Ballots have been sent to CalPERS members in the important runoff election for At-Large Seat B on the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration. The election pits two vastly different candidates against each other: the dedicated and level-headed incumbent bookstore operations coordinator Michael Bilbrey, and the abrasive challenger with a reported dubious past, facilities director Margaret Brown.
CalPERS members have two distinct choices in this runoff election, which is from Nov. 10 to Dec. 11. Bilbrey, a longtime employee at Citrus College in Glendora, has served honorably on the CalPERS Board since 2011. Brown has a record of bouncing around in management positions at a number of school districts, where her poor decision-making and nasty temperament left a trail of problems in at least one where she worked, including a sexual harassment lawsuit, alleged misuse of public funds and resources, and nearly $1 million paid to settle abuse and harassment allegations against her.
Bilbrey has a lengthy history of being a powerful voice and advocate for public employees and retirement security. He has served the students and staff at Citrus College for more than two decades, and he has fought for and with his fellow school employees as a local union leader and later state president of the 238,000-member California School Employees Association. As a CalPERS Board member, he helped increase board transparency and ensure the nation’s largest public pension system is fiscally responsible, especially during these tumultuous times. At every level, Bilbrey has fought to protect CalPERS from attacks by corporations and wealthy extremists, who work constantly to strip away retirement security for public employees.
Brown’s tenure at a number of school districts has been tumultuous at best, and her record of job-hopping from district to district is a familiar tale for public employees who regularly see middle managers with poor behavior and bad attitudes wear out their welcomes and move on to other districts where nobody is familiar with their antics. This time, Brown is trying to win election to the board that oversees $300 billion in public retirement funds—and she’s apparently hoping nobody notices the trail of alleged sexual harassment, misappropriation of funds, excessive absenteeism and misuse of public resources left in her wake.
Brown is hoping that CalPERS voters will make the same mistake that San Ramon Valley Unified School District made when Brown was hired as a manager in the district’s facilities department. The school district had to pay nearly $1 million in settlements to former employees due to allegations of sexual harassment and an alleged pattern of offensive comments made by Brown. The stories told by the employees she managed are horrendous—they describe Brown as “nothing less than a foul-mouthed, demeaning, threatening and bombastic supervisor” who would “literally scream at people across the office.” This alone would be damning enough, but the allegations of Brown’s boorish behavior, lack of accountability for public funds and outright abuse of her coworkers question why any public employee would want her watching over the retirement security of 1.8 million active and retired CalPERS members.
Bilbrey, on the other hand, is a respected member of the CalPERS Board, whose thoughtful and collaborative approach helps build consensus on important items. Since first winning election to the Board in 2011, Bilbrey has served in a variety of leadership capacities, including currently chairing the board’s Performance, Compensation and Talent Management Committee. Bilbrey brings an everyday working person’s perspective to the board—one which the board might otherwise sorely lack. Bilbrey also has a lengthy record of working to protect funding for public services and fighting for the rights of public employees through his service with California School Employees Association.
The choice in this run-off election is stark: One candidate has an established record of leadership and fiscal responsibility, while the other is an alleged sexual harasser whose poor decisions and nasty behavior have hurt public employees and cost school districts massive legal settlements. CalPERS deserves trusted, effective leaders we believe in, not abuse allegations and poor decisions from Margaret Brown.
Michael Bilbrey is a tireless steward of our retirement funds and a dedicated leader for the workers that have chosen public service in our public agencies and schools. Re-elect Bilbrey to the CalPERS Board and let’s continue defending CalPERS and other values we hold dear.
Position B: Michael Bilbrey
Nov. 10 – Dec. 11
All CalPERS members, active and retired
A ballot package will be mailed to you
Vote online, by telephone or by mail
We need a leader we can trust
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Vote Michael Bilbrey
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CalPERS Election page