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Economy

CalPERS Puts Pension Information Online

Information about the pensions of almost half a million Californians will soon be available online. CalPERS, the state public employee retirement system, will be posting a searchable database on its website as soon as mid-July.

CalPERS spokeswoman Amy Norris says inquiries from the press and others have increased over the past few years, and this will make the data -- which is legally public information -- more accessible.
 
"You could search by name, you could search by last employer," she said. "You could potentially search by a dollar amount on the pension. You can sort high to low if you wanted to know the lowest pension, if you wanted to know the highest pensions."

This data has always been available to the public, but previously only by request. Joe Nation, a Stanford professor who has been a critic of CalPERS, says this is a positive move toward greater transparency.

"It would normally be a privacy issue, except this is public money," Nation said. "And I think there’s been such controversy and so many mistakes over time, that they had to release this at this point."
 
In a written statement, California State Retirees President Tim Behrens questioned the inclusion of information like cost-of-living adjustments, years of service and retirement dates, saying that could help  thieves figure out a retiree's age and steal his or her identity.
 
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