Nev. Pension Fund Challenging Pensioner Disclosure Ruling

January 19, 2012 ( - The board governing the Public Employees Retirement System of Nevada is challenging a ruling that the names and benefit amounts of retired public employees are a matter of public record.

The Reno Gazette-Journal had filed a lawsuit against the retirement system, which denied the newspaper’s request for the information, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Carson City District Judge James Russell supported the newspaper, concluding that the purpose of the Nevada Public Records Act is to “ensure accountability of the government to members of the public by facilitating public access to vital information about government activities.”  

But, the news report said, Chris Wicker, the attorney for PERS, said the law is not that clear. “Since the 1970s, PERS has interpreted (state laws) as treating employee files as confidential,” Wicker said, adding that PERS wants to comply, but needs a “definitive statement” from high court justices on what the law means.  

Wicker said the PERS board, and many current and retired public employees, are concerned that making the information public could lead to identity theft.  

Retirement systems in California (see State court Orders Sonoma County Pension Board to Release Records) and Colorado (see Colorado PERA Pushes Back on Member Disclosure) have bucked against similar rulings.