The McHenry County Board tabled discussion on eliminating pensions for countywide elected officials without discussion from anyone except Chairman Jack Franks.
Just a hurried voice vote.
But immediately after County Board member Mike Walkup gave an explanation of why Franks was in such a hurry.
While agreeing that elected officials should not have pensions anymore than most citizens have, Walkup gave a timeline that led to Franks’ abandonment of his pension abolition idea.
First came the proposal from Franks.
Then Franks talked with the Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
At that time Franks was told his proposal is illegal.
This was followed up with a memo from IMRF reiterating that Franks’ proposal is Illegal.
Walkup pointed out that Franks had received this memo prior to the Human Resources Committee considering the issue, but did not provide it to committee members.
Walkup noted that it “was subsequently leaked to a blog,” presumably by a countywide elected official who received a copy.
“Ten day later” Franks put copies of the IMRF opinion in Board members’ boxes the day the Committee of the Whole met, Walkup explained.
Continuing, Walkup pointed to an October 13th memo from McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally confirming the IMRF opinion that no unit of local government can opt out of that pension system “in whole or in part.”
The resolution that Franks’ proposed, Walkup said, would be “an action without consequence,” one “without legal effect.”
“So, [Franks’ idea] was half-baked, half-thought out probably just to grab headlines.
“Government by grandstand is not good government.
“We’re not the lawyers for the County.”
During Public Comment IMRF Executive Director Louis Kosiba re-iterated what he told Franks verbally and via memo.Kosiba urged the County Board to follow the Rule of Law.
He pointed out that county government could not override state law.
“State law cannot be changed by action of county or city government,” he said.
And, he added, pensions cannot be take away from current elected officials.