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Get ready to vote! Six candidates vie for staff positions on retirement system advisory board

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Updated May 22 and 23, 2023: The announcement has been revised to note the sender of the election invitation as “UC Retirement System” and the subject line as “Vote for two new staff representatives – UC Retirement System.”

Six UC employees are running for two open staff seats on the UC Retirement System (UCRS) Advisory Board. The Board meets three times each year to discuss issues pertaining to UC’s retirement plans and shares ideas with UC Office of the President leaders.

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Active, eligible UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) members and Savings Choice participants in the Defined Contribution Plans who are not members of the Academic Senate will be invited to vote for two new representatives from May 22 through June 16. See below for more detail on voting eligibility and procedures.

Following is a list of the candidates, with each candidate’s statement (leer las declaraciones de candidatos en español):

Jake Banfield-Weir, UC San Diego Health

As Assistant Director of UC San Diego’s Stem Cell Program with 6.5 years of service, I, Jake Banfield-Weir, am dedicated to the sustainability and enhancement of the UC Retirement System (UCRS). My background in finance, accounting, and service on various boards, including the City of San Diego Forest Advisory Board, San Diego Eye Gnat Abatement Appeals Board, and Treasurer of the San Diego Botanical Garden Foundation, uniquely qualifies me to the Board.

My priorities include promoting transparency, long-term financial stability, and providing educational resources to help members make informed decisions. My commitment to pension plan preservation and exploration of flexible options aims to secure the future for both current and prospective retirees, while attracting top talent to the UC system.

Angela Clark, UC Office of the President

I welcome the opportunity to serve and contribute to the UCRS Advisory Board as a member with my background in the Retirement Industry. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Retirement Administration Service Center as a Benefits Analyst and have a solid understanding of our retirement offerings. I am passionate about retirement related matters, and have experience with our current system, UCRS Pension Plan, defined contribution plans, in addition have extensive knowledge to 401(a), 403(b), 415(m) and 457(b) knowledge, compliance experience, and financial fiduciary responsibility knowledge. My dedication to the value of these treasured UC retirement benefits will be upheld to my dedication and commitment of keeping this program an attractive component to the members we serve.

Anh Pham, UC Irvine

My three priorities are the protection of UCRS benefits for current and future retirees, maintaining UCRS sustainably for a secure and predictable retirement, and increasing retirement information and education for employees at every career stage.

As a UC alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in public policy, a master’s degree, and pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education administration, I am passionate about serving our communities and fostering social equity. I have worked at both UCR and UCI for almost 10 years. My current role as an equal opportunity and Title IX investigator for UCI/UCI Health has given me experience in addressing challenges faced by our dedicated staff. While you work to improve our community, I am here to advocate for you!

Gretchen Verdugo, UC Irvine

I am honored to submit my candidacy for UCRS Advisory Board member. My background and training as a certified public accountant, MBA and public-company Chief Financial Officer are well-suited to the role. I am an active UC Irvine Staff Assembly member serving on the Scholarship Committee (past co-chair) and UCI Alumni. My current role is Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Analysis for Student Housing, Graduate and Family where I am relied upon to provide strategic support and analysis for key initiatives and programs. I served as retirement plan administrator for past employers and completed retirement plan audits for clients of KPMG. I welcome the opportunity to leverage my financial and policy-setting expertise to represent Staff as an Advisory Board member.

David Yamada, UCLA Health

I serve as the Chief Nurse Representative for the California Nurses Association at UCLA, and it would be an honor to serve on the UCRP Advisory Committee and represent the nearly 18,000 UC nurses. I am qualified for this because I used to be an accountant doing corporate audit at a public accounting firm prior to my nursing career. The pension is one of the main reasons I have remained at UCLA for 14 years. I intend to work for UC until retirement as long as the pension remains healthy and the UC system remains a safe environment to practice nursing. It would be an honor to help protest the pension on behalf of UC nurses through service on this committee.

Ruth Zolayvar, UC San Diego Health

I have worked as an in-patient pharmacy technician at UC-San Diego Medical Center for almost 17 years and have served on the UCRS Advisory Board since 2019. Over these last four years, I have attended every advisory board meeting ready to ask questions and make sure UC listens to our concerns. I am seeking re-election to continue fighting to make sure that UC prioritizes protecting the health of our pension and so that UC workers of all backgrounds, ethnicities, job titles and income levels will be able to retire with security and dignity.

How to cast a ballot

All active UCRP members and Savings Choice participants who are not part of the Academic Senate may vote for two candidates to sit on the Board for a four-year term beginning July 1, 2023.

The voting process will be administered by YesElections, a third-party vendor. Employees eligible to vote will receive an email at their UC email address with a personal identification number (PIN) and a direct link to the YesElections voting site. Emails will be sent on May 22, June 5, and June 14. To help you identify the email:

  • The email will come from help@yeselections.com but will show “UC Retirement System” as the sender
  • The subject line will read “Vote for two new staff representatives – UC Retirement System

Eligible voters who do not have a UC email address will be mailed a ballot and candidate statements. These voters can then choose to vote electronically from a home computer (or computer at UC libraries, Benefits Offices, etc.) or mail the paper ballot directly to YesElections.

To request a copy of a paper ballot please call 855-648-6050 or email Help+UCRS@yeselections.com

Final election results will be posted on the UCRS Advisory Board election website by the end of June.

About the UCRS Advisory Board

The 11-member UCRS Advisory Board is comprised of a cross-section of the university community. In addition to the two seats held by elected staff representatives, the board includes members of the President’s executive cabinet; faculty appointed by the UC Academic Senate; and representatives of the Council of UC Emeriti Associations and Council of UC Retiree Associations.

The Advisory Board discusses issues relating to all members, retirees and their beneficiaries for the following plans:

  • University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP)
  • Tax-Deferred 403(b) Plan
  • 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan
  • Defined Contribution Plan

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