Does Theresa Taylor Represent SEIU or Marcie Frost and Matt Jacobs at CalPERS? 

EASTSIDER - It is always challenging when a highly placed Union official also sits on a third-party pension plan. Who are they representing?

The fiduciaries or their own political agenda? CalPERS Board member Theresa Taylor made it abundantly clear recently that it is not her fiduciary obligations to the almost 1 1/2 million CalPERS beneficiaries. 

Taylors Scorched Earth Rant 

Once again, a key SEIU official has found her way into the headlines, and not in a nice context.  The Sacramento Bee’s column in the State Worker wrote on August 20 the following headline: Tensions Erupt at SEIU 1000 as CalPERS Board member texts vulgar phrase at President. 

“An attention-grabbing headline appeared this week in the inboxes of tens of thousands of California state workers represented by SEIU Local 1000. 

“Suck a D---!” read bold text at the top of the public employee union’s Monday newsletter. 

The vulgar headline referred to a remark Theresa Taylor, an elected member on the CalPERS Board of Administration and a Local 1000 officer, wrote in a text message to another union representative regarding Local 1000 president Richard Louis Brown. 

Her daughter, Anna-Marie Taylor, who until Aug. 12 was a Local 1000 District Labor Council president and Franchise Tax Board employee, texted a nearly identical phrase to the same union rep. 

The fact that SEIU President Richard Brown is black was also raised in her rant and drew a response from Union President Brown himself, as noted in the State Worker piece: 

“In an interview, Brown, who is Black, called the texts from the two women racist.

“What they’re saying is you should know your place, you should do what we tell you to,” Brown said.

He said their comments were part of an effort to “silence (his) voice” and to remove him from his leadership position.” 

The blog Naked Capitalism, was more explicit in their headline: “RLB Can Suck a Dick”: CalPERS Board VP Theresa Taylor Debases CalPERS, Sneers at Workers and Little People in Unhinged, Factually False Attack on SEIU California President.” 

It’s a good read. 

So Who Is Theresa Taylor? 

According to the SEIU website, Taylor is described thus: 

“Long-time Local 1000 and community activist Theresa Taylor was elected as Vice President / Secretary-Treasurer in 2015. She has served as President of District Labor Council (DLC) 786, on Local 1000’s Executive Board and on our Budget Committee. She has also served on the Real Time Strategic Change Design Team and the Retirement Security Team. 

Taylor, a principal compliance representative at the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) in Sacramento, has worked for the state for over 20 years and brings a wealth of financial experience to her new role. Her FTB work involved combing through thousands of financial statements and balance sheets to analyze complex corporate financial transactions, a skill and dedication she applies to managing Local 1000’s books.” 

I will omit her CalPERS Board experience because it is significantly at odds with the SEIU website.

According to CalPERS itself, here is their description

“Theresa Taylor is serving her second term on the CalPERS Board of Administration and her third one-year term as vice president of the board. 

A principal compliance representative at the Franchise Tax Board in Sacramento, she has worked for the state for 26 years and brings a wealth of financial experience to her role. 

In 2015 Theresa was elected vice president/secretary-treasurer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000, where she oversaw the organization's $62 million budget through June of 2018. In addition, she served as a member of the SEIU Local 1000 Executive Board and the executive board of the SEIU State Council. 

Theresa also served on the executive board of the California State Employees Association (CSEA), the CSEA Member Benefits Committee, and the CSEA Finance Committee, where she was a fiduciary for CSEA’s employee retirement plans. 

She earned a bachelor's degree in American studies from the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus.

1Elected board members serve four-year terms that begin January 16 of the term and end January 15.” 

Who Pays for Taylor's Time? 

This one gets a little complicated, but it’s important. The CalPERS Board has a policy with the mind-numbing title of “Policy for the Approval of Reimbursement to State, School, and Public Agency Employers of Elected Board Members.” Really. 

What it boils down to is this -- if a Board member works for the State, they are going to spend a fair amount of time doing the CalPERS Board’s business instead of their regular job. So, the idea is that CalPERS will reimburse the employer for the percentage of time they spend for CalPERS vs. their normal job. 

