Public Employees Retirement System

Email PERS Board.

The legislature has delegated authority to the PERS Board of Trustees to administer the system. The Board is composed of five trustees who administer retirement (service and disability), death, and retiree health insurance benefits.

PERS also administers the Oregon Savings Growth Plan, a deferred compensation program for state and local government employees. A handbook on the Oregon Savings Growth Plan is available by calling 503-378-3730.

Director and Consultants
The Board retains consultants and appoints an executive director. The executive director serves at the discretion of the Board and is responsible for the PERS administrative staff. Consultants include:

  • legal counsel,
  • medical advisor,
  • actuary, and
  • insurance consultant.

PERS Board Members
As trustee of the Public Employees Retirement Fund, the PERS Board has a responsibility to manage and administer the system as set forth by law. The Board also monitors the plan for compliance with federal laws.

Statute specifies Board membership as:

  • three people with experience in business management, pension management, or investing who are not members of the PERS system;
  • one person who is either an employee of the state in a management position or a person who holds an elective office in the governing body of a participating public employer other than the state; and
  • one person representing public employees and retirees.

The three Board members representing business management, pension management, or investing are Krystal Gema, John Thomas (board chair), and Stephen Buckley. Pat West (vice-chair) was appointed to represent public employees and retirees. Lawrence Furnstahl was appointed to represent public employers.


Stephen Buckley

Stephen Buckley is a partner in the Portland, Oregon, law firm Brownstein Rask, LLP. For more than 25 years, Mr. Buckley has served as legal counsel for boards of trustees of private sector health and welfare plans and defined benefit, defined contribution, and 401(k) pension plans in Washington, Oregon, and California. Mr. Buckley is a speaker at employee benefit conferences sponsored by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Mr. Buckley is a graduate of Colorado State University and received his Juris Doctorate degree from Willamette University College of Law.




Lawrence J. Furnstahl (vice-chair)

Lawrence J. Furnstahl has three decades experience in the strategic, financial, and operational management of complex organizations—universities and academic health centers—including over 25 years as a CFO. Furnstahl is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), a $2.3 billion Oregon public corporation with 2,500 faculty, 15,000 staff, 4,000 students and trainees, $350 million of research, and the state's only major academic health center. Before joining OHSU in January 2011, Furnstahl served as chief financial and strategy officer for the University of Chicago Medical Center and Biological Sciences Division, and university vice president for financial planning for science; senior vice president and chief financial officer for UCSF Stanford Health Care; vice president and chief financial officer for the University of Chicago; and vice president & treasurer and senior executive, patient services for the University of Chicago Hospitals. Furnstahl is a member of the Visiting Committee to the Physical Sciences Division of the University of Chicago, and a board director former chair of the Hyde Park Art Center. He is a 1983 graduate of the College of the University of Chicago in economics.

Krystal DeAsis

Mrs. DeAsis most recently was a financial manager for Holiday Retirement (Holiday). She was responsible for managing the finances of a portfolio of Holiday’s communities and upholding financial objectives for long-term strategic planning. Prior to joining Holiday, Mrs. DeAsis spent nine years with Portland General Electric Company (PGE) in a variety of financial roles, which includes overseeing the economic value of PGE’s major capital investments and managing the risk of PGE’s commodity trading portfolio. Mrs. DeAsis currently serves as the chairwoman of the PERS Audit Committee. She also serves as treasurer for Legacy Health – Emanuel Medical Center Foundation and sits on the Legacy Health Foundations Investment Committee. Mrs. DeAsis earned her Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Portland State University.


John Thomas (chair)

John Thomas is the president and CEO of Financial Pathways Group, a fee-based retirement planning firm in Eugene, Oregon. Mr. Thomas co-founded Pacific Benefit Consultants Inc. in 1993 and served in the past capacity as president and manager of the Financial Services Division. John is vice-chair of Advantage Dental and is a past divisional vice-president and chair of the Finance Committee of MDRT, an international association of insurance and financial service professionals located in Chicago. Mr. Thomas previously served as chair of the McKenzie-Willamette Hospital Board of Trustees and was chair of the Lane County Planning Commission and the Lane County Boundary Commission. John is also the past president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Thomas holds a B.A. from Willamette University and an M.S. in financial services from The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Mr. Thomas holds professional designations of chartered life underwriter, chartered financial consultant, and certified financial planner. 

Steve Demarest

Bio coming soon.