Craig Wilcox Proposes Legal Approach to Accomplish Jack Franks’ Illegal Proposal to Abolition Pensions of Countywide Elected Officials

A press release from McHenry County Board members Craig Wilcox, who is running for the GOP nomination for State Senate:

Wilcox: Alternative Pension Solution More Binding

McHENRY, IL – Retired Air Force Colonel and current McHenry County Board Member Craig Wilcox is proposing an effective solution to reducing pension costs in McHenry County.

Many County Board members and the IMRF Executive Director have concerns that Chairman Jack Franks sponsored resolution is not legally binding and runs counter to Illinois Pension Code.

Col Wilcox offers a legal and binding way to accomplish reducing pension costs.

Col Wilcox campaigned on a platform to lessen the tax burden on property owners and reduce unsustainable costs of state pension systems and his proposal remains within County Board authorities to set salary schedules, and will create a significant disincentive for elected officials to participate in the IMRF system.

This is critical because the Illinois Pension Code does not grant County Boards the authority to remove other elected officials from IMRF Eligibility.

This was clearly stated by the IMRF Exec Dir in an Oct 2, 2017 letter to the McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks.

Col Wilcox proposes replacing the Resolution to Terminate IMRF Eligibility instead with a two-tiered salary structure.

He proposes setting

  • one salary amount for elected officials who refuse to enroll into IMRF, and
  • a significantly lower salary amount for elected officials who do enroll in IMRF.

The theory is to create a salary disincentive for enrolling in the pension program.

The example provided by Colonel Wilcox shows how it would take effect in regards to the McHenry County Clerk position.

This example is used because the County Board must set the salary for the position in advance of the 2018 Election cycle.

The McHenry County Clerk’s current salary is $109,465.

The county contributes an additional $11,275 to the IMRF system.

The proposal sets a new salary at $104,750 for a clerk who does not enroll in IMRF, and a salary of $90,000 for a clerk who enrolls in IMRF.

The proposal saves $20,000 annually for an enrollee in IMRF, and saves the county $11,000 annually for a non-enrollee on top of the future pension payouts earned.

This two-tiered structure creates a salary disincentive for newly elected officials to enroll in IMRF, similar to the choices the current McHenry County Sheriff, Recorder, and Coroner all have made.

The toughest challenge regarding IMRF is once a person is enrolled in IMRF there is no easy removal option for that individual, or pathway for the County Board to remove them.

The Wilcox proposal immediately impacts elected officials who win election in 2018, and would be emphasized again in 2019 when salaries are set in time for the 2020 election positions like Circuit Clerk, Auditor, and Coroner.

Craig Wilcox

“For 24 years I made tough decisions while serving our nation and I have brought that commitment to our County Board. Cutting someones possible salary to offset pension costs is difficult, but we need to start somewhere,” Wilcox said.

“The County Board started this process last year removing themselves from IMRF, and this option continues that trend.

“The two-tiered structure protects an individual’s choice regarding IMRF, but focuses on the goal of having zero elected officials in IMRF in McHenry.

“For decades, the policies coming out of Springfield, including the code that controls IMRF, have not reflected our values in McHenry.

“Government has overspent and under delivered.

“We see politicians serving themselves, instead of our families. Insiders receive special deals while our taxes skyrocket.

“It is time for your McHenry elected officials to set the example, and start addressing these concerns.

“Ultimately, we need to propose changes to state statute that make dis-enrolling from IMRF possible, and sets pension expectations that won’t drown our state.

“Families are fleeing Illinois because those in charge have failed to pass policies that reflect our values.

“As your County Board member I promised to bring bold solutions, strong ethics and a commitment to transparency to McHenry.

“Illinois as a whole needs lower taxes, less regulation, and leaders committed to passing desperately needed reforms.

“My goal has always been to bring my integrity, leadership experience, and success in the military to serve the pressing needs of our communities.

“All levels of government in Illinois need reform and implementing the values of integrity, service, and excellence would be a good place to start.”

About Colonel Craig Wilcox

Craig retired from the US Air Force after 24 years of faithful service and chose McHenry, Illinois as his new home, joining Janice Ricci and kids, Joey, Alissa & Briana.

He quickly became a leader in the local community, speaking at multiple Veterans events, helping to coordinate the Chamber Veterans Breakfasts, volunteering as a librarian at St John the Baptist Catholic School while also serving on the Education Commission.

Craig, Janice, and Joey raised funds and chaperoned an Honor Flight trip, taking World War II and Korean War Veterans to visit their memorials in Washington D.C. Craig is an affiliate member of Heartland REALTOR® Organization and supports Janice in her career as a full-time Realtor. Now more than ever we need a strong advocate like Craig Wilcox in Springfield.


Craig Wilcox Proposes Legal Approach to Accomplish Jack Franks’ Illegal Proposal to Abolition Pensions of Countywide Elected Officials — 10 Comments

  1. Until IL Constitution is amended removing pension language, the Colonel is pissing up a rope.

    It will gain no legal or legislative traction but makes for a good campaign tag line.

  2. “The county contributes an additional $11,275 to the IMRF system.”

    Does the County pay the total IMRF contribution, employer and employee portions?

    It appears so, as IMRF total contribution is about 10% to 11% depending on the gov agency.

    A nice little $5k bennie.

