ERS Trustee Elections and Appointments
Section 815.003(d) of the Texas Government Code states that before August 31 of each odd-numbered year, the Board of Trustees (Board) of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) is required to hold an election for the members and retirees of the system to nominate and elect a trustee.
Nominations for the 2023 ERS Board of Trustees election are open
Nominations are open to fill one of the three elected seats on the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) Board of Trustees, giving members a voice in the Board’s benefits discussions.
This year, ERS members and retirees have the opportunity to vote to fill the Board seat currently held by Catherine Melvin, who works for the Texas Department of Public Safety. Her term expires Aug. 31, 2023. The elected candidate will serve a six-year term as a member advocate.
ERS will accept members’ nomination(s) starting March 1 until March 31 at 5 p.m. CT.
Each potential candidate must complete and submit to ERS the Petition to Nominate a Candidate for Trustee and the Questionnaire for Board of Trustees Position, available in the box above.
State of Texas agency employees who are contributing to the ERS Retirement Trust Fund and most state agency retirees who are getting an annuity from ERS are eligible to serve on the Board.
In this year’s election, employees of the Department of Transportation and Health and Human Services Commission are ineligible to run because those agencies already have representation on the Board. State law prohibits two trustees employed by the same agency from serving at the same time. But, employees in those agencies can nominate candidates from other agencies, sign a nomination petition and vote in the election.
Nomination petition process
Each potential candidate must submit the Petition to Nominate a Candidate for Trustee with the signatures of at least 300 ERS members and/or retirees qualified to vote in the trustee election. ERS encourages potential candidates to gather 400 to 500 signatures to allow for invalid entries.
Potential candidates also have the option to gather voters’ electronic signature (e-signature) on a dedicated ERS nominations website. A potential candidate can contact the ERS election coordinator at ERSelection@ers.texas.gov to request a personalized electronic nomination site platform.
- The process to electronically sign a candidate’s nomination petition is simple (and very similar to how members vote online in Board elections). On the dedicated ERS nominations website, potential voters will log in by typing in their individual credentials: their ZIP code, date of birth and portions of their first and last names. Using the known credentials, the website will automatically authenticate their eligibility to sign a nomination petition.
ERS will count a nomination petition signature only if:
- the member’s printed first and last name, ZIP code and date of birth are legibly included,
- the person matches a member or retiree of the ERS plan and
- the member’s signature appears only one time for only one candidate. If a member or retiree signs a nomination petition for more than one candidate, ERS will not count the member’s signature for either candidate.
Signed nomination petitions and questionnaires are due to ERS March 31 by 5 p.m. CT. ERS will certify candidates and draw for ballot order on April 13.
ERS members who have an ERS account balance as of Jan. 31, 2023, and state agency retirees who are receiving an annuity from ERS can vote for a candidate in the ERS Board of Trustees election.
Why you should vote for a Board candidate
The Board of Trustees makes key decisions regarding member and retiree benefits such as:
- designing plans for health care and pharmacy benefits,
- selecting third-party administrators of health insurance and other benefit programs and
- authorizing new programs.
The Board also manages the Texa$averSM 401(k) / 457 Program and oversees the ERS Retirement Trust Fund, which invests state, agency and member pension contributions.
Trustee appointments and terms
Board trustee Catherine Melvin, whose term is expiring this year, holds one of three seats elected by ERS members and retirees. The three other Board members are appointed, one each by the:
- Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and
- Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Both appointed and elected Board members serve staggered six-year terms. The terms of appointees expire on August 31 of each even-numbered year. The terms of elected Board members expire on August 31 of each odd-numbered year.
This year, state employees and retirees will elect one state agency employee/retiree to serve as their member advocate.
ERS will mail information on the candidates and paper ballots in May 2023.
Voting will take place May 12 through June 16 via either:
- a mailed paper ballot or
- electronically, through a link on the ERS website or through a personalized email link to the voting portal. ERS will send the email link on or around May 12. (This option is available to eligible members and retirees with an up-to-date and active email address on file with ERS as of Jan. 31, 2023.) Voting electronically is convenient and secure, and saves money for ERS. It also decreases the chance of errors that could cause a ballot to be invalid.
Remember: Voters must not submit a paper ballot AND vote electronically. If ERS receives duplicate votes from an individual, we will only count the first vote received.
The candidate receiving the most votes will be certified as the new trustee-elect.
2023 ERS Board of Trustees Election Calendar
Wednesday, March 1
ERS distributes nominating petitions to agencies.
Friday, March 31
Candidate nomination petitions are due to ERS by 5 p.m. CT.
Thursday, April 13
ERS certifies candidates and draws for ballot order.
Thursday, May 11
ERS holds candidate forum.
Friday, May 12
Friday, June 16
Thursday, July 20
ERS executive director certifies election results.
Friday, September 1
New trustee begins their term.