* Freshman state Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) is opposed to the so-called pension “cost shift” because it could raise local property taxes. But, the SJ-R editorial page points to Scherer’s recent teacher retirement package as proof that at least a limited cost-shift is needed…
Scherer made $72,538 in 2008-09, an amount that grew to $89,270 when she retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Those raises allowed her to receive a pension starting at $61,018 per year.
If Scherer had instead received 3 percent raises during her final four years of teaching — most private sector workers would have been overjoyed to get that kind of raise during the Great Recession — her pension would have started at $58,608.
When you include the annual, 3 percent compounded COLA, the difference between those two starting pensions to state taxpayers, assuming Scherer lives to age 79, is nearly $83,000.
Keep in mind, those amounts are based on Scherer receiving the maximum pension — 75 percent of her final average salary — at age 56. She would have been short two years of credit and received a reduced pension had the district and state law not allowed her to accumulate and use 340 days of unused sick time to further sweeten her pension.
Right now, state taxpayers have to pick up the tabs run up by local school districts. It’s doubtful that the schools would be devising retirement plans like this if they had to pay some or all of it themselves.
Scherer did not enroll in the General Assembly Retirement System. But, apparently, she didn’t really need to.
* Meanwhile, in a somewhat related story, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has hired a legislative liaison for the first time ever…
The first legislative liaison for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency should have an in with at least one member of the General Assembly.
SARA MEEK, who began the new job on Feb. 18, is the daughter of state Rep. SUE SCHERER, D-Decatur.
Meek, 29, of Springfield, will be paid $81,972 annually in the job. That’s the same amount she was making in a similar post at the Illinois Department of Labor. She’s been with the state since 2006.
CHRIS WILLS, spokesman for the agency, said Meek’s mother, whose 96th House District includes part of Springfield, had nothing to do with her getting the new job.
Meek, however, did have another liaison job before she moved over to IHPA.