Steve Reick Puts a Face on State Pension Problem, Promises Not to Take a Pension, If Elected

Republican State Rep. candidate Steve Reick has been looking at the over $100 billion state pension problem since he first ran against Jack Franks two years ago.

In January, he came up with a new approach, which is outlined below:

If you’re like me, you have a hard time wrapping your head around such amounts.

I therefore thought it would be easier to put the situation into context by showing how much the state is behind on funding the vested pension benefits of one particular career employee.

I scoured the state employee list and came up with a random career employee, and found one Rep. Jack D. Franks (D-Madigan).

Reick points out that Franks is “our typical career state employee, having been a member of the General Assembly for 18 years (9 terms after promising to only run for 3).”

Steve Reick came up with this graphic to

Steve Reick came up with this graphic to describe what State Rep. Jack Franks has at stake in the November election.

If Franks loses the 2016 election, he will be paid 75% of his final year’s salary.

If he wins and serves two more years, the percentage goes up to 85%.

Reick goes on to underestimate the pension payments that Franks will receive.  (“Underestimate,” because he does not include the extra bonus that Franks gets for being chairman of a minor committee.)

You can read his calculations here.  Reick estimates over a $2.5 million lifetime payout.

In a second and more recent article, Reick pledges not to take a legislative pension, if he beats Jack Franks in November:

With all the attention being paid over the kerfuffle about County Board pensions instigated by Local 150 and its Legislative pet snake, I thought this would be a good time to let you know that when I take office in January of 2017, my first order of business will be to decline to take a legislative pension.

Reick ends his March 20th article with this:

Perhaps the state’s pension plans wouldn’t be in the shape they’re in had Franks paid as much attention to them as he’s paying to what’s going on here with the County Board.

I guess we’ll never know, but after 18 years he still refuses to take responsibility for anything that happens in Springfield.


Steve Reick Puts a Face on State Pension Problem, Promises Not to Take a Pension, If Elected — 35 Comments

  1. This post is as good a place as any to put the following:

    There is a lot of ‘noise’ about IMRF, the County Board and Jack Franks.

    Let me remind everyone that you are not up against JUST Jack Franks.

    It is Jack, his daddy, his aunts and uncles, the entire Franks law firm, local and state unions plus the local and state Democrat party.

    Republicans used to be up against Pam Althoff, Mike Tryon and Barb Wheeler and you still may be but their rhetoric in support of Jack has subsided.

    Now that you have let that sink in, think about this: Jack was instrumental in having the voters approve the selection of a Chairman at large.

    Now he is laying the groundwork for HIS County Board.

    He has five solid candidates stepping up this fall.

    In two years he will have more and he will add the frosting in 2020 at which time he will run for County Board Chair.

    Do you really think the attack on County Board members and their participation in IMRF is not intended to get some people to stand aside and not run in 2018?

    Do you think the attack is not intended to discourage other Republicans from running for the job?

    Jack will qualify for full State Pension benefits in 2018 and may not run for State Rep. in 2018 but start campaigning for the County Board Chairman seat which will be filled in 2020.

    We will likely see Mr. Bisset appoint a Democrat to run against Walkup this November.

    The Franks family and friends plus the unions are in this for the long haul.

  2. Not many, ever thought Nygren and Zinke would lose control of the Sheriffs office, but they have.

    It’s now time, for Franks to be voted out of office and the right person for the job is Steve Reick.

    Further, if we the people want to support Governor Ruaner’s agenda for the Illinois Turnaround, Franks must go!

    For the next election, we need the community to do their part again, which means rallying the troops for continued reform in McHenry County.

    Say “NO” to more Franks and Madigan Shenanigans in Springfield, spread the word and vote for Reick!

    Walkup and Reick will not disappoint!

  3. Connecting the Dots is absolutely correct…

    Repulicans in Mchenry County need to stand together now more than ever as we are seen as weak because we are divided….

    If you did not get an invite to the Lincoln Dinner…

    guess what…

    that is not the worst thing that can happen….

    also…just because the former head of the Republican Party in McHenry County..may not have supported your candidate….so what?

