County Board Pensions vs. Cost of Schools

One commenter, “Occam,” has pointed out that State Rep. Jack Franks has won the fight to get rid of County Board pensions:

There was a comment above that Franks’ goal was to remove the pension benefit.

As a practical matter, I’d say mission accomplished at this point.

The gravy train used in David Stieper's unsuccessful campaign for a District 1 County Board spot on the Republican ballot two years ago.  Stieper brought the County Board pension issue into the political arena.

The gravy train used in David Stieper’s unsuccessful campaign for a District 1 County Board spot on the Republican ballot two years ago. Stieper brought the County Board pension issue into the political arena.

No County Trustee in their right mind will (or can) now sign the IMRF affidavit certifying 1,000 hours worked.

The workload just doesn’t exist for 80+ hours/month.

And the County, as the employer, does not have the reporting policies/procedures/mechanisms in place for acquiring and retaining the records for the hours worked by the Trustees, as required by law.

Another, “cautious voter,” weighs in on the workload of a conscientious McHenry County Board member and the public’s interest in the pension issue versus their lack of interest in the money spend on education:

Scenerio: Board member is elected.

Board member has some idea of what Board members do and signs on for IMRF (not necessarily a pension because you are not vested unless you pay in for ten years) realizing that he / she is agreeing to the 1,000 hour per year work load.

Terms are for two or four years.

Board member expects to be assigned to a minimum of three committees and maybe as many as six or seven.

Board member is a known conservative or an unknown and the Board Chair person only assigns him / her to three committees.

Along comes Local 150 and Jack Franks.

Either or both are upset because the Board has approved the Rauner agenda and voted against Prevailing Wage.

Someone takes a look at the number of hours Board members spend in the twice monthly Board meetings, C.O.W. meetings and committee meetings to which they are assigned.

The data is sent to the IMRF Director and Jack Franks asks for a special prosecutor because no one works 1,000 hours based on the incomplete data.

Based on the chart provided, the Board Chair person only ‘worked’ for 56 hours.

This could raise the question, why did Jack Franks start the initiative to have a County Board Chairman elected at large when he / she only ‘works’ 56 hours a year?

I digress.

Back to the theoretical Board member.

He / she spends about 100 hours in meetings as reported by Local 150.

However, he / she is ‘serving’ his / her constituents by sitting in on other committee meetings and at times participating but that time is not recorded or included in the Local 150 report.

He / she attends ZBA hearings relative to zoning changes in his / her district – not recorded.

He / she reads the entire ‘packet’ for each board / committee meeting and does background work to verify that what Staff is proposing will serve his / her constituents – not recorded.

The Board member receives a complaint from a constituent about noise generated by a horse race track and ends up spending an afternoon observing the activity.

This is followed up by spending many hours researching what if anything can be done for those affected.

Next he / she is called about noise from a four-wheel drive track.

This is followed by a one year project spent researching ordinances in other counties and formulating a plan to have an ordinance passed in McHenry to stop the activity.

After being engaged in many other ‘projects’ relative to ‘noise’, highways, roundabouts, county welfare benefits, Nursing home taxes, grants, homelessness etc. etc. he / she decides too much time is being consumed away from his / her family by these activities and decides after spending six or eight years as a County Board member he / she has done their share of public service and does not run for office again.

IMRF deductions made from his / her pay check are refunded and the County gets back their matching portion.

So, before more people go off further ‘half-cocked’ demanding an end to IMRF participation, demanding a Special Prosecutor (that we pay for), demanding a smaller board etc. think about this:

Do you like the fact that the Constitution guarantees public sector pensions and as posted elsewhere, yet again the Court rules against a change?

If not, convince your State Legislature to put a referendum on the ballot this fall or next year.

Do you like what is happening with property taxes for schools to support EVERYTHING the Teacher unions want because they continually hold children hostage and the school boards are populated with those who side with the union?

If you do not, remember school board elected officials get paid nothing.

The State Legislature continues to pursue a path of spending more than what we the taxpayers can afford.

The County has frozen their property tax levy.

The County has balanced the budget.

The County is reducing its staff to offset pay increases for those who are left.

Before you decide that the compensation package of IMRF participation and health benefits plus a salary is too high, remember School Boards are paid NOTHING.

How is that working out for you?

The County accounts for 9.7 % of your property taxes while school districts account for 67.16 %.


County Board Pensions vs. Cost of Schools — 15 Comments

  1. How about the County Board leading from the front and opting out of IMRF, and setting the example by instituting a 401(k) plan for members?

  2. The time to do that is when the pay package is being set prior to the next Board primary election which will be in 2017.

    Now you have a somewhat lame-duck board with a few members and outsiders attempting to score undeserved political points. (Just my opinion).

    The bottom line is that the current County Board is doing a far better job then any school district.

