75th Anniversary Logo
Celebrating 75 Years

Our journey started in 1947, when New Mexico enacted legislation creating a public employee retirement system.

Seventy-five years later, we have 335 participating public employers, approximately 47,679 members & 42,743 retirees/beneficiaries and the PERA Trust Fund has a fund value of $17.6 Billion.

Get information about our upcoming 75th Anniversary events.

Women In Leadership

75 Years of History

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August 1, 1947

New Mexico enacted legislation creating a public employee retirement system in 1947. New Mexico was the last state in the continental United States to establish a retirement system for its public employees. Under the newly enacted Public Employees Retirement Act, beginning on August 1, 1947, members were required to contribute 3.5% of their gross salary and their employers matched with an equal amount. The maximum annuity any member could expect to receive was $150 per month. There were no pre-retirement survivor benefits available.

The Law's History

The Act was amended in 1949, repealed in 1953, and a new Act was established. In 1955, PERA had 217 pension recipients who received an average annual pension of $1,161. In 1960, PERA recorded 593 pension recipients with an annual pension payroll of $717,200 averaging $1,209 per annuitant. In 1961, the plan was again improved to provide benefits of up to 50% of a member’s final average salary. The Law has been amended through the years to provide better coverage and benefits to all public employees.

History Photo
History Photo
Who We Cover

Today, PERA is a 401(a) qualified governmental plan that is governed by the New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Act and offers 31 different coverage plans. These plans currently cover state, municipal, and county employees, police, firefighters, judges, magistrates, legislators, and volunteer firefighters. We now have approximately 47,679 members and 42,743 retirees and beneficiaries. In 2021, the average annual pension was $30,708.

Board of Trustees

PERA is governed by a Board of Trustees, which consists of 12 members. The State Treasurer and Secretary of State are Ex-officio members. Eight members of the Board are elected by the active membership of PERA. Four of the eight members are Municipal members, at least one of whom is employed by a county. The remaining four are State members. Two members are PERA retirees elected to the Board by retired members. The Board appoints an Executive Director, who manages PERA’s agency operations. The Board of Trustees also has the fiduciary responsibility to oversee the Trust Fund investment growth while managing market risk. Currently, the PERA Trust Fund has a total fund value of $17.6 Billion.

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2003-2004 Members of the PERA Board

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Public Employers

A public employer affiliated with PERA must withhold employee contributions each pay period from the employee’s PERA-eligible salary, which are then paid into the PERA member contribution Fund. The employer also must pay employer contributions into the PERA employer’s accumulation Fund each pay period. There are currently 335 participating public employers.

Membership Tiers

PERA offers two Tiers of membership. All members are vested after 5 years of service. Once vested, members are entitled to a life-long monthly pension benefit after retirement when certain age and service credit eligibility requirements are met, regardless of the amount of member contributions paid into the plan. In addition, non-duty disability and survivor benefits are available to vested members.

History Photo
History Photo
PERA, Today

As of June 30, 2021, PERA has a funded ratio of 71.4%, with an amortization period of 72 years. PERA investment activity during the fiscal year (FY) generated a rate of return of 24.02%. PERA continues to have an important economic impact to the State, as approximately 92% of the $1.33 billion in retirement benefits paid out in FY 2021 were paid to retirees living in New Mexico. Each July, PERA adjusts the gross pension benefits of all eligible retirees to include a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). The COLA is applicable to recipients of PERA, magistrate, or judicial retirement plan pension benefits.



All-Star Photo
Karren Torres

Karen has been a Volunteer Firefighter for 17 years and is a qualified Wildland and Structural Firefighter. Karen became a Volunteer Firefighter because she says "I felt that I could not ask anyone to come and fight a fire on my property if I was not willing and trained to do the same for them."

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Shauna Rivera

Shauna Rivera works in PERA’s Contribution Accounting Division and goes above and beyond to help her colleagues and members. Shauna has been a great champion for her division as she has been assisting outside agencies with their suspended reports. We are very thankful for her dedication to helping others.

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Raton Public Service

The Raton Public Service has such a stellar reputation with our PERA Contribution Accounting Division because they work so hard to make sure their members are always reported correctly.

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Randy Varela

Randy Varela is the Deputy State Fire Marshal who oversees the Fire Support Services Bureau and has also been a Volunteer Firefighter since 1978. "I’ve always believed that service-related work is the most rewarding. Knowing that my job is part of a larger initiative to maintain and improve public life keeps me motivated."

Downloadable Activities

Celebrate 75 years of PERA with the following activities.