In a backroom maneuver California’s Republican governor has sent a signal that he will side with corporate and Wall Street insiders who are fighting efforts to reform corporate governance. California’s large pension plans are managed by boards of trustees that include employee and employer representatives. Sean Harrigan an official of the United Food and Commerical Workers union, sat on the CalPERS board as a representative of California’s State Personnel Board. Two republicans and one democrat (someone known to be close to former SF mayor Willie Brown who lost to Harrigan in a race two years ago for the presidency of CalPERS) voted Harrigan off of CalPERS and hence he could no longer serve as CalPERS president.
While Harrigan was its president CalPERS became a highly visible and leading player in a variety of efforts to improve corporate governance. CalPERS is now known around the world as an advocate of greater social responsibility by corporations. The Governor appears committed to silencing this important voice.
Below is a link to an op-ed by Sean Harrigan explaining his side of the story. Beyond the Harrigan ouster is a larger battle – an attempt by some Republicans to shift the risk of providing for retirement on to the backs of individual workers. That story is described in the second link below.