Tuesday night at his Town Hall Meeting in Algonquin, Democratic Party McHenry County Board Chairman candidate Jack Franks spoke harshly about McHenry County Board members taking pensions “for part-time work.”
He told of the Governor’s signing of his bill to ban future county board members (statewide) from participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
He did not point out that all winning non-incumbent Republican County Board candidates pledged during their primary election campaigns not to join the IMRF pension system and the County Board removed itself from the pension system as of the end of November when terms expire.
It seems obvious that the County Board’s withdrawal from the pension system can be credited to Franks’ criticism.
The issue of County Board members taking pensions, however, was brought to the fore by the District 1 candidacies of David Stieper and Andrew Gasser.
Stieper’s campaign featured the image of a gravy train you see here.
Upon his swearing in, Gasser refused to sign the IMRF application given to every new member.
Subsequently, Gasser urged Franks to refuse his annual $58,600 pension for eighteen years in his “part-time” legislative gig.
At the Tuesday Algonquin Town Hall Meeting, Franks said he had talked to IMRF Director Louis Kosiba and urged him to “go back as far as the income tax statute of limitations [would allow] and ask for affidavits for all years” [affidavits to show the number of hours worked, 1,000 per year being what IMFR rules require].
Kosiba apparently didn’t listen to Franks, because he did not follow his advice.
Maybe that is an indication that retiring state legislators have less power than they did would have if they running for re-election.
Today the Daily Herald updates the situation now that the bill has become law in an article entitled,
Director Kosiba explained that, while he had asked the Board members for time sheets, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that County Board members had not worked 1,000 hours each year, considering the time members spent preparing for for meetings and other out of courthouse business.
“We had to weigh all of that, and we came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to prove a negative,” Kosiba told the Daily Herald.
Daily Herald reporter Lauren Rohr wrote,
“Before a new law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner last week, county board members’ requirements for IMRF participation statewide were somewhat ambiguous, Kosiba said. Rather than tracking their hours, he said, board members’ eligibility was based on the expectation of time spent in their county positions.”
Time sheets will be required by IMRF from the date of the bill signing through the end of November when the McHenry County Board leaves the pension system.