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.
“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.