CalPRS and CalSTRS

2012 National Leadership Conference

Fiscal Chairs Forum:
State Efforts to Stabilize Public Pension Plans
May 17, 2012

The Fiscals Chairs forum featured an in-depth discussion of, and policy options to, one of the thorniest problems confronting state policymakers: public pensions.  As states cautiously recover from the Great Recession, one of the significant fiscal challenges they confront involves devising solutions to boost underfunded and unfunded public pension plans.  During the forum, the fiscal chairs heard from fellow state officials representing three states (Oregon, Rhode Island and California), each tackling unique public pension challenges in innovative ways.

Presentation by Grant Boyken,
Pension and Benefits Officer, Office of the State Treasurer, California

CalPRS and CalSTRS

Mr. Boyken prefaced his remarks on California’s public retirement systems by commenting that the two major state plans, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) currently had $232 billion and $154 billion in assets, respectively.  In context of the enormity of the funds, California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer felt very strongly about improving the transparency and accountability of the two plans.  In recent years, there had been “pay-to-play” scandals involving placement of agents and several high-profile cases of pension spiking and extravagant public sector pension payments involving the California public plans.  Consequently, Treasurer Lockyer has actively promoted legislation by the California Legislature along with enacting new policies at CalPERS and CalSTRS to thwart irregular and potentially illegal activities.

Grant Boyken

Grant Boyken is the Pension and Benefits Officer for the California State Treasurer's Office.  He analyzes issues related to employee benefits and insurance for the Treasurer's Office, and represents Treasurer Lockyer as a designee on the governing boards of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, and the California Earthquake Authority. 

Prior to his current position, he worked as a Senior Research Specialist at the State Library's California Research Bureau, where he conducted research and analysis for the Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission in 2007.  He has a master's degree in Sociology from the University of California, Davis.