    The Democrats are looking at us now and sniffing the wind…

    they think they can smell blood…

    Today is the day we need to stop the blood and consolidate our party…

  4. Yes we need to Unite our party.

    We actually need to grow our party with more people who understand the platform of what being a Republican means and those who won’t abandon it for any reason!

    Let the rest join the Dems if they don’t know what the real Republican platform is all about.

    We may have to put on a united front but we REALLY need to weed out the RINOs, otherwise we’re no better than the democrats and no stronger than we stand right now. (which is, in your words, Jeff “weak”)


    Smaller Govt,

    Running Efficient and Lean

    Standing up to Unions

    Not Taxing & Spending,

    Not voting on Road Projects we can’t afford while we can’t even take care of the roads/infrastructure we’ve got!” and

    Not being in Govt. when you have Conflicts of Interest!

    NO Nepotism & Patronage Hiring!

    Giving and Serving the People, Not What can this position
    GIVE ME! (my family, my friends, my campaign workers etc)

    Until we can weed the ones that don’t follow this formula, we have weakness of the worst kind, not weakness in unity or numbers, but weakness of morals, principals, transparency, ethics, common sense and LEADERSHIP!

    Get it together Republicans and only put up people with these traits or forever be doomed by growing weaker by the year.

  5. I love how this blog bemoans Jack’s investigation of the board for pension malpractice and in the same breath attacks Jack for clearly earning his!

  6. Illinois total budget this year is 87.5 billion dollars, if Reick’s calculations are correct, Jack’s total liability will be negligible.

    Hey Mark – can you do the calculation for me?

    I have bigger fish to fry!

  7. It would be nice if Mr. Franks represented taxpayers at large as much as he represents the IUOE and other unions.


    There are plenty of issues surrounding the IMRF investigation into the number of hours worked by McHenry County Board members, which just happened to pass a resolution supporting Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, and just happen to be of a different political party than Democrat State Representative Jack Franks.

    The McHenry County Board investigation was prompted by the IUOE union which apparently got State Democrat State Representative Jack Franks involved.

    Which is not surprising since IUOE is one of many unions that have contributed over $800,000 to Jack Franks political action committees since Mr. Franks began campaigning for State Representative in 1998.


    Regarding the county passing the 1,000 hour requirement for Board members to work per year, there are so many issues regarding that witch hunt.

    Just for understanding and documentation, since the class 3 felony is not listed in the IMRF pension code, what part of the pension code is the Class 3 felony listed.

    In his letter to the McHenry County State’s Attorney, Jack Franks includes that IMRF finds it hard to believe (or whatever the verbiage was) that county board members can work 600 hours per year much less 1,000 hours per year….why was an investigation not conducted by IMRF previously among all counties since a potential violation is listed…what about investigating the county board members in other counties that contribute to IMRF.

    How about looking at all the 20 public sector pension systems in Illinois and the number of hours its members are required to work to qualify for a pension.

    Has anyone ever heard of a public sector pension fund in Illinois auditing the number of hours its members work…where are those examples.

    Are state legislators required to work a minimum number of hours per year to qualify for their pension?

    How about University Professors on sabbatical, they still accrue pension benefits? – they are not even working by definition of being on sabbatical.

    How about teachers released from teaching duty by school boards to do full-time union, why are they accruing pension benefits doing work for a private union; are their hours being audited.

    How about all the private employers in public sector pension funds, why should taxpayers contribute to public sector pensions for private sector employees…how about booting them out of the pension system Mr. Franks…where’s that investigation…or at least closing it to new members because it seems in Illinois, or so it’s claimed, once the employee is in the pension system, they can’t be kicked out, unless they commit a felony.

    In fact even if a pension error is found, if the error goes against the employee, in Illinois, the error can’t be fixed if that employee is in the pension system.

    Who accrues bigger pension benefits per year, a part-time teacher or administrator in the TRS pension fund, or a county board member in the IMRF pension fund whom works 600 or 1,000 hours per year…considering the amount the employee contributes to the fund and the payout.

    There are so many areas of public sector pensions that can be explored, yet Jack Franks just happens to find only one, that being the pensions of the opposite political party which are also the pensions of his campaign contributor, the IUOE union.

    If Jack Franks was really looking out for the taxpayers at large, why did he vote for repeated legislative pension benefit hikes to pensions that were already underfunded.

