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Good work if you can get it

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Jake Griffin at the Daily Herald

Most people have to wait until they’re out of a job to begin collecting retirement benefits they accrued while working there.

That’s not the case for at least 13 part-time suburban county board members who are receiving as much as $82,124 in annual pension payouts from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund for jobs in which they’re still getting salaries of $21,000 to $43,018.

Six Lake County Board members are receiving the pensions, as are three each in McHenry and Will counties and one in Kane County, a Daily Herald examination of IMRF beneficiaries shows. A fourth Will County board member just filed paperwork this month to begin collecting his pension while still on the board and receiving a $23,000 annual salary, IMRF officials noted in a response to a public records request to the agency.

So… wait. They’re being paid pensions for their county board service while they’re still serving on the same county boards?

* How the heck did this happen?

They get the retirement benefit while still working as a result of a 2016 law aimed at pension reform, which eliminated their ability to keep working toward a pension if they don’t provide documentation proving they worked at least 1,000 hours a year, or about 19 hours a week.

Many elected leaders chose not to submit timesheets and were kicked out of the retirement plan — but their previous participation in the plan allowed them to begin collecting their pensions even though they were still on the job.


If county board members “chose” not to submit their timesheets, do you think that means they might not have been able to justify their previous claims of time they supposedly put in? Or, I suppose it’s possible that they just don’t like filling out paperwork to receive a pension.

Either way, never underestimate the determination of people to take full advantage of “reforms.”

Go read the rest, particularly the bit about Will County board member James Moustis.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    You have got to be kidding me. This kind of stuff needs to be stopped and those responsible held accountable. Ethics 101

  2. - Left of the Lake - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    Shout out to Sen. Melinda Bush for that “Clap-Back” Lake County GOP has been having their cake and eating it too for way to long!!

  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    Ah, the lasting legacy of Jack Franks.

  4. - Almost the weekend - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    The best part about this is the location of these counties. Can’t believe Chicago is allowingthis. Heavy s/

  5. - OneMan - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    This is the sort of stuff that is going show up in the anti-graduated income tax ads.

  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    –They get the retirement benefit while still working as a result of a 2016 law aimed at pension reform, …–

    Reason Number 6,795 why when you hear the word “reform,” grab your wallet and check the fine print.

  7. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    It seems to me that the pensions they earned were earned in previous employment. They couldn’t have earned that sized pension for jobs they are getting that low salary. Now they have a part time job where they aren’t contributing to IMRF and are collecting an earned pension. It doesn’t strike me as any different than if they took a job at a grocery store, and collected imrf pension at the same time.

  8. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    Just another in a long line of pension abuses that is permitted because of effective lobbying, the Illinois Constitution, and sloppy law-making. Legislators have no one to blame for this but themselves.

  9. - JoanP - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    Here are the rules:

  10. - Kevin - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 4:51 pm:

    Is it legal.

    Enough said

  11. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 4:59 pm:

    eh which I could be shocked by this. feels pretty similar to the police chiefs who retire from their illinois jobs to take jobs in other states and keep collecting an illinois pension. or the numerous school teacher/administrators at my public high school who retired from there to draw a public pension and then went to work at the local catholic school.

  12. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 5:02 pm:

    Didn’t I read somewhere about Cicero library board trustees getting health insurance? I’m sorry but board members aren’t employees. They’re also supposed to be prohibited from getting pay raises during an elected term. Both the pension as well as the three percent COLA should be counted and considered as an illegal pay raise.

  13. - Whatever - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 5:34 pm:

    Regular state employees can do this, too - they retire and then come back to work “on contract.” However, they can only do that for 75 days.

  14. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 5:36 pm:

    –sloppy law-making. Legislators have no one to blame for this but themselves.–

    You’re presuming this was a mistake.

    The only “mistake” might be someone blabbed about it, prompting someone to do a little digging.

    Does this mean the Eastern Bloc is going to extend the wall perimeters out to Lake, Will, Kane and McHenry? Because “morals” and “values” or something?

  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 5:45 pm:

    “Don’t assault the character of people who are doing what they were told they could do.”

