In an October 2, 2017, letter from Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Executive Director Louis Kosiba, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks is told that removing countywide elected officials is unconstitutional
“It cannot be abrogated by a belief that a certain segment of IMRF participants should not participate,” Kosiba informs Franks.
“Participation in IMRF is a protected constitutional right,” he continues.
Yet Franks told the Northwest Herald in an article published today that he will put such a resolution on the October 17th Board agenda.
Then the NWH prints the following paragraph as if it were factual when IMRF says it is not:
If passed by the County Board, the resolution will remove Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund eligibility for the offices of county board chairman, state’s attorney, county clerk, circuit clerk, treasurer, auditor, recorder, coroner and sheriff.
The IMRF letter brings into question the legality of the precedent that Franks cites as authority–the resolution passed to take County Board members out of IMRF.
That resolution included prohibition of IMRF participation by the incoming at-large elected County Board Chairman, who turned out to be Franks.
IMRF interpreted that action as the County Board saying that its members did not work 1,000 hours each year, the letter states.
While Kosiba admits that a resolution from the Board would be considered by his IMRF Board, if the affected officials submitted affidavits stating they worked 1,000 hours a year, the Board would not dismiss them from it pension system.
The deciding issue is whether the IMRF Board thinks the countywide elected officials work 1,000 hours, not how the County Board votes.
The IMRF Executive Director goes further, writing,
“I also think disqualifying these positions from IMRF would be detrimental to good government.
We all want hard working dedicated public servants who serve citizens in an efficient business-like manner. ..
Why would Illinois want to treat those “elected department heads” different from the staffs they lead?…
“Cancelling” pension rights will not help achieve the good government you seek.
Kisiba then suggests if Franks really wants to strip elected officials of their pension rights he should seek legislative change.
It should be noted that Franks did just that for Regional Transportation Board and County Board members when State Representative, but did not make such an attempt for the nine countywide elected officials he seeks to strip of the pension fringe benefit.
The text of the letter follows: