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Some readers asked whether Margaret Brown was making progress against the concerted campaign by CalPERS Board President Priya Mathur , aided and abetted by CalPERS staff under the supervision of CEO Marcie Frost, to undermine Brown’s performance of her duties of office. Since Brown is a fiduciary, this also means the Board President and CEO are putting their personal prerogatives ahead of performance of fiduciary duties.
And this behavior is persisting despite Brown objecting to it on March 19, as you can see at the end of this post, and Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Hiltzik depicting it as childish and a too-convenient distraction from what the board should be concerned about in a story yesterday.
Brown was still locked out of her office yesterday, even though it was board meeting week. Under the terms of her procedurally improper punishment she was still supposed to have access to her office then.
Moreover, Brown is not being given anything remotely resembling a reasonable opportunity to review transcripts of past “closed sessions,” meaning the portion of board meetings that are held in private.
As we wrote earlier this week:
Brown requested access to a full year of closed session transcripts, since she realized after her first set of closed session board meetings in February that there was a great deal of history behind many of the issues under discussion. She needed to have the backstory to be adequately informed and make good decisions.
Brown has been given the runaround for months by the staff and the board. Board President Priya Mathur insisted she’d understand the transcripts better if she was briefed first by Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos about CalPERS’ vaunted research into private equity business models. Not only did she never get that talk, when she finally meet with CEO Frost and John Cole of the Investment Office, they admitted there was no information or documents to review.
Brown has also been subjected to limits on access to records….Brown has been allowed to read only very limited printouts of closed session transcripts, and then only in the office of the head of Board Services unit head Karen Perkins, as if Perkins were a prison guard ward.
Perkins has offered Brown very few time slots, and ruled out an entire week, even though Brown is regularly in Sacramento. As a result, Brown has only had one reading session in which staff cherry picked what she saw. That amounted to only about 50 pages of transcripts, with some pages partially redacted. Moreover, Karen Perkins failed to provide slides and reports that were an integral part of the discussion that Brown reads, despite repeated requests by Brown.
Despite Brown’s attorney James Moody sending Mathur a stern letter telling her to provide immediate access to all the closed session transcripts she asked for, either by burning them onto a disk or e-mailing them, CalPERS is still harassing Brown:
From: “Perkins, Karen”
Date: April 16, 2018 at 12:22:32 PM PDT
To: “Brown, Margaret”
Cc: “Mathur, Priya”
Subject: Re: 2017 Investment Committee and Board of Admin closed session transcripts
Hi, Margaret – I understand the transcripts you requested have been downloaded to the desktop of the computer in your Chambers office. They are in a folder named “Board” and are organized by committee.
Per Priya’s direction, I have requested for you to have badge access to Chambers on Thursday, April 19.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else. Thank you, -KP
So this is another flavor of prison guard behavior. Brown still can only read the documents on CalPERS premises at times of Karen Perkins’ choosing, when the staff is supposed to work for the board, and not vice versa.
Moreover, since Brown’s badge is not working, the promised Thursday time could prove to be another exercise in jerking Brown around, by having her show up and either not be able to get into her office, or be put through hoops to do so. That is the epitome of the sort of petty abusive behavior that Hiltzik called out as evidence of what a laughingstock the CalPERS board had become.
Needless to say, Brown should not be subjected to any time and space constraints on when she reviews the transcripts. Not only are they likely to amount to more than what she can read in a day, she is likely to need to trace the history of certain issues across meetings, using keyword searches, so as to put the sequence of discussion properly.
And to add insult to injury, even on the mere 50 pages or so that Brown has read to date, she’s asked for documents that were presented in the same closed session and referenced in the transcript, such as slideshows and reports. In yet another show of intransigence, Perkins has refused to provide them even though Brown has made multiple requests.
If CalPERS wants to tell the world it is corrupt to the core, this is precisely the way to do it.pm lockout 31918