High-level municipal workers are taking advantage of taxpayer-funded pensions. Public-sector workers across Illinois are able to spike their pay shortly before they retire. They can do this by cashing out banked vacation days and sick time to inflate the pay on which their pensions are based. Or they can simply negotiate higher pay at the very end of their careers. State Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, said his bill would force some of these abuses to be made public.
Breen’s bill would require a public meeting to approve any near-retiree’s pay bump of more than 6 percent.
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“If you’re going to spike someone’s pension like this, you’ve got to put it out in an open meeting,” Breen said. “You’ve got to dictate what you’re doing so there’s no confusion that that’s exactly what’s getting done.”
Breen said the local boards may not even know what’s happening until it’s too late.
“The elected officials don’t know. The public doesn’t know. Then all of a sudden they turn around and get a bill from [the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund] for $200,000.”
State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, said he likes the idea, but called the required self- reporting akin to the fox guarding the henhouse.
“They ignore the law and then they pay a penalty, but they don’t care because it’s all taxpayer dollars anyway,” Franks said.
The bill wouldn’t apply to employees working under a collective bargaining agreement.