It's time to reform PERA and its board - Albuquerque Journal

It’s time to reform PERA and its board

Over the past year and a half, the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) Board has been grappling with PERA fund solvency and vetting proposals to fill a $6 billion dollar gap in the state’s retiree pension system. In the face of serious questions about PERA’s ability to meet future financial obligations, some board members are unwilling or unable to address these pressing issues.

For those of us who depend on this Board to make sound financial decisions affecting the future of more than 100,000 current and future PERA retirees, there is cause for great concern due to the lack of respect among board members and their apparent inability to work together to meet their mandate to preserve, protect and administer the trust to meet current and future obligations, and to provide quality services to members.

Board dysfunction has become the norm, with a minority contingent spending valuable meeting time arguing about accusations of theft of personal property and whether members should be provided snacks, making personal attacks and filing police reports against one another. There are lengthy disagreements about meeting agendas and a member stormed out to prevent a quorum required for board action.

This dysfunction was also the subject of a May 2019 State Auditor’s report, which expressed “extreme concern” regarding “the Board’s failure to uphold its fiduciary responsibilities” and “lack of focus on its fiduciary responsibilities (which) puts our retirees and future generations of retirees at risk.” It is time to reform and restructure the PERA Board.

Proposals for restructuring the PERA Board are being vetted for potential inclusion in the 2020 legislative agenda. Currently, no member of the PERA Board, which oversees a $16 billion fund, is required to have any experience or expertise in financial or investment management. Restructuring proposals would, among other things, reduce the size of the unwieldy board, while continuing to ensure that interests of state, county, municipal and public safety employees and retirees are represented; impose term limits; add requirements for relevant knowledge and experience; and change the board member selection process from popularity-based elections to a representative appointment process.

Gov. Lujan Grisham has not yet committed to including PERA Board reform in her legislative message, which is a prerequisite for bills to be heard during a 30-day session. The PERA Board is in need of major reform and we urge Gov. Lujan Grisham to include this important issue in her State of the State message on January 21, and then to support and sign PERA reform legislation.

Additionally, Think New Mexico, a non-partisan independent research group, has published a report that addresses the crisis of retirement security in New Mexico. This report makes excellent recommendations that would improve retirement security for all New Mexicans, including PERA fund solvency, PERA Board reform, ensuring access to a retirement savings account for all private sector workers and repealing New Mexico’s income tax on Social Security benefits.

The report is available at By supporting these proposals and avoiding costly retirement insolvency, the governor would help all New Mexicans.

The authors are PERA retirees.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » It’s time to reform PERA and its board

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Talk of the Town: 'Platforming' Ronchetti, white racism, mocking ...
From the newspaper
OPINION: What other options do the ... OPINION: What other options do the homeless have to survive other than panhandling?
New Mexico Finance Authority launches program to rehabilitate homes
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico Finance Authority launches ... New Mexico Finance Authority launches program to rehabilitate homes.
Vara bringing a taste of Spain with its Tinto ...
ABQnews Seeker
The 2020 vintage of Tinto Especial ... The 2020 vintage of Tinto Especial focuses on Spanish influences from the Catalonia region.
Singer-songwriter Logan Ledger to open for Vincent Neil Emerson
ABQnews Seeker
Logan Ledger's upcoming album, "Golden State" ... Logan Ledger's upcoming album, "Golden State" is due out on Sept. 8, but he's hitting the road opening for Vincent Neil Emerson.
Documentary looks at the crucial role libraries play in ...
ABQnews Seeker
"Library Stories: Books on the Backroads" ... "Library Stories: Books on the Backroads" will air at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15, on New Mexico PBS.
Lobo Mazza-Downie runs to All-America status at NCAA Championship ...
ABQnews Seeker
University of New Mexico runner Amelia ... University of New Mexico runner Amelia Mazza-Downie finished fourth on Thursday night in the women's 10,000-meter final at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field ...
Do-it-all Montes reaching a new level as Isotope hitter
ABQnews Seeker
Loosely translated, "Coco" means coconut in ... Loosely translated, "Coco" means coconut in Spanish. In 2023 minor league baseball terms, with Isotope Coco Montes it's synonymous with raking.
Socorro businesses, locals brace for Bandidos funeral
From the newspaper
Town's liquor establishments are expected to ... Town's liquor establishments are expected to be closed and law enforcement is on heightened alert ahead of weekend funeral for biker who died in ...
Editorial: CYFD must learn from tragic failures, re-evaluate policies
From the Editorial Board: The governor ... From the Editorial Board: The governor and CYFD need to examine the child welfare agency's policies regarding drug use in the home, tracking abuse, ...