    $104,750 is about the taxable income now if the Clerk contributes the employee portion to IMRF.

    Perhaps more light who pays the IMRF and a better explanation on the savings would be appropriate?

  3. NWH today:

    McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks says he won’t run for Illinois attorney general

    The local Fun and Games are still on.

    Wow Baby!

  4. I don’t know if that would be legal as it penalizes people for taking the pension.

    There would need to be an SA opinion on that.

  5. The “round mound” wants to control who gets to make money off YOU the taxpayer by being able to dictate which bank carries the taxpayer dollars.

    He will go after Palmer and Miller to get them voted out of office and replaced by someone he can control.

    The two of them could take the wind out of the “round mound’s” sails by filing a lawsuit to have themselves removed from IMRF.

    He is going after them on the basis that they are enrolled in a pension plan.

    The “round mound” already controls the majority on the Board and has to date successfully forced two of his opponents from running for a position on the Board.

    He plays chess while his opponents play checkers.

    Note that the Colonel’s proposal does not change current IMRF participants but applies to all newly elected people.

    The mistake was made when political office holders were given pensions.

    Just like it was a mistake to make this State a Sanctuary State – we, the taxpayers, alwaysfoot the bill.

    Here is something to think about:

    Who do you think is going to better represent you or even want to want to run for political office?

    – a candidate who is dependent on their future pension (a candidate already enrolled in IMRF)

    OR – a candidate not enrolled in IMRF but being offered a higher salary in lieu of a pension?

    OR – a candidate nor enrolled in IMRF but being offered the lower salary?

    Personally, I believe we, the People have very poor choices during elections.

    Who wants to work in an environment controlled by a “round mound” or a “Madigan”?

    Who wants to work in an environment that is tainted by corruption and successful candidates are inundated by lobbyists / ‘takers’ and exposed to ‘staff’ that ostracizes them if they do actually work on behalf of us – the taxpayers?

    Until we start finding and electing ‘good’ / honest candidates with a working spine / brain, the demise of our once Great Republic will continue unabated.

    Great example is the County Board D-6.

    The voters chose Kearns and McCann over Ersel Schuster and Kelly Liebmann – anyone regret their vote yet?

  6. I think this proposal would pass legal muster, although I’m not sure I’d want to rely on some of the Bozos at the SA’s Office to give a definitive legal opinion.

    You can either look at this proposal as penalizing people for participating in the pension plan, or else as offering people a bonus for not participating.

    If an office holder never enrolls in a pension plan, than he or she has no benefits to be impaired or diminished.

  7. Someone in the state would likely sue the county if such a measure is passed, claiming it violates the state and local public sector pension & retiree healthcare sentence that was added to the state constitution (along with other changes) at the December 15, 1970 special election.

    It has also been speculated that simply repealing the pension sentence would be unconstitutional, so even that is not a sure thing.


    Sure was nice of public sector unions and others to lobby politicians to hike pension benefits, retiree healthcare benefits and salaries, resulting in hiked pensions, even though existing pensions were already underfunded.

    A practice that occurred repeatedly in IMRF and all the pension systems in Illinois after the pension sentence was added to the state constitution.

    Rather than “protect” existing pension benefit levels for public sector workers, the biggest impact of the sentence was hiked pension benefits and salaries, because the payouts were “protected.”

    So instead of a debate on how to rectify this unjustice which has never been fully disclosed to taxpayers, people like Jack Franks, who himself will receive a public sector pension for his 18 years as a state representative, are lobbying to eliminate pensions for full time county elected officials.

    Why is he focusing on full time county elected officials?

    Because they are not in a union?

    Be it that Jack Franks has received over $1 million in campaign contributions from unions.

  8. Everyone needs to understand some facts about IMRF.

    You can’t get out of IMRF once you have signed up.

    The employee including elected officials i.e. Treasurer, Clerk etc.. pay 4.5% into IMRF.

    The rest is picked up by the taxpayer which last year was a little over 10%.

    So every employee, elected official that is in IMRF the taxpayer pays 10% of earnings to IMRF for their retirment.

    Dr. Anne M. has tried to get out of IMRF and it can’t be done.

    After reading this idea it appears to be a plausible idea that could be done legally.

    The County Board has control of the purse when it comes to these positions.

    They have control of budgets for each dept. as well over elected officials.

    If the County Board wanted to get rid say $100,000 from any dept they can do this.

    This idea is actually kind of ingenious..

    Does it hurt the people that are currently in there right now such as Glenda Miller, Yes..

    Because they did not get to choose whether to be in IMRF or not.

    But ultimately for the future it gives the elected officials a choice.

    Either pay the extra into IMRF, in this case around 10%, or choose not to and receive all of your pay.

    Ultimately this solves somewhat of an issue with elected officials receiving pensions.

    What does Jack’s resolution do


    He has no legal binding way that his can be implemented.

    So what the board votes to not give pensions.

    Doesn’t mean a damn thing people!

    It is more political posturing from the “round mound”.

    It is still up to the elected official if they want to take it or not.

    Wonder if anyone cares that the “round mound” never showed up to explain his resolution at all.

    Did it ever go to finance or did the “round mound” bypass that committee?

    Jack Franks is a bully and will do whatever he wants unless the board starts to stand up to him!

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