PERA (Public Employer's Retirement Association) provides retirement and other benefits to the employees of more than 400 government agencies and public entities in the state of Colorado. PERA is the 23rd largest public pension plan in the United States.
Established by state law in 1931, PERA operates by authority of the Colorado General Assembly and is administered under Title 24, Article 51 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. In accordance with its duty to administer PERA, the Board of Trustees has the authority to adopt and revise Rules in accordance with state statutes.
PERA is a substitute for Social Security for most of these public employees. Benefits are pre-funded, which means while a member is working, he or she is required to contribute a fixed percentage of their salary to the retirement trust funds. This percentage is 8% for most members. The employer also contributes a percentage of pay to the trust fund. For school district employers, this is approximately 17.45 percent of pay.
The trust funds are then invested by PERA under the direction of a board of trustees. PERA's investment strategy uses actuarially established investment objectives with long-term goals and policies.
PERA's Board of Trustees are fiduciaries and are held to a high standard of prudence in investing the trust funds. PERA is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees. On July 1, 2007, three of the member-elected Trustee seats were replaced with appointees by the Governor, confirmed by the Senate. In addition to the three Governor-appointed Trustees, the Board includes the State Treasurer as an ex-officio member; four members from the School Division; three members from the State Division; one member from the Local Government Division; one Judicial Division member; and two PERA retirees.
Its membership includes employees of the Colorado state government, most teachers in the state, many university and college employees, judges, many employees of cities and towns, state troopers, and the employees of a number of other public entities.