Home Pension Issues Mayoral appointments await council approval

Mayoral appointments await council approval

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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday nominated a University of Southern California law professor to serve on the city Ethics Commission and a controversial former CalPERS official to serve on the city’s Police and Fire Pension Board.

Robert Saltzman, an associate dean who has taught ethics and professional standards at the School of Law, will replace attorney Dale Bonner on the Ethics Commission. Sean Harrigan would fill a vacancy on the Pension Board created by the recent retirement of Sim Farar.

“I am grateful that both of these outstanding individuals have agreed to serve our city,” Villaraigosa said. “Their experience and judgment will serve our city well.”

The mayor is allowed to make one appointment to the Ethics Commission, whose members are limited to five-year terms. The appointment is subject to City Council approval.

Harrigan serves as an international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and was a member of the California Public Employees Retirement System and the state Personnel Board from 1999 until last year, when he was removed by fellow board members. They clashed over his philosophy of using the pension fund the nation’s largest to force change in corporations and using its stock holdings to vote for and against directors.

The city Pension Board oversees assets of $12.8 billion representing some 24,000 active and retired police officers and firefighters.

Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Economic Development Corp., said most business leaders will take a wait-and-see approach on what Harrigan does if his appointment is approved by the council.

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