DENVER – The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) Board of Trustees announced today that Ron Baker has been named the finalist for the Executive Director.
Mr. Baker has served as the Interim Executive Director since December. He has served Colorado’s public workforce through various roles he has held since joining PERA in 1994. After starting with PERA in management positions overseeing information technology, Mr. Baker was appointed Chief Administrative Officer in 2013. In his new role, Mr. Baker becomes the seventh executive director of the $49 billion retirement system, which was established in 1931 by the Colorado General Assembly.
The announcement comes after an extensive eight-month nationwide search for the top position at PERA conducted by the Board in cooperation with a national executive recruiting firm.
“The Board embarked on a thorough and competitive process to ensure that the most qualified candidate would be installed to lead PERA,” said PERA Board of Trustees Chairman Timothy M. O’Brien. “Ron’s qualifications and commitment to PERA are unparalleled. In addition to his decades of tenure at PERA, he led the organization through a challenging time during the first part of this year that included a legislative session in which major changes were made to the retirement plan. He was the clear and unanimous choice for the Board.”
Mr. Baker is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in mathematics with a dual emphasis in computer science and mathematics. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.
“I appreciate the confidence of the Board in me to continue to serve the PERA membership,” said Baker. “I look forward to helping guide PERA into this next chapter.”
Mr. Baker will assume the position as Executive Director pending contract negotiations and final Board approval.
Colorado PERA provides retirement and other benefits to more than 587,000 current and former teachers, State Troopers, corrections officers, snow plow drivers, and other public employees who provide valuable service to all of Colorado. PERA is a vital and stable contributor to Colorado’s economy, distributing more than $4 billion in 2017 to 101,000 retirees who live in Colorado.
Dust off your bookshelf and make room for the new titles you will find at the Used Book Sale at Koelbel Library, 5955 S. Holly St. in Centennial, which starts on Thursday, September 6 and continues through Sunday, September 9 during library hours.
At the sale, you will find more than 40,000 gently-loved books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks and “better” books, including classics, collectibles and more at bargain prices. Sunday is bag day – we provide the bag and you fill it for only $7.
To kick-off the sale, there will be a special Preview Sale for Friends of the Arapahoe Libraries only, on Wednesday, September 5, 4:30-8:30 pm. Friends memberships will be available at the door. The Friends of Arapahoe Libraries is a special group of 400 library lovers and supporters whose primary objective is to raise funds by selling used books and Friends memberships.
These funds are allocated to Arapahoe Libraries in the form of grants, supporting programs and projects, such as the Summer Reading program, author events, special purchases for the libraries and more. So far in 2018, the Friends have granted Arapahoe Libraries nearly $100,000.
For more information, call 303-LIBRARY or visit arapahoelibraries.org/book-sale.
The City of Centennial is currently accepting applications to be on the City’s Youth Commission. As an Advisory Board to City Council, the Youth Commission fosters a greater understanding of the concerns of youth and their contributions to the community while encouraging greater youth participation in City issues. Applicants must be residents of the City of Centennial and be between 13 and 18 years old.
The Centennial Youth Commission was formed by City Council in July 2003 to provide a voice for the City’s youth. The Commission is composed of eleven teens from the City of Centennial, ranging in age from 13 to 18. The Youth Commission participates in City-wide events, develops community programs, performs community service projects and participates in the policy-making process.
All terms are for a period of two years. Meetings are the second and fourth Thursdays of each month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Centennial Civic Center located at 13133 E. Arapahoe Road. An application is attached or may be obtained online.
The deadline for applying is Friday, September 14, 2018 at 5 p.m.
On July 20th Wings Over the Rockies celebrated the Grand Opening of the new Boeing Blue Sky Aviation Gallery. We had the opportunity to celebrate this exciting new addition to our community during their Grand Opening celebration. If you haven't yet, be sure to visit this beautiful new museum near Centennial Airport!
Comcast works to bridge the digital divide for all Coloradans. They recently shared for the eleventh time in seven years, they are expanding the eligibility of the Internet Essentials program to include low-income veterans.
Internet Essentials is the largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program for low-income families in the U.S. Since 2011, the company connected more than six million low-income individuals to the Internet at home, most for the very first time. Including 240,000 individuals across Colorado!
In addition, they announced their second biggest expansion ever in eligibility for the program to low-income veterans living in their service area. Now, as many as one million low-income veterans will be able to apply. Fewer than 70 percent of low-income veterans have Internet access. Veterans have stood up for our country, and Comcast believes it’s time to stand up for them by providing access to life-changing digital tools and resources.
