CalPERS Board Faces First Runoff Election

October 18, 2005 ( - The 49.82% of votes received by long time California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) trustee Charles Valdes has triggered the fund's first runoff election.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Valdes would have automatically won a sixth term on the board if not for a 2000 rule requiring a majority of votes to win a board seat.   Once the results are certified by the secretary of state’s office, Valdes will face Robert Walton, assistant executive officer of CalPERS, who received 19% of the vote.

The other at-large election on the ballot was won easily by 15 year incumbent Kurato Shimada, according to the Bee.   Shimada received 67.9% of the vote, while his closest challenger, retired registered nurse practitioner Katie Greene received 19.5% of all votes.

Valdes is a senior attorney with the Department of Transportation and former president of the California State Employees Association.   He has headed the CalPERS Investment Committee for 13 of his 21 years as a trustee.   In this role, he shapes policies and strategy that determine how the fund invests its more than $196 billion in assets.

Walton is a longtime CalPERS official who plans to retire at the end of November.   In his three decades at CalPERS he has handled everything from health benefit issues to government affairs. He also served a short stint as interim executive officer.

Both Shimada and Valdes received widespread labor endorsements in part due to their pledge to fight efforts by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republicans to end traditional, guaranteed pensions for public employees and replace them with 401(k)-style private plans.

CalPERS members will start receiving mail-in ballots for the runoff on November 14. The ballots must be returned by December 14.

Overall, six trustees are elected by members while the governor appoints two representatives. The Assembly speaker and Senate Rules Committee jointly appoint one trustee and the state Personnel Board names one. The state controller, treasurer and director of the Department of Personnel Administration also serve on the board.

Results are posted on the CalPERS Web site, .