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.
“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.