CO Officials Bang Out PERA Reform Deal

May 5, 2006 ( - State of Colorado lawmakers announced Friday they and Governor Bill Owens have hammered out an accord to fix the state's ailing public employee pension system.

The deal, which allows lawmakers to skip a special session to address a potential $11 billion shortfall, includes offering alternative plans to more members of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) to help reduce the shortfall and changing the composition of the board, said state Representative Bernie Buescher, according to the Associated Press.

The proposal would allow newly hired higher education employees to choose a defined-contribution program. Now, only state workers can do that, with the rest in defined-benefit plans.

The compromise also includes shrinking PERA’s board by one member, to 15. PERA members would make 11 appointments, the governor would make three, and the state treasurer would be a permanent member, according to the news report.

The state House and Senate still have to approve the pact before the Legislature adjourns next week, the report said.

PERA now appoints 14 members and the state treasurer and auditor are permanent members. PERA covers 68,000 retirees and 175,000 active workers in state and local governments