Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Not a fake headline: Chicago FOP President describes working collaboratively with Chicago’s mayor, legislature on pension legislation
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Not a fake headline: Chicago FOP President describes working collaboratively with Chicago’s mayor, legislature on pension legislation

Friday, May 26, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Chicago FOP Lodge 7 President John Catanzara speaking to his members moments ago

For the last three years, we have been working very hard and intentionally to right a wrong from 2020 and get the 3% COLA passed and have parity with the fire department for the bare minimum compared to other pensions in this state. That was Senate Bill 1956. It passed the Senate. It was waiting to be called in the House.

Reality is, here’s where we’re at right now. Last week, the city reached out to us and made a request for the bill to be carried over into the veto session in the fall. The request was based on the fact that there was not a chief financial officer in place and they needed to wrap their head around the numbers, the commitments and everything else to present it properly in the fall budget.

We wanted to press forward. We worked very hard to get to where we’re at. The city realized that we had overwhelming support in both chambers, from both parties, actually, which was pretty unique, and that the bill was pretty much going to pass if it was called.

So that triggered some talks, and those talks developed into something even I think a little better in the long term here.

Not only do we have a pledge that Senate Bill 1956 is alive and well being will be called in the veto session. in week one for the 3 percent COLA.

There’ll be a second bill out of the House, 4098. That will include language for fixes for tier two, a DROP program and some other things encompassing a much broader repair to the pension issues that we’re facing here.

So we’re not going to keep piece-mealing these bills together, Assembly after Assembly. We’re going to try and get it all done in the veto session and have some at least pension clarity for the future, not only for our sake, but for the new administration.

So that’s where we’re at. The Speaker has pledged to call the bill. The supporters on both sides of the aisle have assurances that the bill will be called the first week in the veto session. And that that House bill, there will be a committee put together with police and fire to address the issues, and kind of work them all out together in one big piece of legislation and have that one also pass in the veto session.

Am I happy? I’m not gonna lie. No. We worked really hard to get where we’re at. But bigger picture is we have the ability to affect much broader potential legislation with much longer reaching consequences in the fall veto session.

If something happens between now and then, and those promises aren’t kept, well, we’re going to be having a very different conversation come November, I can assure you of that. Because we certainly expect people to hold their obligations.

The DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) program is explained here.

Nobody’s ever completely happy with compromises. But, if you’d told most people right before the election that FOP Lodge 7, the Johnson administration and both legislative chambers could all calmly pledge to work together to come up with some pension ideas, they might’ve thought you were nuts.

…Adding… Mayor Brandon Johnson…

Mayor Brandon Johnson today announced the formation of a working group to address Chicago’s municipal pension systems.

“As Mayor of Chicago, I am committed to protecting both the retirement security of working people, as well as the financial stability of our government so we can achieve our goal of investing in people and strengthening communities in every corner of the city,” said Mayor Johnson. “Together, with our state legislative partners in Springfield, I am establishing a working group to collaborate on finding a sustainable path forward to addressing existing gaps in the city’s four municipal pension systems (Firefighters, Police, Municipal, and Laborers). The working group’s mission is to find workable solutions with sustainable funding sources to ensure retirement security and taxpayer relief in the long term in time for the fall veto session.”

The working group will include state legislators, the city’s Budget Director, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, and representatives from the city’s various labor unions, including both the police and fire unions.


  1. - Proud Papa Bear - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 6:36 pm:

    [Checks calendar] Nope, it’s not April 1st.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 6:45 pm:

    Maybe John Catanzara is learning?

  3. - Chicago - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 6:47 pm:

    Props to everyone involved. I sense the careful guidance of Dave Sullivan here. If anyone wonders why he is so liked and respected, here is a prime example. He takes on difficult situations and manages to make things work. And he does it with a smile on his face. Impressive. Let’s hope this progress continues in Chicago!

  4. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 7:15 pm:

    Money makes strange bedfellows.

  5. - Amalia - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 7:30 pm:

    good for progress. but he’s still bad for everyone.

  6. - Big Dipper - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 7:34 pm:

    It’s so odd when a union is far right on every issue but one.

  7. - low level - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 8:18 pm:

    Dear John and FOP: get someone who can write coherently. Good grief.

  8. - Dotnonymous x - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 9:45 pm:

    Catanzara is semi-crafty…at best.

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