Schwarzenegger Advisor Offers to Quit Post to Stay on CalSTRS Board

May 25, 2006 ( - One of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's top advisors has offered to give up his $90,000 a year post to keep his spot on the state teacher's retirement board.

According to the Sacramento Bee, David Crane, the governor’s special advisor for jobs and economic growth, called for a one-week delay on his confirmation to the board of the second largest public pension fund in the nation.

The result of a private meeting between Crane and the Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, Crane admitted that holding both positions would be a conflict of interest and that he would choose the $100-per-diem CalSTRS position if approved, the paper reported.

Crane is a former partner at Babcock & Brown, a San Francisco-based international financial services firm.

The Rules Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend the full Senate to confirm two other Schwarzenegger appointees to CalSTRS: Kathleen Brugger, a veteran school board leader; and Elizabeth Rogers, a Santa Barbara-area business executive.

Even though Crane agreed to resign his advisor’s spot, he could still face more opposition than Brugger and Rogers. According to the Bee, Crane faced resistance from teachers’ organizations and union leaders who claimed he broke his fiduciary duties by not taking a stand against a measure to convert guaranteed public pensions to hybrid plans that would be a mix between 401(k) and traditional pensions for newly hired employees.

According to the newspaper, Crane rebuffed the criticism by saying that the CalSTRS should not take positions on legislative proposals that do not affect current teachers or retirees.

Last year, Schwarzenegger ousted four of his five trustees from the CalSTRS board for opposing his proposal to replace traditional pensions with 401(k)-like private accounts for new public employees (See  Political Infighting Leaves CalSTRS Board with 7 Members ).