    Why does he not advocate scaling back those hikes.

    Why does he not advocate repealing the pension sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution in 1970, in particular since the sentence did not protect the viability of the pension systems yet put the systems at risk of legislative pension benefit hikes while the pensions were already underfunded.

    The list goes on and on.

  8. Mark,
    To answer you’re last three questions, if you were a genius, you would have short the housing market in 2008 and walked away a billionaire.

    Yet, you didn’t Mark, and neither did Jack Franks.

    Why did legislators vote for pension benefit hikes back in the day?

    Because they never foresaw a pension crisis that was exasorbated by the 2008 housing bubble bursting.

    You and Steve Wilson can claim to be fiscal scions, but the simple truth is BOTH you didn’t see that crisis coming so it seems pretty petty to hypocritically criticize Franks for not seeing it either!

    Lastly, why repeal the amendment?

    Because that was the basis for the courts striking down pension legislation.

    Come to the middle Mark!

    When you see things from both sides, it starts to make sense!

  9. ‘Moderate’ has a selective memory.

    EVEN George Bush and other Republicans in Congress saw it (the housing crisis) coming but the Democrats stopped all attempts to avoid it.

    A fact which liberals love to ignore.

    Republicans have moved to the middle and even to the liberal side.

    That is why the taxpayers are supporting Cruz and Trump.

    Insofar as repealing the Constitutional guarantee for public sector pensions and a three percent per year increase, a second grader can tell you that when taxpayers can no longer afford that luxury, something must change.

  10. Simple math:

    if you fully fund an annuity calibrated to pay pension amount of full salary $200,000 per year for a life expectancy of 35 years, then you rapidly raise the salary to $250,000 per year, is the shortage in annuity funding ‘foreseeable’?

    Put another way, if you go purchase an annuity for $200,000 a year for life, then go back to the annuity fund and ask for $250,000 per year for life, and indicate that you will be back in a few years demanding $300,000 for life…
    isn’t that a foreseeable event which demands a workable plan from the get-go?

    The additional funding needed to pay the additional annuity entitlement pricetag each year that public salaries rise far in excess of inflation (inflation and investment returns are correlated) is not covered in the ‘the- stock -market- crashed’ argument.

    Historical data indicate a recession AT LEAST once per decade, so money managers of pension funds are charged with prudent hedging responsibilities.

    There is a very obvious solution being completely ignored:
    Given that the Law DEMANDS all Illinois employees have certain entitlements, Illinois (schools, governments) cannot legally afford to have so many employees and comply with the law.

    Illinois schools and public government employers must fire some number (2/3 is my rough calculation) of all public employees, and retain only those FTEs who can be legally paid all they are entitled to receive.

    If remaining employees feel overburdened they are free to quit and take what pensions have vested.

    I’m betting there will be ample applicants for open positions.

  11. We also need to end step increases in salary which serve to maximize pay at retirement and, hence, pensions. Salary increases for reasons other than inflation should only come when an employee takes on additional responsibilities. That’s the way things work in the real world.

    We might not be allowed to diminish or impair pensions, but we can and should do everything possible to minimize the salary they are based upon.

  12. Lol Connecting Dots just took the title away from Duncan Mchenry as the most diluted person in this blog.

  13. @Moderate, If you think that Jack Franks retirement benefit is a drop in the bucket then add up all the state legislatures retirement and see what that gets you.

    All the exorbitant amount of pensions given to Legislatures, CTA, Teachers, Road Commissioners, on and on.

    The county boards retirement from what I have read and seen is $200-$300 a month at age 65 if they stay in after 10 yrs.

    That is not controlled by the state budget or tax payers at all.

    That is a drop in the bucket compared to Franks and Illinois Legislators.

  14. “Moderate” did you know that it is a crime for a Police Officer to commit an offense under the “COLOR OF LAW?”

    In other words, it is a criminal offense for a Police Officer to commit a crime while on duty?

    In fact, it is a Federal Offense.

    You just never know when some guy could ask his police buddies in State and out of State to commit crimes thinking they would never get caught…lol…

    Ask Pyle, he’s not having very much fun sitting there in Federal Prison.

