Pam Althoff Quoted in Wall Street Journal on Pension Reform

Last Friday, State Senator Pam Althoff was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about public pensions. (Non-subscribers can read the article here for seven days after publication.)

Here’s the part about the McHenry County legislator:

“In Illinois, Pamela Althoff, a Republican state senator from a suburb of Chicago, last year supported a bill to overhaul police and firefighter pension plans. A close friend of hers, a retired firefighter, wasn’t pleased.

Pam Althoff

“Over dinner at the friend’s home, Ms. Althoff assured him that the pension bill was only for new employees and wouldn’t affect his pension.

“‘That was like throwing gasoline on the fire, even though I thought it was water,’ Ms. Althoff says.

“His response: ‘This is about what we’ve earned, the benefits and promises made to us. We shouldn’t be eroding this for anybody,’ she recalls.

“After nearly half an hour of back and forth and no concessions, the man’s wife, who had been trying to pacify the conversation, got very quiet and then said, ‘we’re just not going to talk about this,’ Ms. Althoff recalls.

“Since then, they haven’t.

“The bill—signed into law in December—requires newly hired police officers and firefighters to retire at age 55 instead of 50 to receive full benefits and requires local governments to ensure police and firefighters’ pension systems are at least 90% funded by 2040, among other changes.”

Back in the 1960’s the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund notified local governments like McHenry County that it was going to embark on a similar 40-year program to make its pensions solid.

That forty years is up and IMRF retirees can rightly brag that their pension fund is not in trouble.


Pam Althoff Quoted in Wall Street Journal on Pension Reform — 6 Comments

  1. I’m very glad that somebody sees that IMRF IS NOT in trouble and is adequately funded.

    IMRF is held up nationally as an example of a well run public pension system. Both employee and employer pay into the fund much like a 401 and the interest pays the retiree annuity.

    AS an IMRF retiree, our big fear is that the State will try and make it a STATE pension to rob the Billions of dollars it manages to help bail out the State pensions that have never been adequately funded and are now broke. Franks is trying hard to label IMRF as a STATE fund.

    There area huge differences between the STATE funds and IMRF. IMRF pensions do not compound.

    Any COLA is based upon the original pension amount and never grows.

    IMRF forbids end of career salary bumps.

    Jim Tobin is another that fails to understand basic investment philosophy when he spouts off mistruths about IMRF pensioners.

  2. I love Pam Althoff to death, but on this point, she should have listened to her firefighter friend of whom I know personally, she has many in McHenry; police also.

    Not to be too nasty sounding, but I’m not all that sure that you want a bunch of “old men and women” running into burning buildings pulling a fire hose and wearing all that gear when they are 55 years old.

    And to be a cop at 55, wrestling with some drunken bad guy is not something I would relish having to be a part of.

    Letting the State get their hands on ANY pension, considering their fine handling of our State’s budget, is a fool hardy mistake.

  3. And she no doubt will vote in favor of the current SB (not sure on the number) taking and disolving every downstate pension fund and making it mandatory for it to become part of the IMRF. Not something I would be looking toward. The real issue, again as in years past, the IML and Mayor/Managers groups keeping coming back and asking for deferrment for the 100% funded date, only to take those funds and divert them into General Fund for beautification and things that are not essential. Then cry foul and paint the blame picture on the backs of firefighter/law enforcement. I was very suprised that she backed this and other non-friendly Public Safety legislation, given the friends/constituants that are Public Safety and her late husbands involvment with McHenry Fire.

  4. Jack Franks is doing just that.

    He introduced HB 146 which treats IMRF as if it were a STATE pension fund.

    He didn’t do any research to see that IMRF is in very good shape, he just Bogarts his way introducing this BS house bill to make headlines and try and make points with taxpayers.

    Most people don’t know one public retirement fund from another and obviously Jack Franks doesn’t either.

    I’m goung to laugh out loiud when he trys to run for some other office.

    I supported him in the past but he lost my support and I know many others in public service are now PO’d.

    If the State had paid their portion into the pensions as required and didn’t steal to money to pay for unneeded pork, ALL pensions would be in good shape.

  5. Thank you TwoCents. I looked up that Senate bill and it stinks.

    This just goes to show the knee jerk reactions of these headline grabbing legislators. The Downstate Funds are locally managed. Most use professional investment firms and belong to larger funds. Just because the TRS Teachers fund and the State of Illinois Employee Funds have been terribly mismanaged does not indicate the rest are in trouble.

    The STATE funds are UNDER funded because the State has failed to meet its own required matching contributions to the pensions.

    The TRS (Teachers) is in dire shape because the LEGISLATURE approved taking money (stealing) out of the funds and spending it.

    This is the same as spending your IRA or 401 money and then expecting it to be there to retire on.

    These same LEGISLATORS that now blame the employees are the root of the problem.

    If any legislators read this BLOG …leave IMRF alone! If this passes, they will run IMRF dry.

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