Appearing apparently from the head of McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks is a resolution for next Wednesday’s Human Resources Committee that would end pensions for all countywide officials.
Franks certainly wants citizens to think that he led, whether he did ot not, the effort to kill pensions for County Board members.
He certainly played a determining role whether it was his idea or not.
In return, the County Board made sure that the incoming County Board Chairman–whether Republican or Democrat–would not received a pension.
The motion abolishing County Board pensions included the Chairman to be elected at-large.
GOP candidate Mike Walkup voted for the motion.
So, Franks is the only countywide elected official not eligible for an Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension.
IMRF is the best funded public pension fund in the state.
Franks, however, has eighteen years in the General Assembly Retirement System, for which he is, like I am eligible for a generous pension.
GARS is funded at only 13.5%.
In 1998 (Franks took office in January of 1999), the funding percentage was 41.7%.
Franks has not offered to give up the legislative pension to which he is eligible and, while he was in the General Assembly, he apparently was unsuccessful in appropriately funding his and my pension fund.
None of of the countywide elected officials are independently wealthy, as is Franks.
It is a tactic of rich candidates, officials and wannabe candidates to call for, propose or impose cuts in compensation for less well-to-do opponents.
That decreases the pool of potential opponents.
We’ll see if a majority of the County Board go along with his plan to encourage ordinary citizens not to run for office.
I is unknown if any other Illinois county denies its Sheriff, State’s Attorney, Auditor, Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Treasurer and Coroner pensions.
Franks has been chaffing at being told that the office of County Board Chairman is not equal to that of the other officials elected countywide.
He has stated more than once if the others can decide whom to hire, then he should be able to do so as well.
What he, as an attorney, cannot seem to comprehend is that the others are specifically mentioned in the 1970 State Constitution, which his office is not.
Court cases in which county boards have tried to micromanage the offices of “constitutional” elected county officials have led to decisions saying that county boards may decide how much such officials may have to spend, but can’t tell them how to spend it.