IMRF Probe of McHenry County Board Members Fizzles

Tuesday night at his Town Hall Meeting in Algonquin, Democratic Party McHenry County Board Chairman candidate Jack Franks spoke harshly about McHenry County Board members taking pensions “for part-time work.”

He told of the Governor’s signing of his bill to ban future county board members (statewide) from participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

He did not point out that all winning non-incumbent Republican County Board candidates pledged during their primary election campaigns not to join the IMRF pension system and the County Board removed itself from the pension system as of the end of November when terms expire.

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.

It seems obvious that the County Board’s withdrawal from the pension system can be credited to Franks’ criticism.

The issue of County Board members taking pensions, however, was brought to the fore by the District 1 candidacies of David Stieper and Andrew Gasser.

Stieper’s campaign featured the image of a gravy train you see here.

Upon his swearing in, Gasser refused to sign the IMRF application given to every new member.

Subsequently, Gasser urged Franks to refuse his annual $58,600 pension for eighteen years in his “part-time” legislative gig.

Louis Kosiba

Louis Kosiba

Jack Franks

Jack Franks

At the Tuesday Algonquin Town Hall Meeting, Franks said he had talked to IMRF Director Louis Kosiba and urged him to “go back as far as the income tax statute of limitations [would allow] and ask for affidavits for all years”  [affidavits to show the number of hours worked, 1,000 per year being what IMFR rules require].

Kosiba apparently didn’t listen to Franks, because he did not follow his advice.

Maybe that is an indication that retiring state legislators have less power than they did would have if they running for re-election.

Today the Daily Herald updates the situation now that the bill has become law in an article entitled,

IMRF: McHenry County Board pension inquiry ‘inconclusive’

Director Kosiba explained that, while he had asked the Board members for time sheets, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that County Board members had not worked 1,000 hours each year, considering the time members spent preparing for for meetings and other out of courthouse business.

“We had to weigh all of that, and we came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to prove a negative,” Kosiba told the Daily Herald.

Daily Herald reporter Lauren Rohr wrote,

“Before a new law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner last week, county board members’ requirements for IMRF participation statewide were somewhat ambiguous, Kosiba said. Rather than tracking their hours, he said, board members’ eligibility was based on the expectation of time spent in their county positions.”

Time sheets will be required by IMRF from the date of the bill signing through the end of November when the McHenry County Board leaves the pension system.


IMRF Probe of McHenry County Board Members Fizzles — 10 Comments

  1. Old Man Winter, love the

    Can I use that in future comments ?

    Keep those creative Franco comments
    A coming ! 🙂

  2. Gasser wasn’t the first and you know it Cal. It was first brought up by a Democrat in 2006.

    And the gravy train has been brought up by numerous Democratic candidates WELL before these candidates.



    Pensions. and their personal slush fund that paid for MCCog and other “training” have all been discussed and criticized by Democrats for a decade.

    Selective memory?

    Or biased reporting- either way you are wrong Cal

    “It seems obvious that the County Board’s withdrawal from the pension system can be credited to Franks’ criticism.”

    You and I both know the increased attention is what cause the withdrawal.

    Notice the healthcare and mileage are still there.

    They caved because they had to.

    This system has been in place for WAY too long to say they stepped away for any other reason.


  3. Watchdog 2: please be my guest!

    What happened to Watchdog 1?

  4. Google declared my blog a “spam blog” and wiped out everything from 2006.

    If you have evidence of that, please send it to me.

  5. Hey OMW , thanks for the go ahead.

    As for Watchdog 1?

    Who knows (not
    Me) .

    May switch to Watchdog 71 in future ?

  6. Worth noting that Gasser caught holy-hell from fellow “Republican” board members for publicly speaking out against their taxpayer funded pensions.

    A couple, who claim to be reformers, even actively worked against him after his statements.

    It wasn’t until Jack Franks jumped on this, that these same hypocrites reacted by taking steps to end their taxpayer funded pensions and making some nauseating statements to the press to posture as proactive leaders of the cause.

    So, ultimately, I think it’s fair to say that with or without this legislation, MC has Jack Franks to thank for the demise of taxpayer funded pensions for county board members.

    I also think it’s prudent to say there are a whole lot of phony Republicans to unseat in our country board if we ever hope to achieve REAL reform.

    I did hear Jack say something that I found to be quite intriguing. He suggested making county board seats non-partisan offices.

    That might make it a whole lot easier for at least half the members of the board to look in the mirror .

  7. The issue of County Board members working enough hours to qualify for their IMRF pension first surfaced in an IMRF audit of Grundy County, a year before the issue surfaced in McHenry County.


    County Board salaries and pensions are a low dollar budget items.


    McHenry County Board member salary is about $21,000.

    The county (employer) contribution to IMRF for calendar year 2014 was 10.76% (it varies annually).

    $21,000 board member salary x .1076 IMRF rate = $2,260 contribution from employer to IMRF per board member.

    $2,260 employer contribution to IMRF per board member x 24 board members = $54,240 total employer contribution to IMRF annually.

    Thus there is approximately an $54,240 annual savings to eliminate IMRF pensions for county board members.


    Reducing the county board members from 24 to 12.

    $21,000 salary per board member x 12 members = $252,000 grand total salary amount for all 24 board members.

    That’s a more substantial savings, but at the expense of more consolidated power for each board member.

    If the work load doubles, the board members may be justified in a pay hike, in which case the savings would be reduced.

    Of course there are other costs per employee such as current healthcare benefits, any retiree healthcare benefits, etc.


    The more substantial pension costs for the county are the other employees in the Regular IMRF program, and the employees in the SLEP program.

    SLEP = Sheriff Law Enforcement Program.

    Looking at the Fiscal Year ending November 30, 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR):

    Employer contribution for County Regular IMRF Plan: $5,324,917.

    Employer contribution for County SLEP IMRF Plan: $2,810,505.

    Total Employer contribution for County Regular & SLEP IMRF Plan: $8,135,422.

    Employer contribution for Conservation District IMRF Plan: $546,303

    Grand Total Employer contribution for County + Conservation District IMRF Plans: $8,681,725.


    FY 2015 figures:

    $54,240 Employer contribution for County Board Members to IMRF / $8,681,725 total employer contributions from County to IMRF = .006.

    That’s 6/10 of 1 percent.

    Employer contribution to IMRF for County Board pensions in FY 2015 was 6/10 of 1% of the entire employer contribution to IMRF.

  8. Lots of free press for Jack.

    He played it well as anybody could already knowing the results before hand.

  9. Jack Franks is going after board members because they are not in a union.

    Notice he’s not proposing to reign in any union costs while campaigning for County Board Chair.

    That’s in stark contrast to Governor Bruce Rauner Administration’s Turnaround Agenda.

    It will be very interesting if Republicans whom voted for Bruce Rauner and Jack Franks in the past figure that out this election cycle.

    Jack does support some government consolidation (if union labor is present that creates bigger union locals which have more political power), but has not addressed unfunded mandates (he has voted for unfunded mandates), even though he was on the Lieutenant Governor’s consolidation and unfunded mandate task force.

    Has Jack Franks ever endorsed a McHenry County Democrat other than himself?

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