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Inventory of the California Public Employee Retirement System Records
R199  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: California Public Employee Retirement System Records
    Dates: 1899-1991
    Collection Number: R199
    Creator: California State Employee Retirement System;
    Creator/Collector: California Public Employee Retirement System
    Collection Size: 15.5 Cubic Feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: In 1927, Californians amended Article IV of the State Constitution by adding Section 22a to require that the State provide pensions to state workers. Shortly thereafter, the State Legislature passed a bill creating the State Employee Retirement System (SERS). In 1967, the State Legislature changed the agency's name to Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The record group consists of 15.5 cubic feet of textual records from the California Public Employee Retirement System covering the years 1899 to 1991 with the bulk of the records covering the 1950s to the 1990s.
    Physical Location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information

    Access

    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult California State Archives staff. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives' collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], California Public Employee Retirement System Records, R199.[series number], [box and folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The California State Archives acquired the California Public Employee Retirement System Records according to state law.

    Agency History

    Following the 1927 Commission on Pensions of State Employees (Chapter 431, Statutes of 1927) recommendations, Californians amended Article IV of the State Constitution by adding Section 22a to require that the State provide pensions to state workers. Not long after, the State Legislature passed and Governor James Rolph, Jr. signed the bill creating the State Employee Retirement System (SERS) (Chapter 700, Statutes of 1931). SERS initially provided retirement payments to state workers and would incrementally increase to cover all California public employees. In 1939, the Legislature expanded SERS to include public teachers (Chapter 954, Statutes of 1939). The next major change to SERS came in 1962 with the Myers-Geddes State Employees' Medical and Hospital Care Act (Chapter 1236, Statutes of 1961), allowing SERS to provide health insurance to state workers. The Legislature expanded these provisions to include all public employees in 1967 (Chapter 1455, Statutes of 1967). The Long Term Care Act (Chapter 9, Statutes of 1991) further expanded the health care by granting the agency authorization to offer long-term care to all PERS members, both state and local.
    SERS remained focused on providing benefits to state workers while incrementally offering benefits to non-state workers. The emphasis changed to all public employees in 1967 when the State Legislature changed the agency's name to Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) in recognition of its expanded coverage (Chapters 84 and 1631, Statutes of 1967). Subsequently, all of the public employee retirement systems became managed by the recently renamed agency. PERS would eventually change to California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) in 1992 to differentiate it from other state retirement programs.
    The Board of Administration (the Board) governed PERS and managed investments. Various committees, such as the Investment Committee and the Health Insurance Committee, focused on assigned areas and reported to the Board. These committees reflected the system's expanding focus.
    The Board managed the retirement fund and invested in bonds starting in 1932, with real estate investment added in 1953. Furthermore, starting in 1967, the Legislature granted the Board the ability to invest up to 25 percent of the fund portfolio in the stock market (Chapters 39, 110, 1285, 1293, 1394, 1407, 1510, 1665, and 1631, Statutes of 1967). Proposition 21 in 1984 removed the 25 percent portfolio limit.

    Scope and Content

    The record group consists of 15.5 cubic feet of textual records from the California Public Employee Retirement System covering the years 1899 to 1991 with the bulk of the records covering the 1950s to the 1990s. Memorandums, correspondence, and reports form the bulk of the material and demonstrate the PERS administration forming policy and making investment decisions.
    This collection will interest researchers concerned with the policies of PERS and its administration, especially from the 1950s to the 1980s. Most of the collection originated from the Board of Administration and its related committees while focusing on administrative and investment issues. The Board focused on maintaining financial solvency and fiduciary responsibility through managing investments and choosing dedicated financial managers. The Board also dealt with specific cases concerning public employees seeking redress. The collection offers researchers insight into how the board operated by providing details on the various committee meetings as well as illuminating the evolution of California retirement policy starting from the 1930s to the mid 1980s. Investment policy appears throughout the collection as the various series often relate to investment options from the early 1930s to the early 1990s. This collection also reflects retirement and investment policy that made CalPERS successful.
    It is anticipated that the Archives will receive further records from the California Public Employee Retirement System. Researchers should check the accession binders in the Archives Reference Room for recently received, unprocessed records.

    Accruals

    Further accruals are expected.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California. Public Employees' Retirement System
    California. Public Employees' Retirement System. Board of Administration
    California. State Employees' Retirement System