Springfield's firefighters pension board has asked a judge to decide whether overtime and holiday pay should be included in calculating a firefighter's pension. But it's not just Springfield that wants the answer.
Mayors across the state are watching the case in Springfield. They're worried their communities may be on the hook for tens of thousands of additional dollars or more in pension costs.
Springfield's firefighters pension board is asking the judge to clarify the situation: Currently, there are three different official opinions on whether overtime and holiday pay should be included in a firefighter's pension. A 1998 rule from the state said overtime and holiday pay should be included, but two other rulings from the state in 2015 and 2016 said overtime and holiday pay should not be included.
Springfield firefighters pension board lawyer Don Craven said the board simply wants clarity.
But Brad Cole of the Illinois Municipal League said the issue is much larger.
Cole said legally establishing an extra pension benefit would raise pension costs permanently. He said that would means tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs for Springfield, and maybe more for some other cities.
Cole said taxpayers realize the pension benefits are “extreme,” and beyond what was promised. Cole said if the judge rules in favor of the pension hike, cities and towns may have to look at raising taxes to cover the costs.