To learn more about Internet Essentials, and how Comcast is helping students, parents, seniors, and veterans get ready to pursue their dreams and careers, please visit Comcast’s local Colorado blog here: https://colorado.comcast.com/2018/08/13/comcast-expands-internet-essentials-program-to-include-low-income-veterans/
On Saturday, August 18, the City of Centennial is hosting an outdoor screening of the animated movie, Sing (rated PG). The event starts at 7 p.m. and the movie will begin at dusk. It's lawn seating, so don't forget to bring your chairs and blankets. Free popcorn will be available (while supplies last). Please note, there will not be food trucks at this event.
Centennial Center Park is located at 13050 E. Peakview Avenue. Please remember the following when attending the event:
Thank you to our event sponsors: Gold Sponsor Arapahoe County; Community Partner Centennial Medical Plaza; Silver Sponsors Jacobs and Terracare Associates; Bronze Sponsor Renewal by Anderson and media partner the Centennial Citizen.
Visit centennialco.gov/events to view the other exciting events scheduled at Centennial Center Park this summer.
The Chamber’s Workplace Wellness Exchange is YOUR resource for best practices, tips, and engaging conversation regarding health in the workplace. Our Exchange on Tuesday, August 7th covered Family-Friendly Work Policies – not just for parents! Check out this PowerPoint provided by the Tri-County Health Department. It’s a great overview of the subject matter. It pays to work well. This initiative is simple: strive to bring health and wellness into the culture of companies and into the lives of their employees. Funding is available to you — with no cost, you have access to employer training, equipment, resources, and "Healthy Business" certifications! Email Anne Marie at the Chamber for more information: [email protected]
After decades of hard work, Colorado has a diverse and growing economy. Every sector of that economy is important, but the energy sector plays a critical role. Colorado’s business community will always be ready to defend it.
Energy producers in Colorado literally fuel every other sector of the economy. With locally sourced and affordable energy, our business climate is more competitive. Families have more money in their household budgets.
Energy also supports the livelihoods of thousands of working families across Colorado. According to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, 6.5 percent of all the jobs in Colorado are supported by oil and gas development. A separate University of Colorado study found oil and gas production generates $1.2 billion in tax revenue annually.
Colorado has always been a major energy-producing state. Today, we rank fifth in the nation in natural gas and seventh in oil. At the same time, we have expanded renewable energy and strengthened environmental protections, using a bipartisan and pragmatic approach.
Colorado has “the strongest set of state regulations of any state in the country where oil and gas extraction is concerned and where hydraulic fracturing is concerned,” former Gov. Bill Ritter (D), a champion of renewables, said in 2015. Since then, those regulations have only grown more stringent, with new mandates including closer coordination with local governments and tighter controls for air quality.
Yet for all of Colorado’s constructive work, we continue to be targeted by fringe groups seeking an oil and gas ban. Starting in 2012, national groups led by Food & Water Watch in Washington, D.C., declared Colorado “ground zero” in their campaign to “ban fracking everywhere.” After pushing unlawful local bans in and around Boulder, these groups planned to put a statewide ban on the ballot. But when polling showed a majority of Coloradans support fracking for oil and gas, the “ban fracking” campaign changed course.
The direct ban was replaced with a series of de facto statewide bans. In 2014 and 2016, the de facto bans took the form of dramatically wider setbacks for new energy development.
“We will always look for ways to improve safety, but we do not need extreme measures that would drive oil and gas out of Colorado,” Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said in 2014 when the proposed setback was 2,000 feet.
In 2016, the proposed setback was increased to 2,500 feet – roughly half a mile. The Hickenlooper administration warned drilling would be banned across most of the state.
Opposition to the 2014 and 2016 ballot measures was widespread and they failed to make the ballot. Tom Clark, the former CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Corporation, spoke for many in the business community when he warned the damage could rival the 1980s energy crash caused by OPEC, the global oil cartel led by Saudi Arabia.
“OPEC did it to us once,” Clark said, recalling the mass layoffs of the time. “Let’s not do it to ourselves.”
Today, the 2,500-foot setback has returned as proposed Initiative 97. Food & Water Watch is largely funding the effort and even gathering signatures. An updated state analysis confirms the initiative would ban drilling across most of Colorado, especially in the counties were most energy development takes place. It would also have “a devastating impact on our economy,” including the loss of more than 100,000 jobs and major revenue shortfalls for state and local budgets, according to a report from the REMI Partnership, a coalition of state business groups.
The “ban fracking” backers of Initiative 97 still won’t admit they are trying to eliminate an essential sector of the state economy. But few believe them. During a highly competitive primary, Initiative 97 was shunned by all Democrats and Republicans running for governor, for example.
That’s because the purpose of Initiative 97 is clear: To eliminate the state’s oil and gas sector. And Colorado’s business community will not rest until this economically destructive ballot measure is defeated.