A suburban Chicago state lawmaker is looking to crack down on what he calls a conspiracy to give retirement benefits to county board members for part-time work.
Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks said despite a requirement to work between 600 and 1,000 hours a year to get benefits through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, some county board members in Illinois aren’t.
Franks said something’s not right.
Click here for summary
“I believe that there is a conspiracy by many of the elected officials to take these benefits that they have not actually earned,” Franks said.
The Rock Island County Board recently voted to end the benefit for its members. County board member Dewayne Cremeens supported the move. Cremeens said there’s no way to document how many hours a board member works.
“I think it would be hard for a county board member to say they work that much actually consistently,” Cremeens said.
Cremeens said the elected position should not be one to retire from.
Franks said his investigation found some county board members who get the benefit don’t meet that threshold.
“It’s just such a rip-off of the taxpayers,” Franks said. “So I’m going to change that law and try to get every penny back that we’re entitled to.”
Franks said board members who haven’t worked the hours required should pay back the benefit.
IMRF said when they perform audits, they may ask participating elected officials to sign an affidavit confirming their duties meet or exceed the governing body’s stated hourly standard. If a majority do not sign, IMRF said the board should rescind its resolution stating the position fits the benefit requirements.
IMRF said not all county board members participate in the pension program but couldn’t provide exact numbers as of Monday afternoon.