Now that lawmakers have acted on Chicago pension restructuring, cities around the state are asking for help with their police and fire pensions. Downers Grove Mayor Martin T. Tully says the amount paid into police and fire pensions doubled between 2004 and 2010, yet the funding level fell from 64 percent to 55 percent, mainly because of increased cost-of-living adjustments, increased lifespans for retirees and a poor rate of return on investments.

He says changes are needed. “What we need to have is a system that is both fair for taxpayers, but also there for the employees of the police and fire departments in our communities. Right now that’s not the situation we have. We don’t have fair, and we’re not gonna have there unless reform measures are undertaken and are undertaken soon,” he said at a press conference in Springfield.

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Tully is vice president of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, which is a member of the Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities Coalition. He says cities need some of the same changes that were discussed for state pensions: A reduced cost of living adjustment, increased employee contributions and a higher retirement age or more years worked to qualify for a pension. He says mayors are willing to negotiate details with police and fire unions.

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