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No pension bump for Stermer, MJM still not persuaded on special session

Friday, Dec 19, 2014

* Reporters (as well as several commenters) have asked what impact this appointment of Jerry Stermer to comptroller will have on Stermer’s pension. His pay will go up about ten grand a year and he could be eligible to move over to the General Assembly Retirement System, which has a better benefit package than his current SERS deal.

Well, Stermer has always been a class act, and he demonstrated it again this afternoon.

Stermer will not pay into SERS during his three weeks as comptroller and will not seek to move over to GARS.

Good for him.

The haters are gonna have to find something else to complain about.

…Adding… As a commenter pointed out earlier, moving into GARS wouldn’t have meant much anyway…

If Mr. Stermer would qualify for a GARS pension (see 40 ILCS 5/2-105 for service requirements), for the first four years of GARS-eligible service, the pension is set at 3% of the office holder’s final salary for each year of service ( With 24 days of service as Comptroller, his total benefit would be 24/365ths of 3% or 0.1973% of his final salary. Assuming that Mr. Stermer receives the same salary as the late Comptroller Topinka ($135,669.70), the most that this service could increase his pension (and it is not completely clear that it would) is $267.62 per year.

With that extra $21 per month, Mr. Stermer will finally be able to upgrade from basic cable.

* Also, I talked to Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown today about the Stermer appointment. The Speaker had asked for a bipartisan agreement with the “executive department.” Bruce Rauner’s statement about Stermer’s new job surely qualified as such…

“Appointing a temporary placeholder and keeping Judy Baar Topinka’s staff in place is an appropriate decision and will ensure continuity of services for the people of Illinois – for that I thank the governor. I know Jerry Stermer will be well served by Nancy Kimme and the team in the comptroller’s office.”

In light of that “executive department” agreement, I asked, does the Speaker have any new thoughts about a special session for a special election? Brown said his previous answer would be the same unless he hears otherwise and didn’t hold out much hope for that, claiming that a special session could possibly be dealt with in the spring session.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:26 pm:


  2. - Abe the Babe - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Jerry actions today are indicative of his service on behalf of the State of Illinois generally for the past 6 years.

    He’s been a pragmatic, compassionate, and a down to earth public servant.

  3. - ??? - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    A class act, indeed. I’m really pleased with this appointment. It was the right move. Good on Quinn.

  4. - SAP - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    Statesmanship is breaking out all over the place.

  5. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    Props for not taking the pension bump….

  6. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    Good form Jerry!

  7. - Walker - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    Stermer is simply a good person. I knew he wouldn’t take any pension benefit for this.

    There are many others who also serve the state capably and honestly. Amazing how some like to think the worst of anyone in government.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:38 pm:

    I am very pleased all the way around watching these events unfold as they are.

    Stermer did the state a solid, and is a class act making it about what needs to be done and the job at hand.

    If Goveror Quinn was waiting until after the memorial, abd making sure his appointment would resign and follow the opinion of the AG, I am very pleased that the Governor, too, thought of the state first and last.

    No constitutional crisis, no real concern on orderly transfer.

    This is all I have to say about the choice and Nancy Kimme;

    If she’s ok with it, I am. End of story.

  9. - Snucka - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    The real question is, what will Mr. Stermer do with the extra $416 from his single paycheck as Comptroller? The people of Illinois deserve answers!!

  10. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    Again I have no problem with this. I would just like to remind Mr. Stermer that as a Constitutional Officer for the next three weeks or so, he now no longer answers to the Governor. I don’t expect any significant issues to come up, but if the need arises, he can now feel free to tell the Governor to stick it. Politely, of course…

  11. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Come on Mr. Mike! Let democracy work to fill the vacancy!

  12. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    == Stermer will not pay into SERS during his three weeks as comptroller and will not seek to move over to GARS ==

    Jerry got a raw deal a few years ago, imho. The punishment did not fit the crime, but it had to be done due to his position.

