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Dec 01, 2004 - 07:05 PM

A Burd in the Hand

by Douglas Heller
Corporate reformer Sean Harrigan says that Arnold was the hand behind his ouster from his position as President of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) today. CalPERS, the nation's largest public pension fund, has been the driving force for reforming corporate boardrooms since the Enron/WorldCom/Tyco catastrophes of a few years back. Harrigan ruffled some feathers in Corporate America by challenging do-nothing directors and self-serving executives who had turned their backs on shareholders and employees.

The feathers of one Burd (Steven Burd, CEO of Safeway, that is) were particularly ruffled when Harrigan and CalPERS withheld shareholder votes from his bid to stay on as Safeway's head (he survived the vote). So when it came time for Arnold's State Personnel Board to decide whether or not to keep Harrigan at CalPERS, Burd and Safeway called for Harrigan's head.

Insiders tell ArnoldWatch that Arnold's Chief of Staff, Patricia Clarey, and others in his inner circle promised Democratic appointees to the State Personnel Board extended terms if they voted Sean Harrigan off of CalPERS. The gov's team may be squawking that this kind of quid pro quo would never happen, but the fact is $71K in Safeway campaign contributions are feathering Arnold's nest.


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