* Press release…
Illinois Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) State Lodge President Chris Southwood and Illinois FOP Labor Council Executive Director Shawn Roselieb issued the following joint statement today about the negotiations regarding the proposed consolidation of downstate Illinois police and fire pension systems:
“After extensive talks with legislative leaders and Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Office, state lawmakers have indicated they will amend legislation to consolidate police pension funds, and the amendments will address our major concerns with the initial legislation. We agree in principle with these proposed amendments but want to make sure they make it into the final language of the bill.
“The revised legislation would give active and retired municipal police officers a majority on the board that will control the consolidated investments. The revised bill would allow pension funds to provide the best rate of investment return for police officers. The amended legislation would also make badly needed corrections to the unfair and flawed tiered system of pension benefits.
“We are also happy that the proposed amendments keep the local pension boards in place to efficiently administer benefits.”
*** UPDATE 1 *** Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois Member Update…
The Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois, along with other police groups and stakeholders, has been meeting throughout this week with legislative leaders and members of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s staff to discuss the proposed consolidation of downstate Illinois police and fire pension systems. We expressed our opposition to the initial legislation and its potential impact on police officers’ retirement security. Thanks in large part to our members calls and letters to the editor, we have been successful in convincing legislators to amend the bill (originally agreed to by the AFFI) to address several major concerns. We have agreed in principle with these proposed amendments and will ensure they make it into the final language of the bill.
The revised legislation gives active and retired municipal police officers a majority on the board that controls the consolidated investments. The bill includes provisions that keep police pension monies in a separate fund WHICH CANNOT BE ACCESSED, SWEPT, or USED AS COLLATERAL by the state. It also provides that this new board is limited to investment decisions, NOT decisions about benefits. The revised bill also removes outdated and damaging restrictions on pension investments so that police officer funds can be invested more appropriately under the guidance of the new police majority board.
The amended legislation also makes crucially needed corrections to the unfair and flawed tiered system of pension benefits. Finally, the proposed amendments ensure that the local pension boards remain in place to administer benefits and that their decisions will not be subject to interference by third parties
We are cautiously reviewing proposed language to protect our members’ interests as much as possible.
We will update members regarding ongoing developments as they occur.
*** UPDATE 2 *** The governor’s office has distributed a fact sheet on the compromise legislation. Click here to read it.
…Adding… Governor’s office…
Governor Pritzker is determined to address the decades of failure that have created Illinois’ pension challenges, and consolidating 650 downstate and suburban police and fire pensions will be an important step forward in alleviating the growing burden of local property taxes and produce significantly better returns for first responders. The administration is pleased that support continues to grow and appreciates the backing from police organizations, who have joined with firefighters and municipal representatives in supporting this commonsense reform.