Inventory of the California Public Employee Retirement System Records

Chris Deutsch
California State Archives
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
FAX: (916) 653-7363
E-mail: ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov
URL: http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/
© 2009
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the California Public Employee Retirement System Records

Collection number: R199

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
Chris Deutsch
Date Completed:
January 2009
Encoded by:
Jessica Knox
© 2009 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: California Public Employee Retirement System Records
Dates: 1899-1991
Collection Number: R199
Creator: California State Employee Retirement System;
Creator/Collector: California Public Employee Retirement System
Collection Size: 15.5 Cubic Feet
Repository: California State Archives
Sacramento, California
Abstract: In 1927, Californians amended Article IV of the State Constitution by adding Section 22a to require that the State provide pensions to state workers. Shortly thereafter, the State Legislature passed a bill creating the State Employee Retirement System (SERS). In 1967, the State Legislature changed the agency's name to Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The record group consists of 15.5 cubic feet of textual records from the California Public Employee Retirement System covering the years 1899 to 1991 with the bulk of the records covering the 1950s to the 1990s.
Physical Location: California State Archives
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Administrative Information

Access

While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

Publication Rights

For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult California State Archives staff. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives' collections.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], California Public Employee Retirement System Records, R199.[series number], [box and folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

Acquisition Information

The California State Archives acquired the California Public Employee Retirement System Records according to state law.

Agency History

Following the 1927 Commission on Pensions of State Employees (Chapter 431, Statutes of 1927) recommendations, Californians amended Article IV of the State Constitution by adding Section 22a to require that the State provide pensions to state workers. Not long after, the State Legislature passed and Governor James Rolph, Jr. signed the bill creating the State Employee Retirement System (SERS) (Chapter 700, Statutes of 1931). SERS initially provided retirement payments to state workers and would incrementally increase to cover all California public employees. In 1939, the Legislature expanded SERS to include public teachers (Chapter 954, Statutes of 1939). The next major change to SERS came in 1962 with the Myers-Geddes State Employees' Medical and Hospital Care Act (Chapter 1236, Statutes of 1961), allowing SERS to provide health insurance to state workers. The Legislature expanded these provisions to include all public employees in 1967 (Chapter 1455, Statutes of 1967). The Long Term Care Act (Chapter 9, Statutes of 1991) further expanded the health care by granting the agency authorization to offer long-term care to all PERS members, both state and local.
SERS remained focused on providing benefits to state workers while incrementally offering benefits to non-state workers. The emphasis changed to all public employees in 1967 when the State Legislature changed the agency's name to Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) in recognition of its expanded coverage (Chapters 84 and 1631, Statutes of 1967). Subsequently, all of the public employee retirement systems became managed by the recently renamed agency. PERS would eventually change to California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) in 1992 to differentiate it from other state retirement programs.
The Board of Administration (the Board) governed PERS and managed investments. Various committees, such as the Investment Committee and the Health Insurance Committee, focused on assigned areas and reported to the Board. These committees reflected the system's expanding focus.
The Board managed the retirement fund and invested in bonds starting in 1932, with real estate investment added in 1953. Furthermore, starting in 1967, the Legislature granted the Board the ability to invest up to 25 percent of the fund portfolio in the stock market (Chapters 39, 110, 1285, 1293, 1394, 1407, 1510, 1665, and 1631, Statutes of 1967). Proposition 21 in 1984 removed the 25 percent portfolio limit.

Scope and Content

The record group consists of 15.5 cubic feet of textual records from the California Public Employee Retirement System covering the years 1899 to 1991 with the bulk of the records covering the 1950s to the 1990s. Memorandums, correspondence, and reports form the bulk of the material and demonstrate the PERS administration forming policy and making investment decisions.
This collection will interest researchers concerned with the policies of PERS and its administration, especially from the 1950s to the 1980s. Most of the collection originated from the Board of Administration and its related committees while focusing on administrative and investment issues. The Board focused on maintaining financial solvency and fiduciary responsibility through managing investments and choosing dedicated financial managers. The Board also dealt with specific cases concerning public employees seeking redress. The collection offers researchers insight into how the board operated by providing details on the various committee meetings as well as illuminating the evolution of California retirement policy starting from the 1930s to the mid 1980s. Investment policy appears throughout the collection as the various series often relate to investment options from the early 1930s to the early 1990s. This collection also reflects retirement and investment policy that made CalPERS successful.
It is anticipated that the Archives will receive further records from the California Public Employee Retirement System. Researchers should check the accession binders in the Archives Reference Room for recently received, unprocessed records.

Accruals

Further accruals are expected.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
California. Public Employees' Retirement System
California. Public Employees' Retirement System. Board of Administration
California. State Employees' Retirement System


Series Description

 

State Employee Retirement System 1905-1927

R199.01, Box 1, Folders 1-13

Series 1 State Employee Retirement System Files 1905-1927

Physical Description: 13 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by year.

Scope and Content

The SERS Files contain payroll information related to employees of the Department of Engineering on infrastructure improvement projects under the Department of Engineering such as the Sonora and Mono State Highway, Lake Tahoe Wagon Road construction, and river improvement projects. Payroll sheets include name of employees, occupations, number of days worked, and salaries. Also included is a 1924-1927 payroll book, located at C1854.
 