    Out of everyone involved in this current situation, Jerry should be looked to as an example for how others should be acting. Jerry is not only a likable guy in person, but a guy who means well and wants to see this state succeed. There is no Golden Horseshoe for being a class act, but if there was Jerry would win it this year.

  13. - Been There - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    I’m one of those that thought the Speaker was the only one to stay above the fray the last week and half. That being said I’m not so sure why he cares about Rauner being in agreement with the special election. I understood there being a conflict on whether there were one or two appointments and obviously having Quinn and Rauner come to the same conclusion was the best scenario. But after that who cares what Bruce thinks? Even Lisa Madigan thought there should be a special election. I don’t see this as being a bad vote for his members so he shouldn’t have to worry about GOP votes (some of which he would probably get anyway).

  14. - Stones - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    It’s nice to see someone (Stermer) do the right thing. So often we see so many individuals try to game the system.

  15. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    To the special election, Quinn paints Madigan into a difficult corner with his call for this special session.

    There is little benefit to Madigan upsetting the incoming Governor before they even begin working together, and even less benefit to doing Pat Quinn’s bidding on Pat Quinn’s terms. Mr Madigan would be better served working things out directly with Mr Rauner on his own terms, since Mr Quinn and Mr Rauner apparently cannot work things out by themselves.

  16. - Anon. - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    I’m not even close to being an expert, but I thought the biggest deal was the ability to transfer credits for SERS into GARS and get GARS benefits for time served and salary earned while in SERS. Whatever, good for Mr. Stermer for foregoing the benefits, large or small. If someone tempting me with a lot of money while I was on my way out of a job, I can’t say I wouldn’t grab everything I legally could.

  17. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    Not sure that the “corner” for the Speaker is that difficult. After all, he will be here on the 14th when the new GA is sworn in, and Governor Quinn won’t. If passing a special election bill serves his interests, he’ll do it. If it doesn’t, he won’t. And he’ll do it on his own terms and schedule if he does. Three weeks from now, Governor Quinn becomes irrelevant to this issue.

  18. - Empty Suit - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    Merry Christmas Jerry. Merry Christmas Pat. Merry Christmas Bruce. Merry Christmas you wonderful old Building and Loan!

  19. - Wensicia - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:29 pm:

    I don’t think Madigan will do anything before Rauner is sworn in. Rauner gets total blame or credit for whatever follows.

  20. - jim - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    Glad to see Stermer not taking advantage of the pension situation. But if he had, I think it would have been reasonable to be critical. Don’t know why Rich would characterize those who might have had reason to object as ‘haters.’

  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    ===Don’t know why Rich would characterize those who might have had reason to object as ‘haters.’ ===

    Because they are.

  22. - A guy... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    The circle of life here: Starts with a little petulance, evolves into some flatulence, winds up with some opulence. All in one day’s work. Whew.

  23. - Wordslinger - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:44 pm:

    I imagine MJM wants to allow the GOP leaders to keep spinning their laughably dishonest “constitutional” arguments against voters choosing who holds office.

    Why wouldn’t he? Was that Durkin, Radogno, Rauner show yesterday trippy or what? It would be unconstitutional to let voters decide who holds office? Everyone signed off on that ludicrous spin?

    Who thought a four-year appointment would fly with anyone?

    That crew has been out in the wilderness for a long time. Cowboy up. Try not to step on it so badly again.

  24. - IllinoisO'Malley - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    @Jim- ‘but if he had’ = hater. He didn’t, so you bringing it up is oh so Fox News-ish.

  25. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Dec 19, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    @Ron Burgundy - yeah, ==corner== was a poor choice of words.

    In simpler terms, it appears there is very little benefit to Madigan getting on board the special election train before Rauner is sworn in.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* More on the step increases
* It's time to end this free ride
* Barickman's path forward
* Why didn't Pritzker specifically mention pensions Monday?
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