McHenry County Judicial Watch

Retired Maureen McIntyre

Judge Robert Wilbrandt

Courthouse sources say that three Circuit Court Judges will retire this year.

One has already done so–Mareen McIntyre.

She was replaced by Associate Judge Robert Wilbrandt, who, in a previous life, was McHenry County Public Defender.

Judge Michael Caldwell

Michael Caldwell’s yard sign.

Another Judge said to be retiring is Michael Caldwell.

Gary Pack’s yard sign.

He defeated State’s Attorney Gary Pack for seat.

Caldwell garnered 50% of the vote against the sitting State’s Attorney.

The vote was 16,381 to 10,856.

The final one folks are speculating might retire is Chief Judge Michael Sullivan.

Of course, that rumor has been proven false before.

Speculation has been sparked this year because Judge Sullivan is not assigned to a courtroom.

Sullivan was appointed an Associate Circuit Court Judge in 1976 and was elected Circuit Court Judge in 1984.

He has been Chief Judge since 2006.

Since judges max out on their pension in twenty years, it is obvious that Judge Sullivan is not remaining in office to increase his pension.

Chief Judge Michael Sullivan


McHenry County Judicial Watch — 16 Comments

  1. The judges’ pension is based on final salary and credited service.

    So if the salary increases, then the pension increases.


    The judges pension is officially named the Judges’ Retirement System of Illinois (JRS).

    It is one of the five “state” pension funds along with:

    – Teachers Retirement System of Illinois (TRS)

    – State Employees Retirement System (SERS)

    – State University Retirement System (SURS)

    – General Assembly Retirement System (GARS)


    The state pension systems are massively underfunded which means, if they are to be paid in full, big future tax hikes, service cuts, or some combination thereof.

    There is no meaningful proposed legislation that has a chance of passing in the current General Assembly to solve the problem.

    Every legislation that has been done or is being attempted (and has a chance of passing) is chipping at the fringes of the existing problem, which is benefits were hiked while pensions were already underfunded.

    That is akin to charging a credit card while carrying a balance.

    It was done repeatedly since the inception of the pension systems, and escalated after the pension sentence was added to the state constitution.

    Thus the most notable result of the pension sentence was hiked pension benefits which were then protected for the life of anyone employed while that benefit was in place.

    That is part of the Illinois Pension Scam.

    The workers and unions publicly complained the pensions were not being fully funded, while behind the scenes passed legislation that hiked pension benefits, which worsened the under funding.

    That is dysfunctional legislation and deception.

  2. A point of clarification.

    Employees beginning their career January 1, 2011 or after receive Tier II benefits.

    Tier II benefits are reduced.

    So the taxpayer problem is employees who began their career prior to January 1, 2011 receive the benefit hikes mentioned in the above comment, which are now known as Tier I benefits.

  3. 22nd Circuit Court Judges


    Maureen McIntyre

    2015 – $188,076

    2014 – $185,010


    Robert Wilbrandt (Robert A Wilbrandt)

    2015 – $178,647

    2014 – $175,736


    Michael Caldwell (Michael T Caldwell)

    2015 – $188,076

    2014 – $185,011


    Michael Sullivan (Michael J Sullivan)

    2015 – $188,076

    2014 – $185,010

  4. 22nd Circuit Court Judges


    Sharon Prather

    2015 – $188,076

    2014 – $185,011


    John Bolger (John D Bolger)

    Associate Judge

    2015 – $178,647

    2014 – $175,736


    Charles Weech (Charles P Weech)

    2015 – $188,076

    2014 – $185,011


    Source: Open the Books


    Widget > State > Salaries > Recipient Name > Illinois

    In the recipient name box

    type last name

    leave a space

    then type first name

    then click on the Search button

  5. Its not funny anymore that the vast majority of us people who are working in the private industries dont have retirement/pensions anymore where all these government people live a cushy life on our backs.

    Its time to get them on the 401K plans like the rest of us.

  6. taxedtodeath: Unfortunately that will likely not change until THEY run out of OUR money.

  7. Does one have to be an attorney to become a judge ?

    If not, I may apply for the vacancy.

    BTW, one need NOT be an attorney to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

  8. Even if every existing state, county, and local government employee were converted to a 401K tomorrow, we would still have a big problem paying the pensions, due to benefits accrued through today that would be paid through the lifespan of existing employees and retirees.

    The state pensions on average are about 40% funded.

    That means 60% of the money that should be in the investment funds, is not in the investment funds.

    The taxpayers owe the 60% to the fund, which is about $120 billion dollars.

    The portion of the state budget which expends the majority of state tax revenues is called the General Fund.

    The state General Fund budget for an entire year is around $35 billion.

    Those are rough numbers.

    This is a very big taxpayer problem caused by politicians and government employees not being upfront with the taxpayers.

    It’s an abuse of power.

  9. Without the pension benefits not many qualified lawyers would take the job.

    On the other hand, is there were no pension benefits the salary would need to be considerably higher.

    In the case of McHenry County judges Sullivan, Prather, Bolger, Caldwell all could have retired years ago and be collecting pension benefits, but they choose to forego pensions and keep working. Many lawyers work til they die.Same with the Supreme Court!

  10. Mark, I agree but it would be a start and a fix for the long term.

    Short term is another story.

  11. There are far more law school graduates than there are jobs that require a JD. Most of the judges are making more money sitting on the bench than they could make practicing law in the private sector.

    The process of becoming a judge in this state is highly political, and the people who became judges generally don’t have the best academic or legal qualifications.

    Even the Illinois Supreme Court is a rather unimpressive lot.

    Name Party Joined Term Ends District Law school attended
    Thomas L. Kilbride Democratic 2000 2020 3rd Antioch School of Law
    Charles E. Freeman Democratic 1990 2020 1st John Marshall Law School
    Robert R. Thomas Republican 2000 2020 2nd Loyola University Chicago School of Law
    Mary Jane Theis Democratic 2010 2022 1st University of San Francisco
    Rita B. Garman Republican 2001 2022 4th University of Iowa College of Law
    Lloyd A. Karmeier (Chief Justice) Republican 2004 2024 5th University of Illinois College of Law
    Anne M. Burke Democratic 2006 2018 1st Chicago-Kent College of Law

    Only two of these law schools, Iowa and Illinois, are considered first tier, and neither of them are at the top of the first tier.

    Kent and Loyola are middle of the road schools, and the other three are in the bottom tier.

    The only reason that any of these people are on the bench is that they were politically connected, or in the case of Bob Thomas, a former placekicker for the Bears.

  12. Billy Bob what do you know about how much a lawyer makes in the private sector.

    As far as your assessment of the law schools I think you need to look at the quality of education that these schools produce.

    You do not know what you are talking about.

    Are you an attorney who is just a bottom feeder and jealous or just jealous and have nothing positive to add any way.

    Either way why dont you use some of your negative points on something you know something about.

  13. No, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t play one on TV.

    My dad was a senior partner at one of the larger law firms in Chicago, and I have friends and other family members who are lawyers.

    I have a very good idea of what lawyers make, and what the job market is like for graduates of bottom tier law schools.

    Many of them can not even find employment in a job that requires a JD.

  14. I have seen most of the judges in action.

    Most are intelligent and good at their jobs.

    Some are incredibly stupid and couldn’t run a hot dog stand.

    There have been corrupt judges in McHenry County in the past and some of the present ones have made questionable decisions.

    There isn’t one who deserves the retirement they receive.

    Not one.

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