Volume 40 | December 8, 2020
December 2020 Newsletter
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In this Edition:
  • Trustee Spotlight: Xiaoli Zhang-King, General Member of the Board of Retirement
  • Rose Bush Giveaway – Back by Popular Demand
  • County Dental PPO Plan Rate Reduction – Effective December 1, 2020 through Insurance Year 2021
  • Consideration of the Alameda Case Fact Finding Report and Recommendations Rescheduled to January 13, 2021 Board of Retirement Special Meeting
  • Upcoming Office Closures
  • 2020 COLA Tracker
  • October 2020 Investment Results
  • November 18, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Highlights
  • December 9, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Agenda Available
  • CareCounsel Information
  • RESBC Membership Information
Trustee Spotlight: Xiaoli Zhang-King, General Member of the Board of Retirement
Trustee Xiaoli Zhang-King is one of the newest members on the Board of Retirement. She began her career at the County of Santa Barbara in March 2000 as a Financial Systems Analyst I with the Office of the Auditor-Controller, where she is currently a Senior Financial Systems Analyst.

Ms. Zhang-King was elected to the Board of Retirement by General members of SBCERS in December 2019 during a special election to fill a vacancy. Ms. Zhang-King was recently re-elected to a three-year term ending December 31st, 2023.

What have you learned the most about in your first year as a trustee?
The stock market reached its new high by the end of 2019. Less than three months after I started to serve as a first-term incumbent in 2020, the pandemic hit us unexpectedly. The whole investment world went upside down in the Spring. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,000 points in one day! I was in the front seat watching our portfolio value drop! By the end of the year, the Dow surpassed 30,000 for the first time in history. I want our members to understand that the SBCERS pension fund portfolio is invested in a diverse range of investment classes. Only a diversified and well-balanced portfolio can maintain our fund's health and withstand any unexpected financial turmoil. It takes all stakeholders - the plan sponsors, our employees, SBCERS, unions and investment professionals to work together so our defined benefit pension plan can flourish and serve all county employees and retirees for the foreseeable future.

What have you enjoyed the most about being a trustee?
I have enjoyed learning about the complexities of pension investment, serving our members and contributing to the decision-making process utilizing my knowledge and experience. I enjoy interacting with my fellow trustees, retirees, employees, union representatives, and investment and legal professionals.

What do members ask you about the most?
Most of the members I have talked to wanted to know whether their pension will still be there when they retire or whether it will be able to last until the end of their time. Pension funds’ health has a direct impact on each of our employees, including myself. I want my fellow employees to understand that your pension is in a healthy position to meet the future obligations of our members and beneficiaries.

One thing I wish members would remember is that because people are living longer, it’s important to start early and save as much as you are able to. Taking advantage of the County’s deferred compensation program to maximize your retirement earnings is key to leveraging your pension benefits. 
Rose Bush Giveaway Back by Popular Demand
The SBCERS building in Goleta has more rose bushes to give away. Click on the button below to submit your contact information. An SBCERS Staff Member will confirm and contact you to arrange for pickup.

*First come, first serve. Quantity is limited. Limit of 1 per member.
County Dental PPO Plan Rate Reduction – Effective December 1, 2020 through Insurance Year 2021
The County has reviewed the insurance fund balances, and determined that, due to a high accumulated fund balance in the Dental PPO fund, the rates for County Dental PPO rates are reduced as follows. These reduced rates are effective the December 1, 2020 benefit payment, through the entire year 2021.
Dental PPO rates for December 2020 and insurance year 2021:

Retiree only: $34.52
Retiree + 1: $56.74
Retiree Family: $86.16
Consideration of the Alameda Case Fact Finding Report and Recommendations Rescheduled to January 13, 2021 Board of Retirement Special Meeting
Consideration of the Alameda Case Fact Finding Report and Recommendations has been rescheduled to a special meeting of the Santa Barbara County Board of Retirement on January 13, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.

If you are interested in making a Public Comment, please email the Clerk of the Board of Retirement at clerkoftheboard@sbcers.org.

