When a San Diego pension officer realized that the County’s pension fund was operating outside of responsible fiduciary risk guidelines, he spoke out. He was then placed on leave and later dismissed. He’s calling it retaliation; his former employer says it was an administrative dismissal for violating policies regarding the dissemination of information.
The termination is now being contested, and the former employee says that the state’s Whistleblower laws should have shielded him from being fired. The question is, however, how far the laws extend. With information being given both to the government (which is covered by the law) and the media (which is not covered), he could have left himself open to the termination.
The two funds he monitored were both over exposed, in his opinion. He reported his concerns about the high-yield bonds and treasuries to his superiors, internal affairs department, and members of the pension board, as well as the San Diego Union Tribune.
From the San Diego Union Tribune:
A county pension officer fired after going to the newspaper with his concerns over risk in the $8 billion public fund is contesting his termination, saying he had a fiduciary duty to speak out.
Jeffrey Baker was placed on leave after alerting authorities at his agency — and then informing The Watchdog through his attorney — about his calculation that two sectors of the fund that he monitored exceeded allowable risk. He claims he was fired for blowing the whistle.
Read the full article here.