* You may recall this astonishing statement made earlier this month…
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said Wednesday that Illinois towns and cities would be in a better position to face their public safety pension obligations if they had the ability to file for bankruptcy.
The statement came during a downstate and suburban mayors’ news conference held in Illinois’ state capitol.
“If the state doesn’t give authorization to go to bankruptcy court, you simply cannot do it,” Morrissey said. “Without that … cities are simply left with no recourse when dealing with collective bargaining … in police and fire pensions. So what we end up being is boxed in. … Frankly I wish we could appeal directly to a bankruptcy court, I think it would give us more leverage to get deals done.”
* The firefighters gathered some numbers to show some of the hypocrisy behind the mayors’ outrage about their rising first responder pension costs…
According to the documents, Decatur has seen a 141 percent increase in the amount they’ve contributed to the firefighter pension system since 2003. By contrast, the city’s [Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund] contribution has risen 170 percent.
In Carbondale, city contributions to the firefighters rose 194 percent in the past 10 years. Contributions to IMRF rose 183 percent.
Bloomington’s contributions to firefighters have risen 146 percent since 2003. Contributions to IMRF rose about 82 percent.
Pat Devaney, president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, said one reason for the silence from mayors on IMRF is that the mayors are covered by IMRF.
Sen. Terry Link, who is trying to put together a first responder pension reform plan, was on Rick Pearson’s WGN Radio show over the weekend and talked about his efforts. Click here to listen.