Information related to the Alameda Case can be accessed on our website at https://www.sbcers.org/resources/alameda-case-updates/.

The item will be recorded and posted to the Alameda Case Update page linked above. To watch the item live*, please tune in a few minutes early to:
*Note there is about a 30-to-60-second time lag between the Zoom meeting and YouTube live stream.
Upcoming Office Closures
SBCERS will be closed on Friday, December 25th and Friday, January 1st.
2020 COLA Tracker
November 2020 Los Angeles Area Inflation has not yet been released. For October 2020, Los Angeles Area Inflation (year over year) was 0.67%.

Click HERE or on the chart above to see monthly inflation figures compared to last year. 

Want to track the COLA on your own? On the 15th of each month, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor statistics releases CPI data for Los Angeles. Click HERE to read the current Bureau of Labor Statistics report. 
October 2020 Investment Results
The Total Fund returned -0.63% for the month of October net of fees. For the current fiscal year through October 31, 2020, the portfolio has returned 5.00%, generating about $155 million for members and their beneficiaries.

Click HERE to read the full October 2020 Investment Flash Report.
November 18, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Highlights
At the Board of Retirement's November 18, 2020 meeting, the Board received an information presentation on staff's fact finding results regarding the Alameda Case and Cheiron, Inc. presented the preliminary results of the June 30, 2020 Actuarial Valuation. The Board also heard a Quarterly Public Markets Portfolio Review from RVK, Inc. and a presentation from Dimensional Fund Advisors on the Small Cap Value and Emerging Market Value investment strategies.

Draft minutes for the November 18, 2020 regular Board of Retirement meeting can be found HERE.
December 9, 2020 Board of Retirement Meeting Agenda Available
The next Regular Board of Retirement meetings will be held remotely on December 9, 2020. You can watch the meeting via YouTube live stream at https://www.sbcers.org/board-of-retirement/watch-live/.

Members of the public who would like to make a public comment may email clerkoftheboard@sbcers.org for instructions on how to do so remotely.

Click HERE to access the agenda and board materials on our agenda management website.  
Want help with your Health Care Inquiries and Concerns?

Looking for a stress-free solution to your healthcare inquiries and, or concerns? CareCounsel is our health advocacy partner and is a service offered as part of your benefit package. CareCounsel works independently from your insurance carrier and is a completely confidential resource. 

It’s easy, call: (888-227-3334), or email staff@carecounsel.com Monday through Friday 6:30 am to 5:00 pm PST. After hours, you can leave a message and they will get back to you the next business day.

A few examples of why you should contact CareCounsel:
  • Education
  • Making Sense of Medicare
  • Benefits and Coverage Questions
  • Claims and Billing Assistance
  • Eligibility Status
  • Quality Concerns
  • Grievances and Appeals
  • Assistance with Locating Healthcare Providers

RESBC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of county retirees by providing information on critical retirement issues and offering educational/cultural social opportunities. Membership in RESBC is $2.50 monthly. Dues are deducted from the member’s Santa Barbara County pension payment. County employees may join RESBC by completing the RESBC Membership Deduction Authorization form at the time of their retirement exit conference.

Retirees may join at any time by requesting a membership form from SBCERS, 130 Robin Hill Road, Suite 100, Goleta, CA 93117, 1-877-568-2940 or, by clicking HERE and sending the completed form to benefits@sbcers.org. 

RESBC Membership benefits include:
  • 4 issues of the RESBC newsletter per year
  • 4 subsidized luncheon meetings per year held at various county locations
  • Opportunities to participate in subsidized day trips and special events
  • Attendance at special presentations on critical issues such as health insurance, pension litigation, pension-related court decisions, etc
  • Opportunity to socialize and have fun with former co-workers and friends
Have a question about an item in this newsletter?

Call a Benefit Representative at 1-877-568-2940. We are ready to help you!
Want to look at prior Newsletters?

Click HERE to visit the SBCERS Newsletter Archive.