State employees have valuable benefits offered through the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS), and the ERS Board of Trustees works to ensure those benefits remain valuable and competitive.
One way to make sure you are represented in benefits discussions is to vote in the next ERS Board of Trustees election. This year, you have an opportunity to vote for a state agency employee to fill the seat currently held by Ilesa Daniels, who works for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Her term expires August 31, 2021.
Who can run for the Board?
Active State of Texas agency employees who are contributing to the ERS Retirement Trust Fund can run to serve on the ERS Board of Trustees. In this year’s election, employees of the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Department of Public Safety are ineligible to run because employees from those agencies currently serve as trustees. But, employees in those two agencies can nominate a candidate, sign a nomination petition and, of course, vote in the election.
- To get on the ballot, the candidate must gather a minimum of 300 unique signatures from eligible voters. Candidates are encouraged to gather between 400 and 500 signatures to allow for invalid entries.
- If a person signs a petition for more than one candidate, neither signature will be counted.
In addition to the paper petition forms traditionally used in past Board elections, this year you will have the option to electronically nominate a candidate on a dedicated ERS nominations website. This “hybrid” nominations process will provide an additional avenue for candidates to collect signatures and avoid the risk of going “door to door” in person to gain support. The process to cast an electronic signature for a nominee is very similar to online voting.
Who can vote in the Board election?
Individuals can vote in the ERS Board of Trustees election if they:
- have an ERS account balance as of January 31, 2021 or
- are retired state employees who get annuities from ERS.
Why should I vote?
Your participation in the ERS Board election is important. The Board of Trustees makes key decisions regarding member benefits such as:
- designing plans for your health care and pharmacy benefits,
- selecting third-party administrators of health insurance and other benefit programs, and
- authorizing new programs such as vision insurance.
The Board also manages the Texa$averSM 401(k) / 457 Program and oversees the ERS Retirement Trust Fund, which invests state, agency and member pension contributions.
Trustee appointment and terms
The ERS Board of Trustees has six members. Three Board trustees are appointed: one each by the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. ERS members and retirees elect the other three.
Both appointed and elected trustees serve staggered six-year terms. The term of one appointee expires on August 31 of each even-numbered year. The term of one elected trustee expires on August 31 of each odd-numbered year.
News About Your Benefits will have more information in the coming weeks about the nomination process.
In the meantime, you may want to take a few moments to learn more about the Board, the current trustees and their recent activities. There’s a wealth of information—including trustee bios, presentations and video from past meetings—in the Board of Trustees section of the ERS website.