of meetings. He said fewer meetings will not improve the board's oversight.
"Trustees will face longer agendas, which will further reduce the likelihood that board members will have the time or the inclination to actually read the material," he told the board.