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Governor pulls two teachers pension fund appointees

February 22, 2011 |  3:33 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown has pulled back two controversial, last-minute appointments made by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a state teachers pension board.

On Dec. 31, Republican Schwarzenegger named Steven Kram, 54, of Los Angeles and Cameron Percy, 26, to the California State Teachers' Retirement System, a $150-billion pension system.

Kram is president and chief executive of Content Partners, a Los Angeles firm that buys films in the secondary market from other investors. Content Partners' co-chairman, Paul Wachter, is Schwarzenegger's financial advisor.

Percy, a recent graduate student at Stanford University's Department of Economics and Public Policy Program, helped write a controversial study commissioned by Schwarzenegger's office. The research estimated that the state's three biggest public pension funds were $400 million short of the amounts needed to meet future obligations to retirees.

Schwarzenegger during his last year in office made reducing government worker pension costs a major priority in his efforts to balance California's state budget.

Gov. Brown's office declined to say why he pulled Kram and Percy. "These appointees served at the pleasure of the governor, and their services were no longer required," spokesman Evan Westrup said.

The California Federation of Teachers welcomed the removal of Kram and Percy from the CalSTRS board. "We feel these appointments were inappropriate because of their ideological agenda," spokesman Fred Glass said.

Marcia Fritz, the director of the Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, an educational group that researches public pension costs, said she wasn't surprised that Brown yanked two conservative voices from the CalSTRS board.

"CalSTRS has routinely been labor friendly," Fritz said, "so I would expect Brown to appoint labor-friendly people in their place."

-- Marc Lifsher