Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Opinion on Divestment Action

Despite efforts from activists, divestment action is facing hurdles as more and more people realize the penalties of divesting funds from reliable and firm investments. In fact, people – from university board members to civil servants – are recognizing the critical position any divestment action would put on the future of their portfolio and are starting to take action against this social movement.

To shed some light on a civil servant’s view, Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey recently joined our coalition to voice his opinion on why he thinks divestment is a dangerous strategy for pensions.

Below is his testimony:

At a time when most public safety agencies cannot hire enough qualified candidates for critical positions it would be an unmitigated disaster to agree to any divestment strategy.  This is pure lunacy, especially considering the justification would be for political and ideological purposes.  Divestment will serve to jeopardize the solvency of retirement funds that currently exist.   This proposal will invariably harm retired employees and their families, potentially diminish the vibrancy of economies in their local areas, and irreparably harm public safety, since recruitment and retention of qualified candidates for peace officer positions could be significantly impacted.  Additionally, retirement systems should judge investments based on sound rationale, research, and results, not politics or unsubstantiated science or special interest group agendas. Moreover, the United States’ economy is in very poor condition and has seen record low GDP growth in recent years and divesting from fossil fuels could be catastrophic to retirement accounts and the economies of countless jurisdictions. 

During my 38+ years of public service, I have found the vast majority of public sector employees to be dedicated, hard-working, loyal workers deserving of their hard-earned retirement benefits. Divestment could destroy public retirement systems, the people who rely on them, and create economic chaos that a weak economy cannot endure. 

 

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