Thursday, December 19, 1996


Corrections Director James H. Gomez today announced he will be assuming the position of Deputy Executive Officer for the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) effective January 21, 1997.

"I am looking forward to this new challenge, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to have worked with such hard-working dedicated staff," said Director Gomez.

Among the many accomplishments in his five years as Director are advances in medical care with the addition of a fourth licensed prison hospital and a division to manage medical care for inmates in a cost efficient manner; great strides forward in bringing greater automation to the Department to handle its paperwork processes and to increase the Department's effectiveness in providing greater support for local law enforcement; programs to promote an awareness and appreciation for the vast diversity among the 45,000 employees and effective programs to reduce sexual harassment; and the day-to-day management of the largest prison system in the Western world without a significant institutional disturbance or any staff deaths. Since Mr. Gomez was named Director, 11 new prisons have been built as the inmate population increased from 100,000 to 145,000. One institution currently under construction at Corcoran, California is the first prison designed to provide therapeutic community substance abuse treatment to hundreds of inmates. In those five years, more than 12,000 new staff have been recruited, hired and trained. A Leadership Academy was created to prepare managers for leadership roles. Gomez was responsible for the first state agency mentoring program for at-risk youth, and for implementing the Computers for Schools program in which every month inmates refurbish 3,000 used computers to be donated to school children in California. In the last five years, the Department has accelerated collections of restitution payments from inmates to victims and this year restitution collections reached a record $10 million dollars.

The PERS is responsible for managing over $100 billion dollars in assets and providing services to almost 1 million members and retirees.