Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
* If you’re counting on the state pension bill to survive the Constitutionality test, thi certainly doesn’t help…
In a case with implications for the upcoming legal battle over pension reform, an Illinois appellate court in Springfield ruled that constitutional protections prevent the state from reducing mandated payments to county treasurers.
The pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution, which says that workers’ retirement benefits can’t be diminished, is at the heart of lawsuits challenging statewide pension changes enacted late last year.
While the county treasurers’ case relies on other language in the constitution, the appellate court’s decision yesterday is analogous, using the same legal arguments and precedents that teachers and other state workers are pressing in court against pension reform.
“It supports the arguments we have been making and will continue to make,” said John Fitzgerald, partner in Chicago law firm Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC, which represents retired teachers and school administrators, both active and retired, in a suit challenging the pension law.
Under Illinois law, county treasurers are supposed to get an annual $6,500 stipend from the state. The treasurers sued when their annual stipends were reduced to $4,196 in the year ended June 30, 2010.
The state even pointed to a shortage in the General Assembly’s appropriation, but that argument didn’t get them anywhere.
* A pension round-up…
* Sun-Times: Reject firefighter staffing bill: Why then, we can only wonder, is the Illinois Legislature seemingly so eager to get behind a bill that would give labor unions more say in how many firefighters and paramedics a town must hire? The bill would take hiring decisions, in part, out of the hands of those best positioned to decide right — elected officials, village managers and other professional staff. And the bill would drive up costs for dozens of already cash-strapped suburbs and towns. (Want to guess how often the firefighters union in a typical town thinks there are enough firefighters?) The bill in Springfield — already passed by 63-44 in the House and headed for Senate — would make firefighter staffing levels part of labor contract negotiations. The Senate should pour water all over this one. Drown it.
* Mayor Emanuel criticized for proposed property tax hike
* Argus: For mayors, governors, opposites attract