The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved Mayor Ed Lee’s reappointment of Wendy Paskin-Jordan to the city’s Retirement Board Wednesday despite scrutiny expressed by community members and retirees suggesting a conflict of interest.
Lee reappointed Paskin-Jordan, a financial adviser and the wife of former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan, to the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System without seeking the board of supervisors’ approval.
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said today that there needs to be respect for the reappointment process and that the board needs to be notified of the Mayor’s proposed appointments.
Paskin-Jordan attended a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors today to discuss her controversial investment in Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo and Co., an international investment firm known as GMO, which is doing business with the city’s retirement system and which she has also personally invested in.
According to the environmental non-profit organization 350.org, the Board of Supervisors’ unanimously called on the Retirement Board of the Retirement Board in April 2013 to divest the pension fund from fossil fuels, but they have not yet done so.
According to 350.org, Paskin-Jordan was serving as President of the Retirement Board when the Board of Supervisors passed the divestment resolution and the organization claims on its website that she has been “dismissive of the issue and of the pensioners who have presented concerns.”
Supervisors today asked Paskin-Jordan if she would be willing to take a leadership role in research into divestment of fossil fuels and she said she would.
Paskin-Jordan also argued that she did not violate any rules because her personal investment in GMO was in a public mutual fund, not a private one.
Many of those who spoke during a previous public comment period at the board meeting were retirees who said they found Paskin-Jordan’s past actions unethical and misaligned with the values of San Franciscans.
Many former city workers expressed concern because there are allegations of a conflict of interest against Paskin-Jordan under review by the San Francisco Ethics Commission.
The Board of Supervisors ultimately voted unanimously today in favor of Paskin-Jordan’s reappointment to another four-year term on the Retirement Board.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News