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The Sonoma County Employees' Retirement Association (SCERA) is a public employee retirement system established by the County of Sonoma on January 1, 1946. SCERA is administered by the Board of Retirement (Board) to provide retirement, disability, death, and survivor benefits for its members under the California State Government Code, Section 31450 et seq., the County Employees' Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL).

Our mission

The purpose of the Sonoma County Employees' Retirement Association is to provide and protect retirement benefits for its members and beneficiaries.

Team SCERA Values and Guiding Principles

  • Stability. Maintain a sound investment program, a prudent funding policy and appropriate internal controls.
  • Communication. Communicate openly and accurately, achieving an organizational culture of teamwork and transparency.
  • Excellence. Model best practices in the industry and strive for continuous improvement.
  • Respect. Be courteous, considerate and fair in the treatment of others, both within and outside of the organization. 
  • Accountability. Take responsibility for decisions and actions; be open to constructive feedback.

Defined Benefit Pension Plan

The SCERA Pension Plan is a 401(a) qualified defined benefit plan funded by three sources: the employee, employer, and investment earnings of the retirement fund. 

An employee's pre-tax contribution is a percentage of the employee's gross pay. 

The funds in your defined benefit retirement plan are invested by SCERA on a pooled basis, which means that you, as an individual are not affected by investment performance.

A defined benefit plan promises the member with a guaranteed lifetime benefit* as well as certain benefits for designated beneficiaries upon the member's death. 

This differs from a defined contribution plan such as a 457 or 401(k) plan, in which you make the investment decisions and bear the associated risks. In those types of plans, your benefit payments stop when the money in your individual account is exhausted.

In addition, a defined benefit plan cannot do loans or provide partial withdrawals to our members.

*Certain eligibility rules apply.

Participating employers

SCERA provides retirement allowances and other benefits to the safety and general members for the participating employers as listed below:

  • County of Sonoma
  • Sonoma Valley Fire District
  • Superior Court of California - County of Sonoma

SCERA is governed by the California Constitution, the County Employees' Retirement Law of 1937, and the bylaws, procedures and policies adopted by the SCERA Board. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors or the governing bodies of the other employers may also adopt resolutions, as permitted by the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937, which may affect benefits of SCERA members.