Tracy Marie Rushing
State Division Candidate
Supervisor I in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
This information has not been edited by PERA. Please read the information carefully so that you can make an informed decision.
The deadline to vote is May 31, 2022.
Responses to Questions
Question 1: Interest on Serving on the PERA Board
Please briefly describe why you are interested in being elected to the PERA Board of Trustees.
I have dedicated my career of over 20 years in state government, applying policy and adhering to fiscal rules; the ability to follow policy and law while creating opportunities by leveraging community resources and seeking alternative ways to serve the people is critical to the success when working with diverse groups. I want to take this experience to the next level serving employees of the State of Colorado in this role. My knowledge and experience have prepared me for such an opportunity and I will use it to serve as a trustee for all in the PERA system.
Question 2: Views on PERA’s Mission/Vision
PERA’s mission is to provide retirement security for our members while ensuring the sustainability of the fund. PERA’s vision is to innovate and build on a tradition of service by being a trusted partner in order to meet the changing needs of our diverse membership. Please share your thoughts on these ideals.
A trustee is an enormous responsibility. PERA’s vision and mission closely align with the work done at DVR; as a partner in supporting a diverse group, people with disabilities, in achieving their own ability to prosper in Colorado, having the same access and opportunity. Thoughtful, researched pathways to build sustainability and success are the foundations of what is practiced in the work I have done with the state. Innovation and changing to the new demands we learned well during the pandemic: adversity ignites innovation. I would face the current challenges to PERA with these ideals in mind.
Question 3: Funded Status—Challenges/Opportunities
Please describe what you consider as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing PERA in the next 4-5 years related to the funded status.
The biggest challenges that will need to be addressed are the shortfall projections, employee retention, and recruitment of new employees. As we move out of the pandemic we are dealing with a labor shift that affects many layers of state employment. A wave of employee departures during the pandemic was a big loss, and now as we have an increase in retirees, more people are leaving than coming to state employment. Addressing the shortfall is equally challenging, PERA made gains in this area during the pandemic but not enough, much more work needs to be done.
Question 4: Serving the PERA Membership—Challenges/Opportunities
Please describe what you consider as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing PERA in the next 4-5 years related to serving the membership.
Continued attrition in state government establishes a workforce that has fewer years into the system than those exiting. The nature of work is changing dramatically, staying current with those changing demands will allow for more opportunities to engage everyone at all levels. In a largely individualist society, it is a challenge to engage others for a greater purpose and role. The future can seem way off, responsibility can be diminished by having someone else responsible. Messaging will be a critical factor that sparks interest and retention of state employment as a desired and sought-after employer.
Question 5: Challenges/Opportunities Facing PERA
Please describe what you consider as other areas of challenge/opportunity facing PERA.
Recruitment of individuals to the state government has been challenging. False perceptions, difficult application processes, and websites that have limited accessibility for people with disabilities are to name just a few. An overlooked population not only could bring value and skill to the workplace but typically people with disabilities are loyal employees. These are challenges many employers have, however, the state should always be a model employer for all. Developing innovative and attractive ways to foster diversity, inclusion, and being the best place to work would serve all of Colorado. Being a model attracts talent and increases membership.