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While UC workers ponder their new financial reality, Gerald Parsky is enjoying the highest stature of his career. Despite his track record, his position as chairman of Governor Schwarzenegger's special commission has raised no red flags as he sets out to tackle the profound financial problems facing the state's largest pension plans.
Steve Mehlman, a spokesman for the California State Employees Association, said his members were relieved that the governor didn't stack the commission with people who would try to convert the pension funds to a 401(k) system. "We believe the panel seems to be made up of reasonable people, and we're waiting, seeing what the panel is going to come up with," he said. Yet when asked about Parsky's history with the UC fund, Mehlman replied, "We were not aware of this."
While no one can accuse Parsky of purposely sinking any public pension fund, he has shown a clear predilection for hiring external managers even when they don't merit the contracts. What's more, the circumstances regarding Wilshire's hiring suggest that Parsky may be willing to put his political interests ahead of the public good. There's no denying he spearheaded a financial disaster that has led to billions in lost profits, tens of millions in unnecessary fees, and tens of thousands of employees who are now facing life- changing cuts in compensation. Now hundreds of thousands of state employees will have to wait and see how Parsky's leadership might affect their futures. They'll know by year's end.
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