PERA’s Board of Trustees oversees the administration of all benefits and programs at PERA. These individuals do everything from setting PERA’s investment asset allocation to monitoring the PERACare program.
Julie Friedemann is a Trustee and a PERA retiree. She taught upper-level math for Jefferson County Public High Schools. “I was very active during the 37 years I taught,” she said. “I was involved in the teacher’s union, I was on the CEA board of directors—I advocated for just about everything related to teachers.” In retirement, that dedication to educators has continued as a PERA Trustee, a role she’s held since 2017. “I’m a retired person representing retired school employees, and I take that very seriously.”
Friedemann is one of multiple member-elected Trustees on PERA’s Board. The composition of boards is unique for each defined benefit plan across the country. Colorado PERA members and retirees directly elect 12 of the 16 Trustees. The governor also appoints three (with approval by the Senate), and the State Treasurer serves as an ex officio member.
In 2020, PERA will hold an election for four board seats. Any active member of the School Division, State Division, or Local Government Division is eligible to run. Any active or retired member of the Denver Public Schools Division also may run.
Candidates can pick up necessary paperwork between January 2 and February 28. Candidates must submit paperwork by March 2. Find a full list of details and requirements here.
In early May, every PERA member whose division has an open seat will receive a ballot in the mail. If only a single candidate runs in a division, no election is held, and no ballots will be mailed.
PERA will announce the four new Trustees in June.
The Board met seven times in 2019, though that number can vary. Meeting agendas and minutes are available on PERA’s website.
Becoming a PERA Trustee
Friedemann said the application process is not difficult. Those interested in running must gather 100 signatures from members of their division. “If I was giving advice to anyone who was thinking of running, it would be to make sure you talk about why it’s something you wish to do,” she said. “Make contacts with your respective networks so that people know you’re running. Talk about what you might be able to bring to the board.”
Trustees play a vital role in the administration of PERA. As fiduciaries, they are obligated to work in the best interest of PERA’s more than 600,000 members. Trustees do not receive any additional benefits as PERA members for serving.
Keeping members central is built into the DNA of PERA’s Board as the majority are PERA members themselves, voted into office by fellow PERA members.