The following was first published the day before the March 15th Primary Election, but, in view of the County Board meeting of last night, I think it is worth repeating:
I have been so inundated that two topics that deserve thoughtful consideration haven’t been covered.
One of them is the practice of McHenry County Board members getting pensions.
David Stieper and Andrew Gasser brought up the topic during the 2014 Republican Primary Election. (Link also has total compensation for County Board members for 2013-14.)
Gasser and Stieper were both endorsed by the Northwest Herald, whose Editorial Board just recently came out against County Board members having pensions.
Stieper dedicated a mailing to to the subject two years ago, the front of which you can see below:
Stieper was trying to derail the train that State Rep. Jack Franks has just recently noticed.
Franks’ staff has done some original research.
They have calculated how many hours County Board members have spent in Board and committee meetings.
You can see those calculations below:
Four Board members do not participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension system:
- Andrew Gasser (Did not sign up for the pension after elected.)
- Don Kopsell (Receiving IMRF pension from time as Nunda Township Road Commissioner)
- Bob Nowak (Receiving IMRF pension from time working for the Village of Cary)
- Jeff Thorsen (Did not sign up for the pension after appointed.)
There is one Board member–Robert Martens–who may be off the hook.
Look at his sign-up sheet for IMRF:
Franks asked McHenry County State’s Attorney to appoint a special prosecutor.
That means to me that Franks thinks there has been criminal misconduct.
A prosecutor would have to prove that the County Board members whom Franks presumably wants indicted did not work 1,000 hours.
It seems to me that it will be quite difficult to prove a negative.
In fact, the way I have heard it, people say, “You can’t prove a negative.”
Nevertheless, if I were a County Board member, I would be more than a little nervous, if I couldn’t prove that I worked 1,000 hours a year.
Now I know that people run for public office for three reasons–the “three P’s,” as the Field Director of the Republican National Committee explained to a Jacksonville campaign management school I attending in the late 1960’s when I was McHenry County Treasurer.
Here are the “Three P’s”:
- Pecuniary (that is, money)
Certainly, there are members of the County Board and candidates who are motivated by the compensation (including health insurance and pension benefits).
So, what should the McHenry County Board do?
I’m assuming that anyone elected for the first time this year will be smart enough not to sign up for IMRF pension benefits.
But what should incumbents do?
Discussion should be had with attorneys about how to extricate themselves from what seems to be something like a tar baby that Rep. Franks has brought into the room.
They are unlike to escape as easily from a civil courtroom briar patch as Brer Rabbit did from the thorns into which Brer Fox tossed him.
It is my guess that if any of the incumbents end up in a courtroom, it will cost more than their pension would pay for a very, very long time.
Maybe it would be best to find a way to withdraw from IMRF before any benefits are paid.