Effective February 18, 2020, Theresa Taylor has been approved for 70% of her time to be spent on CalPERS business, and the reimbursement includes both wages and benefits. Since Taylor is no longer an SEIU Officer, that means that the Franchise Tax Board should be reimbursed for 70% of her time as a state employee. 

Also implied in the Policy is the notion that the CalPERS Board member will spend the other 30% of their time working as an employee and will be paid by their department. The dirty little question that remains unanswered and un-audited is whether or not Taylor actually shows up on the job for the other 30% of her time. And if not, who if anyone is paying her? 

We do know that the dastardly trio of General Counsel Matt Jacobs, CEO Marcie Frost, and Board President Henry Jones own her. I can’t think of a single time since she was elected to the CalPERS Board where she has bucked them. At all. Even as she  poops all over any other Board member who has the temerity to challenge the incomprehensible garbage the trio pass off as good policy. 

Therefore, I would assume that in the outside chance of a real investigation regarding whether or not there has been an illegal expenditure of public funds in paying Taylor, the dastardly trio will leap to her defense, using beneficiary money to kill any real consequences. 

As a Franchise Tax Board Employee, Has She Cheated on Income? 

Speaking of which, it appears that Taylor hid around $30,000 in income on her FPPC Form 700, which all public officials must file annually. For those unfamiliar with alphabet soup agencies, the FPPC stands for Fair Political Practices Commission. 

Naked Capitalism reported this mess last year, and you can find the article here. 

“As we’ll show, Taylor has made a cut-and-dried violation of California requirements for California officials to report all income and assets received from non-government sources in their jurisdiction. Specifically, Taylor hid at least $30,000 of income she received as Vice President/Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU 1000 from 2016 to 2018. 

Taylor failed to disclose this income on the Fair Political Practices Commission’s Form 700, a disclosure of economic interests, which is a form sworn under penalty of perjury. Perjury is a felony in California. Taylor has self-identified as unfit to continue in office through this repeated, willful violation. 

The failure to report such a large and readily documented source of income also raises the question as to whether Taylor has failed to report other income. For instance, the FPPC requires California government officials to report gifts of over $50. Has Taylor received concert tickets, or meals, or had travel or hotels paid for by California interests that she similarly failed to report?” 

I verified for this article that the FPPC Complaint over these issues are still active and in process of being pursued by the FPPC. You can verify this with them; the Case No. is 2020-00074.  

I use this example for two reasons. First, as a Principal Compliance Representative for the Franchise Tax Board it is a real stretch to think that her hiding income was because she was unaware of the requirement. Second, it has been my observation that people who cheat over money generally have a number of other unpleasant characteristics. 

The Takeaway 

It is true that the new SEIU Local 1000 President has some very controversial proposals, and he did win in a squeaker election. He’s argued for not backing Newsom in the recall election and cutting ties with SEIU. Still. . . 

Obviously, Taylor’s remarks were intemperate at best. Having worked for a number of unions during my career, there is one golden rule. Unless you have the votes locked up to take the President out, a public rant against the incumbent is ill advised. These people are not fellow CalPERS Board members that you can bully without cost. 

In fact, the bargaining unit that Taylor represented within SEIU 1000 is DLC 786, represents a bit over 4000 employees at the Franchise Tax Board, and about 2200 of them are actual SEIU members. For context, SEIU Local 1000 purports to represent 96,000 employees, so it doesn’t look to me that she has a big power base in the Franchise Tax Board. 

Also, when she became a big cheese, she handed her Union position to her daughter, just to keep it in the family. There’s a word for that too. 

Her missteps as a CalPERS Board member are too numerous to even start to itemize here. Just go to the Nakedcapitalism blog and click on CalPERS under the Topics Section. Or take a look at some of my posts on CityWatch, using CalPERS in the search section. 

The truth is that Theresa Taylor is an unpleasant person who is 100% in it for herself. She challenges the SEIU President to reassert herself into their power structure, and then goes to a CalPERS meeting to sell out the very people she purports to represent. Just because she knows that the dastardly trio will cover up her transgressions as long as she gives them her unwavering vote. 

Not cool.


(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.