    For those responsible, throw them in prison and throw away the Key!

  15. Here is more from the ‘diluted’ commenter!

    For clarification, there is no difference between Operating Engineers Local 150 and the Democrat party.

    Does 150 contribute a few nickels to some candidates running as Republicans?

    Yes.- because they are really Democrats.

    Local 150 is p.o.’d because the County Board voted against Prevailing wage AND supported the Rauner Agenda.

    Their solution?

    Sue the Board (the taxpayers elected representatives).

    Jack Franks appears to be laying the foundation for a Democrat controlled County Board so he can be anointed as their chairman in 2020..

    What does he do?

    First he tries to divide the County Board with the idiotic (my opinion) Township Consolidation proposal – Schofield paid the price.

    Now he is trying to divide the Board with his idiotic (my opinion) charge of illegal participation in IMRF.

    He is (again, my opinion) a fool.

    When you sign up for IMRF as a county Board member, it simply states you must meet the requirement of 1,000 hours participating in Board member related functions every year.

    Not only that, but you are not eligible for a pension unless you have participated for ten years.

    How many Board members spent less than ten years and simply got back what they paid into IMRF?

    I do have a question, if a Board member is refunded what they put in, is the County (taxpayer) refunded the amount the County put in?

    So, what evidence is being used to back up Jack’s charge?

    A spreadsheet which consists of the hours of meetings in which the Board member participated as a MEMBER.

    No consideration was given to Board members who sit in on committee meetings as a representative of their constituents (Board members who do sit in frequently actively participate).

    No consideration was given to time spent at ZBA hearings. I wonder how many Board member hours were spent with the nuns from Coral Township? No consideration was given to time spent researching constituent complaints / questions or the packets distributed prior to meetings.

    Jack Franks even highlighted in his complaint that some Board members participate via telephone.

    Well, Jack I remember reading the minutes from the last State Government

    Consolidation effort and you participated via telephone, did you not?

  16. Well bringing up the housing bubble, more specifically, subprime mortgage bubble, is an appropriate comparison.

    We are now in a public sector debt + unfunded liability bubble.

    Both involved implicit and explicit guarantees the government would honor obligations that were not appropriately scrutinized and were not sustainable.

    For example people like Jack Franks ignored basic financial principles and hiked pension and retiree healthcare benefits while pensions and retiree healthcare were already underfunded.

  17. News Flash!

    The road to recovery and reform In McHenry County and Illinois, means that Jack Franks is Voted out of office!

    Reick, has already made it clear that he is willing to work with Governor Rauner.

  18. Mark,
    There is no bubble. The only way the pension system implodes is if it is deliberately unfunded by yiur party or everyone retires at the same time.

    And you still have addressed the main point being legislators – just like the banks – failed to see a real estate collapse.

    I don’t see you complaining about rebuild Illinois and how the legislators deliberately underfunded the pension system in order to pay for roads.

    The teachers are at fault, the politicians are at fault, the people are at fault.

    Everyone who helped prop up in artificially bloated system is at fault.

    And it’s ridiculous to try and place culpability or blame on one single party or politician.

    Look back at my comments Mark, I don’t blame George Ryan anymore then I blame Rod Blago.

  19. Well you should blame Rod more than George.

    At the end of his term George was cutting back. He was announcing the closing of marginal facilities.

    Rod held rallies near those sites (I drove by a rally of AFSCME workers in Canton in 2002 after an interview at the newspaper) and kept them open when he won.

    Rod raised expenditures about a billion a year while he was in office.

    Think of how much better off we would be if expenditures had been held constant.

  20. Cal,

    George wasn’t cutting because he saw a housing bubble.

    That’s my point.

    It’s disingenuous to argue otherwise.

    But you are right, Blago spent money where the state shouldn’t have and he was playing politics with All Kids and Seniors RX.

  21. Jack Franks repeatedly voted for legislative pension and retiree healthcare benefit hikes to underfunded pensions and retiree healthcare, which is inexcusable.

    Public sector unions lobbied politicians to do so.

    As part of the solution, the way out is to repeal in its entirety the pension sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution on December 15, 1970.

    And claw back some of the hiked benefits.

