SACRAMENTO -- It’s an election that usually doesn’t come with much controversy. But this year, the race for a spot on the board of California’s Public Employees’ Retirement System has been hotly contested for one candidate.
“It’s really about the environment that he created in the office to where these women were ducking and covering whenever he was around so they wouldn’t have to cross paths with him,” said CalPERS employee Charity Bowman.
At least three women have come forward accusing JJ Jelincic of inappropriate behavior that bordered on harassment.
According to a 2011 decision written by an administrative law judge with the State Personnel Board, Jelincic made sexual comments about female employees’ appearances and made inappropriate noises when certain women walked by. On multiple occasions, he was accused of making gestures that were "sexually charged."
The accusers claimed they felt demeaned.
“It is not just JJ Jelincic that is the problem,” said CalPERS employee Gabriela Urdaneta.
Bowman and Urdaneta told FOX40 they have been speaking out on behalf of the three woman who did not feel comfortable going public. They are leading a campaign to make sure Jelincic does not win a seat on the CalPERS board, which makes important decisions about how California’s public employees’ pension money is spent and invested.
They are now calling for sweeping changes and accountability.
“It is the system, it is the narratives, it’s the ideologies that have protected a man like JJ Jelincic,” Urdaneta said.
FOX40 spoke to Jelincic Wednesday by phone. He said he did compliment one woman on her shoes but said “the rest is really just a political attack.”
Jelincic said his style of aggressively asking questions as a board member is what’s really driving the campaign against him.
Bowman and Urdaneta do not buy that.
“For the women that he has harassed, that’s just been devastating that CalPERS would allow him to come back and sit on the board,” Bowman said.
Jelincic, who was a past board member for eight years, is not guaranteed a spot back on the board just yet. All retirees whose pensions are issued by CalPERS can fill out a ballot by Sept. 30.