Protection of Individual Records Policy
The purpose of this policy is to clarify what records continue to be protected from disclosure as “individual records” by Government Code Section 31532.
If requested under the California Public Records Act (“PRA”) (Government Code section 6250, et seq.), SCERS will provide:
A. Retirement Benefit Amount
The amount of the monthly benefit (total gross allowance) and/or, if requested, the components thereof (e.g., base allowance amount, cost of living adjustments, other monthly benefit amount, health benefit amount, etc.) paid by SCERS.
B. Calculation of Retirement Benefit Amount
The Board interprets Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System v. SuperiorCourt, 195 Cal.App.4th 440 (2011) to hold that the following information is publicly disclosable if maintained by SCERS:
1. Years of service (in the aggregate, but not a breakdown of individual regular and special service credits, such as service purchases);
2. Last position held (generally not maintained by SCERS);
3. Employer or Department from which retired (Intra-employer department information may not be maintained by SCERS);
4. Date of retirement;
5. Final compensation;
6. Applicable retirement formula and tier;
7. Age factor, and
8. Any other information determined by the General Counsel to be necessary to calculate a particular retirement benefit, such as applicable federal or state limitations on benefits or compensation, unless specifically protected from disclosure under this Policy.
Protected Individual Records
All otherwise nonpublic information provided to SCERS by a member, or by a third party on behalf of a member (including the employer), will continue to be protected from disclosure under Government Code Section 31532 as “individual records,” including, but not limited to, the following examples:
1. Medical reports and information regarding medical or psychological status orcondition;
2. Personal data such as contact and address information, names of spouses, relatives and dependents, and Social Security numbers;
3. Date of birth;
4. Age, including age at retirement;
5. Member contributions;
6. Individual accounts;
7. Breakdown of regular and special service credits, such as service purchases;
8. The names of beneficiaries and eligible survivors;
9. Payment option selections; and,
10. Nonpublic correspondence with the Board or staff
SCERS is only required to provide records which it prepared, owned, used or retained and does not have a duty to create a record when one does not exist (Government Code Section 6252(e); Haynie v. Superior Court (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1061; 71 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 235 (1998)).
SCERS is entitled to charge a fee for the direct costs of duplicating any record. The Board has determined that the direct cost of duplicating any paper copy of any record is $0.25 per page (Government Code Section 6253(b)).
If a request is made for SCERS to construct a new record in electronic form, and the request would require data compilation, extraction, or programming, SCERS may charge for the actual cost of constructing the new electronic record; including any costs of programming and computer services necessary to produce a copy of the record (Government Code Section 6253.9(b)).
As with any PRA Request, including any questions as to whether a public inquiry should be considered to be a PRA Request, any request that may involve “individual records” should be immediately referred to the General Counsel, who will determine how to respond in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer. The General Counsel shall be responsible to maintain a log of all PRA Requests and Responses thereto.
The PRA requires that public records be disclosed unless the records are exempt from disclosure (Government Code section 6253(b)). The PRA specifically exempts from disclosure any records that are protected by state or federal law (Government Code section 6254(k)). The County Employees’ Retirement Law (“CERL”) requires that “individual records” of members not be disclosed (Government Code section 31532).
The phrase “individual records” has been defined by the California 3rd District Court of Appeal (“3rd DCA”) to mean any “information provided by a member, or on the member’s behalf.” Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System v. Superior Court (2011) 195 Cal. App. 4th 440, 463. This has been interpreted for all practical purposes by the California 1st District Court of Appeal (“1st DCA”) to mean the same as “all otherwise nonpublic information submitted to a CERL retirement system by or about individual members.” Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association v. Superior Court (2011) 198 Cal. App. 4th 986, 1004.
Under either definition, both appellate district courts have agreed that “individual records” do not include the name and amount of retirement benefits received by a member or beneficiary. However, the 3rd DCA has also concluded that “how that amount was calculated (years of service, position held, date of retirement, and so forth)” does not ‘fall within a member’s individual records’…”195 Cal.App.4th at 465.
Executive Owner: General Counsel
|09-15-2021||Board reaffirmed policy with amendments|
|08-01-2018||Renumbered from 010|
|01-17-2018||Board affirmed policy in revised policy format|
|12-15-2011||Board approved new policy|
SCERS Policy No. 017