    This person is unclear on what the concept of ‘character’ actually means.

  16. - Flapdoodle - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 5:53 pm:

    So some people here have a problem with employees retiring and taking a duly earned pension (*not* saying this is what the board members are doing), and then taking other non-related employment? Interesting. Have you heard that you can start drawing your full earned Social Security benefits with no employment earnings limits when your SS eligibility kicks in? You gonna complain about that, too?

  17. - AnonymousOne - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 6:59 pm:

    Don’t know every detail of this situation but if these people are abusing the system, it needs to be addressed, corrected and never allowed again.

    What does not, does not, need to happen is to paint everyone who collects a pension as villains, each and every one of them (as has happened). Deal with those creating the problem, don’t paint with wide brushes.

  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 9:24 pm:

    Phase our pensions and the problem is solved.

  19. - Retired SURS Employee - Wednesday, Apr 17, 19 @ 9:26 pm:

    On the other hand, imagine the outcry if these county board members certified (and provided “timesheets”) that they work in excess of 1,000 hours per year as a county board member and therefore remained a member of IMRF accruing even larger pension benefits.

  20. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 7:17 am:

    ==“I understand that it’s perfectly legal, but its egregious in terms of the ramifications it has on taxpayers,” said Emily Biegel, chairwoman of the Frankfort Township Democrats.==

    Why is it egregious? It sounds like Moustis payed into the pension for at least 20 years and during that time the money collected interest. Maybe it IS egregious but why should anyone take Biegel’s word for it? Show us your numbers honey.

  21. - NoGifts - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 7:21 am:

    Retire SURS, they would not be able to earn even larger pension benefits because they are earning small salaries and the pension payment is calculated on on your final rate of earning, which would be much smaller than the salaries they received before this job.

  22. - Frustrated GOP - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 7:32 am:

    besides the Twp supervisor, how much are we really talking about. My guess, its not a lot, if it was it would be in the article. County Board members aren’t paid a lot and unless they have been doing it forever, its a very small amount of money.
    BTW, this happeneds in private sector too, people retire and do something else. They collect a pension and start doing something different, sometimes in the same field, sometimes in government.

  23. - NoGifts - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 7:50 am:

    And let me just repeat this .. nobody receives $82,124 in annual pension payouts on a salary of $43,018. That statement is ridiculous, and that’s why people have no idea how the pension system works.

  24. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 7:50 am:

    LGDF needs to be rolled into the general fund, maybe then we dont allow these sort of things from happening.

  25. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 7:52 am:

    It is legal. As I understand it, this pending legislation will essentially block any retired municipal or county employee legally receiving an IMRF pension from their prior career from serving and earning a salary on a County Board. Bad legislation. By the way, Jake, at what point did you decide to trade in being a journalist and become a one-trick pension pony?

  26. - NoGifts - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 7:52 am:

    “don’t allow these sort of things from happening” You mean taking pension you’ve earned, and working another job?

  27. - NoGifts - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 8:00 am:

    “if they don’t provide documentation proving they worked at least 1,000 hours a year, or about 19 hours a week.” I think they’d be hard pressed to provide documentation they worked 2.5 full days a week, every week (or 133 days a year) being on the county board. I’d be more suspicious if they provided the documentation.

  28. - NoGifts - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 8:04 am:

    1000 hours a year is 2.5 full days a week, every week, or 133 days a year. I find it hard to believe the county board seat is that demanding.

  29. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 8:57 am:

    ==This is the sort of stuff that is going show up in the anti-graduated income tax ads.==

    Probably. I’ve never know IPI to shy away from sketchy “facts” and misinformation. Why would they stop now?

    These people paid into their pensions.

  30. - Retired SURS Employee - Thursday, Apr 18, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    –Retire SURS, they would not be able to earn even larger pension benefits because they are earning small salaries and the pension payment is calculated on on your final rate of earning, which would be much smaller than the salaries they received before this job.–
    That is not entirely correct. While their final rate of earnings might not go up, their service credit would increase, thereby increasing the potential pension payout.

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