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CalPERS board member stripped of leadership roles because of FPPC violations

Posted 8 years 56 days ago ago by   

CalPERS board member Priya Mathur was removed from board leadership positions today because of her latest campaign-finance disclosure infractions.

Mathur was removed as board vice president and chair of the Pension and Health Benefits Committee. The decision was announced by board President Rob Feckner. No replacement as board vice president was immediately named. George Diehr was named acting chair of the pension committee.

Mathur sat silently in her board seat as Feckner announced the punishment. She wasn't immediately available for comment.

The decision also means Mathur is no longer vice chair of two CalPERS committees: Board Governance and Performance, Compensation & Talent Management.

Mathur is facing a $4,000 fine from the state Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to file four campaign finance statements in connection with her recent successful bid for re-election. Although she had no campaign funds to report, "we still believe that rules are rules," Feckner said.

Mathur, a Bay Area Rapid Transit official, was recently re-elected to a four-year term. Feckner congratulated her on her re-election before announcing the punishment.

In 2010, Mathur was removed from a committee chairmanship and suspended from traveling on CalPERS business after an earlier run-in with the FPPC. She has been fined a total of $13,000 by the FPPC over the years, not counting the latest penalty, for late filing of campaign documents and conflict-of-interest statements. The FPPC is set to vote on the latest fine Thursday.

Separately, Feckner also reprimanded board member J.J. Jelincic over statements he made to the media about Ted Eliopoulos, the newly-appointed CalPERS chief investment officer. Jelincic told Pensions & Investments, a trade publication, that Eliopoulos "doesn't have the temperment or the management skills" to be chief investment officer.”

A CalPERS investment employee, Jelincic recused himself and didn't vote on Eliopoulos' appointment. The other 11 board members voted unanimously to promote Eliopoulos, who had been interim chief investment officer for about a year.

Feckner said Jelincic's comments were inappropriate. Jelincic, asked about the reprimand by a reporter, said, "I'm not sure what the hell it meant other than they didn't want me talking to the press." As for the statements he made about Eliopoulos, he added: "It was a comment on a public action."