    Ask yourself, why is Jack Franks and Local engaging in this witch-hunt? (Not to denigrate witches :-))

  3. I do support what many have said, no one elected to public office should be entitled to a pension once elected.


    I will go one step further and also state that NO ONE employed by the taxpayers should be entitled to a taxpayer funded pension.

    This statement applies to all taxpayer funded jobs such as teachers, police, fireman, road workers, clerks, park district and library employees etc. etc.

    Our children and grand-children cannot afford it!!!

    The same rules that apply in the private sector should apply in the public sector.

    If you want a pension in addition to social security, fund it yourself!!

  4. Pretty extreme, Cautious.

    I wouldn’t want to work at your company.

    Fact is, 76% of workers who are offered a 401(k) at work participate.

    That’s an example of workers paying for their own retirement with optional matching funds provided additionally by the employer.

    As recently as 1998, 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered defined-benefit pensions to new hires.

    Nowadays, it’s 24% and falling.

    I believe that encouraging workers to save for their own retirement is a social good and should be encouraged by government through tax-advantaged growth and appropriate, affordable employer matches.

  5. Heh, heh ….

    “Perdition Express” that’s a good one!

    All Aboard!

    Next Stop:


  6. Too late.

    The compensation for the County Board that will take office in December has already been sent.

  7. Thank you Cal.

    That is why I keep posting that we need to set this IMRF pension thing aside and address it in 2017.

  8. The reason private sector employers paid a portion of the employee’s retirement is to receive a tax advantage.

    There is no tax advantage in public sector employers (the government) paying a portion of the employee’s pension contribution – it is all funded with tax dollars.

    We have the same situation with healthcare coverage in the public sector.

    Whether the healthcare insurance premium is treated as a deduction from the employee’s pay check or simply paid by the employer (the government unit) it is still all taxpayer dollars.

    This business about “employer share” and “employee share” is all a bunch of B.S. in my opinion.

    That said, this entire discussion is a distraction from the real problem.

    The real problem is the ‘padding’ of salaries in the public sector just prior to retirement and the Constitutional guarantee pensions cannot be changed.

    Plus our state legislature robbing pension funds to pay for social programs for people who may not even be here legally.

  9. The compensation for those taking office in 2017 has already been set BUT they have the option of not signing up for IMRF.

    Moreover, those currently taking IMRF have the option of discontinuing it, don’t they?

    And why would a newly-elected county board member sign up for IMRF — it now takes 10 YEARS to be vested.

    Would that not be telling the voters that you expect to be on the board for 2.5 terms or 10 years at least?

    Not a good talking point for your campaign lit, to say the least.

  10. As I understand the law, newbies need not sign up for IMRF, but those already participating can’t get out until they leave the board.

  11. How many non-political-office-holders showed up for the Board meeting when the salaries were set for the next group of Board members?

    Maybe Cal can post the minutes or the link to the minutes of that meeting.

    It will be interesting to see how many new people show up on the ballot in 2017 for Township and School Board positions.

  12. Question to Connecting the Dots:

    Is “padding” accomplished by the pension amount being based on the ? years of elected official’s term before retiring?

    Don’t teachers and administrators do this?

    it’s called spiking, I believe.

    Let’s look at some of the salaries and “retirements” of McHenry County school administrators and teachers and some in Kane County District 300.

    It’s shocking and disheartening.

    There was a time when teaching was considered a profession.

    The exit process of big dollars drained fron our pockets leaves a bitter taste and legacy.

  13. A 401k style plan is already offered to all County Employees.

    The county website certainly does a good job of making the IMRF option sound far superior and much easier to manage than the 401k style option however.

    The website should at least state how much the county will match if the 457 Plan option is selected.

    I would guess that is done purposefully to lure more new employees into the IMRF in order to pay for retirees–more people have to be brought into the Ponzi scheme in order for it to stay afloat.

    “Nationwide Retirement Solutions

    All employees have the option to enroll into the 457 Plan made available through Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

    The 457 Plan is similar to a 401K plan.

    Employees select the dollar amount they wish to have deducted from their paycheck, pretax and also decide how they would like their funds to be distributed.

    The Nationwide Retirement Solutions representative normally offers a couple of seminars throughout the year to discuss retirement.

    The representative also schedules days throughout the year for one-on-one appointments with employees.”

    “Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

    McHenry County employees that meet the qualifications are enrolled in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. This is an excellent retirement benefit that also offers disability benefits and a death benefit. Generally, an employee will contribute 4.5% of their gross wages, pre-tax, to their IMRF fund. The County also contributes a portion. Sheriff Deputies contribute 7.5% of their gross wages. For more information, visit IMRF’s website.”

  14. Connectin the dots & Cautious voter;

    1:02:50 is where discussion starts

    Agenda is found on 8/18/15 County Board meeting.

    If you listen to the audio, you will see the many members’ reluctance to change portions of compensation until the entire board is up for election after the census.

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