    Because the pension sentence did not result in better funded pensions, it instead allowed politicians to continue hiking pension benefits while pensions were already underfunded, a practice which escalated after the sentence was added to the state constitution.


    The TRS document, Evolution of the TRS Benefit Structure, lists the legislative pension benefit hikes.

    Every single one of those benefit hikes was done while the pension was already underfunded.

    14 pages of legislative pension benefit hikes.

    Most of those benefit hikes occurred before the housing bubble.

    That’s just one of 20 pension systems in Illinois.

    It is the Illinois Pension Scam.


    Jack Franks had a role in the Illinois Pension Scam as a legislator who hiked pension benefits while pensions were already underfunded.

    Ditto retiree healthcare.

    The result is pensions that are unsustainable.

  22. In terms of attempting to blame the underfunded pension problems on the housing bubble.

    Here are investment gains (losses) from the period around the housing bubble and afterwards.

    2007 – $6,831,324,436
    2008 – ($2,014,902,366)
    2009 – ($8,688,285,511)
    2010 – $3,679,642,960
    2011 – $7,234,539,490
    2012 – $0,224,106,719
    2013 – $4,561,768,383
    2014 – $6,782,031,720

    Yes, the fund did suffer, but the pension problems are not due to the housing bubble.

    Here are the TRS benefit payments during that time period.

    2007 – $3,111,752,675
    2008 – $3,423,981,732
    2009 – $3,653,713,951
    2010 – $3,927,838,363
    2011 – $4,228,282,978
    2012 – $4,553,822,073
    2013 – $4,893,084,234
    2014 – $5,225,206,828


    TRS is just 1 of 20 pension systems in Illinois.

  23. Ryan was cutting back way before the housing bubble.

    He left office in January 2003.

  24. Yes Cal.

    And I would challenge and assertion it was because he saw a bubble.

  25. And Mark, isn’t Franks trying to repeal the amendment?

    So what’s your problem?

  26. Jack Franks is not attempting to repeal in its entirety the pension sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution on December 15, 1970.

    That would require a House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) or Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (SJRCA).

    HJRCA 0009 is filed in the 99th General Assembly to do that.

    It has two sponsors.

    Republican State Representatives Joe Sosnowski (Rockford – 69th District) and Tom Morrison (Palatine – 54th District).

    HJRCA 9 was referred to the House Rules committee on January 23, 2015 where it remains.

    So Jack Franks is not attempting to repeal the pension sentence added to the State Constitution.

    And Mr. Franks is against Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda.

    So exactly how is Mr. Franks proposing to generate revenue to pay for all the underfunded pension and retiree healthcare hikes he’s helped pass over the years.

    There’s no sustainable plan to fund all 20 pension systems + the retiree healthcare systems and there never was.

    They are a scam and they are unsustainable.

    Major unfunded mandates.


    In terms of national and state debt + unfunded liabilities, the the US National Debt Clock and Truth in Accounting are a few good resources to begin understanding the problem at the US and States level.

    The debt & unfunded liability problem extends to international though.


    The percentage increase in TRS benefit payments from 2007 – 2014 from the above chart is 68%, from $3,111,752,675 to $5,225,206,828, a difference of $2,113,454,153.

    TRS = Teachers Retirement System of the State of Illinois, the largest pension fund in the 20 public sector pension systems in Illinois.


    The hikes were never explained to the people in the first place, much less the fact the hikes were to pensions and retiree healthcare systems that were already underfunded, much less many if not most of the hikes were unfunded mandates.

    A completely dysfunctional legislative process which should have been illegal, instead there is a sentence in the state constitution that the benefits are contractual and cannot be diminished or impaired.

    That’s the worst written contract ever.

    1,000 + pages of Illinois Pension Code.


    Attempting to blame the problem on housing bubble is nonsense.

  27. Attempting to blame it solely on the contract is insane Mark.

    You talk a lot, but in all your research, you are missing the complexity of the issue.

    If explaining the pension mess were a bag of skittles, you’re very keen to point out that red and yellow exist, but deny that orange is even a color or flavor.

    Yes Mark, it was a bad deal, Yes Mark, there were pension holidays – which Jack Franks passed legislation to stop – and yes Mark, the housing bubble exasorbated the problem.

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