Skip to comments.CA: Speaker renames appointee to activist CalPERS board
Posted on 12/13/2004 4:42:48 PM PST by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO - Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez renamed veteran Southern California union leader Mike Quevedo Jr., to the California Public Employees Retirement System board Monday, signaling the Legislature's approval for CalPERS' growing activism on corporate governance issues.
Nunez called Quevedo, a board member since February 1998, "without question, the best choice," and said the union official would "continue to protect the shareholders by pursuing more corporate accountability and more corporate responsibility."
The move ends speculation that Nunez, D-Los Angeles, and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, would replace Quevedo with Sean Harrigan, a veteran labor who led the board for almost two years before the obscure state agency he represented, the state Board of Personnel, ousted him Dec. 1.
Harrigan's removal fueled speculation that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. corporate interests were behind the move and wanted a less activist pension fund, despite using its $178 billion portfolio to gain national leadership on corporate governance issues. Monday's reappointment of Quevedo underscored the continuing struggle over the future direction of the nation's largest public pension fund on such issues.
Although he met with Harrigan shortly after his ouster, Nunez declined comment on the process of reappointing Quevedo. But he said Quevedo "understands that politics should never get in the way of the core mission of CalPERS," and recalled their long association, including their ties to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, where Nunez was political director.
Quevedo, originally appointed by former Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante, is business manager for the Southern California District Council of Laborers, and vice president of the Laborers' International Union of North America. He is also co-chairman of the Laborers' Pension Trust.
Neither Nunez nor Quevedo would say whom they would back in next year's vote for CalPERS board president - Vice President Rob Feckner or former San Francisco mayor and longtime Assembly speaker Willie Brown.
Quevedo's appointment Monday settles two of the 13 board seats at CalPERS, which is responsible for retirement savings of 1.4 million retirees and public employees. Schwarzenegger has the next opportunity to shape the board when the term of Sidney Abrams, appointed by Gov. Gray Davis in 2001, expires next month.
Schwarzenegger won his first Republican ally in Harrigan's replacement, Ron Alvarado, who worked in the real estate industry and sat on the CalPERS board during Republican Gov. Pete Wilson's tenure in the 1990s.
The pension fund's board consists of six members elected by state retirees and employees, two appointed by the Legislature, one by the governor and also the state treasurer, state controller and director of the Department of Personnel Administration. A 13th is designated by the state personnel board.
Harrigan, international vice president and executive director of the Food and Commercial Workers International Union Region 8 States Council, attracted widespread criticism for CalPERS activism this year, including trying to force resignations of Safeway Chief Executive Officer Steven Burd and Disney Chief Executive Officer Michael Eisner. A year ago, Harrigan led CalPERS' suit against the New York Stock Exchange, alleging that fraudulent trading practices by the exchange and seven specialist trading firms had cost it millions of dollars in recent years.
Republicans and some of their allies in corporate America have complained the CalPERS board is overly influenced by Democrats and union officials who put social and labor agendas ahead of profits. But CalPERS' portfolio has grown this year from $166 billion to an estimated $178 billion.
ON THE NET
California Public Employees Retirement System: http://www.calpers.ca.gov
CALPers cauldron is bubbbling.. :)
willie brown? President of CALPers.. 8-o