Public Employee Retirement System 1899-1970

R199.02, Box 1-2, Folders 14-11

Series 1 Historical Files 1899-1970

Physical Description: 30 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content

Historical files consist of reports, speeches, publications, memoranda, and press clippings relating to a variety of subjects such as state retirement plans prior to 1932 as well as SERS and PERS policy formation. Some of the most prominent subjects include Attorney General Reports, Investment Policy Discussions, and Social Security and its application to state employees. A number of the files concerns relations between SERS and the California State Employees Association and include correspondence, reports, and meeting information for CSEA. Another interesting topics found in the series was was the fate of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo's daughter Luisa Emparen, who was caretaker of the family estate under state employment. Another important subject concerned proposed mergers of SERS and the Old Age Insurance Agency. Notable publications include Governor Henry Gage's 1899 inaugural address, Governor George Pardee's 1907 Second Biennial Message to the Legislature, and Commission on Pensions of State Employees report (1929).
 

Board of Administration 1956-1991

R199.04, Box 4, Folders 7-16

Series 1 Legislative Bill Files 1983-1984

Physical Description: 10 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by bill number.

Scope and Content

The Board of Administration followed state bills dealing with retirement and provided bill analysis to determine what position PERS would take on each bill. Although the collection only contains the 1983 to 1984 session, the bills related to many important topics such as employee classification, PERS structure, budgets, interest rates, investment requirements and PERS investing in South Africa.
R199.05, Box 4-9, Folders 17-2

Series 2 Meeting Files 1956-1978

Physical Description: 80 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by meeting date.

Restriction

These files are RESTRICTED as per Government Code Section 6254(c) (unwarranted invasion of personal privacy). The retirement claims contain significant personnel information including social security numbers.

Scope and Content

The Board of Administration meeting files contain the agendas, memorandum, and reports used during the meetings. The board typically met once per quarter. The Board frequently discussed investment issues and the structure of SERS and PERS as well as making policy decisions. Additionally, the Board dealt with retirement claims made by individuals. They reviewed important cases and decided if individual cases required further adjudication.
R199.06, Box 9-10, Folders 8-16

Series 3 Meeting Transcripts 1975-1982

Physical Description: 35 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by meeting date.

Scope and Content

The series contains verbatim meeting transcripts for the Board of Administration and Retirement Board. The transcripts documented the issues that concerned PERS. While lacking agendas and other background distributed during the meetings, the files captured board member's discussions on important issues such as investments, retirement cases, and administration.
 

Board of Administration - Building Committee 1977-1986

R199.03, Box 2-4, Folders 12-6

Series 1 Committee Meeting Files 1977-1986

Physical Description: 37 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by meeting date.

Scope and Content

The Board of Administration created the Building Committee to oversee the construction of the PERS office in Sacramento. The committee managed the site selection process, bidding process, construction, and budget management. The Lincoln School served as the site for the new building and PERS faced litigation with the City of Sacramento over taxes and the proposed building's affect on the city. Subjects included bidding, reports, site selection, and similar topics. The files include memoranda, reports, and notes on the process. The committee debated many issues with the new building such as its environmental impact, heating efficiency, building layout, and building techniques.
 

Board of Administration - Health Insurance Committee 1968-1975

R199.07, Box 10-11, Folders 17-7

Series 1 Committee Meeting Files 1968-1975

Physical Description: 10 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by meeting date.

Scope and Content

The Health Insurance Committee Files primarily consists of agendas, which included PERS enrollment statistics, health insurance solvency, Kaiser Permanente proposals, and demographic statistics. The Health Insurance Committee was a committee of the Board of Administration and often held meetings on the same days as the Board of Administration.
 

Board of Administration- Investment Committee 1957-1991

R199.08, Box 11, Folders 8-16

Series 1 Committee Meeting Files 1957-1967

Physical Description: 9 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by meeting date.

Scope and Content

The Investment Committee, a committee of the Board of Administration, managed fiscal matters for PERS. The committee's focus on investment and fiduciary responsibility appear in each meeting, manifested in the meeting files. The majority of the series consists of each meeting's agenda, which listed PERS investments and end-of-quarter returns. Additionally, the committee explored investment options and future investment strategies.
R199.09, Box 11-16, Folders 17-5

Series 2 Proposals 1985-1991

Physical Description: 89 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by proposal number.

Scope and Content

The Investment Committee decided investment options for PERS, including determining which firms would be investment managers for various portfolios. This series originated from two proposals, 90-60 and 90-73 and was arranged by proposal number with relating correspondence following each proposal. Proposal 90-60 was for a proposal for a securities lending agent with Boston Company, Bank of New York, and Citibank applying for consideration. Proposal 90-73 was for a high-yield fixed income manager with Washington Square Advisors, Merrill Lynch, and Trust Company of the West applying for consideration. The committee rated each applicant based on numerous performance standards. Reports, rough drafts, correspondence, memoranda, and investment notes constitute the series.