To state legislators: Reform pensions

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Catherine Adduci

I am writing to you to address the issue of public safety pension reform in the upcoming veto session. Please immediately consider these pension reforms, as they are causing municipalities serious budget problems. From one elected official to another, I need your help in dealing with our fiscal pension problem.

Municipal governments, including the Village of River Forest, can no longer keep up with the funding demands required to offset the rising pension debt. If the Illinois General Assembly fails to act with urgency to provide cost relief to municipal governments, these funds will move further down the road of financial insolvency. Once again, municipal governments and their taxpayers cannot reasonably be expected to keep up with the growing costs needed to keep these pension funds financially viable.

So what is the solution?

We need to make specific changes to future employees hired after Jan. 1, 2011. Such as, increase the normal retirement age to 60; provide the maximum pension after 35 years of service; set a pensionable salary cap; set the maximum pension at 72 percent of final salary; and calculate pensions using an average final salary based upon the highest eight consecutive years out of the last 10 years of service. Even with these changes, our public safety pension benefits are far greater than the private sector's, so therefore is this change really that difficult?

I am aware that reducing benefits for newly hired public safety employees is not politically popular, but one important point should be considered. If the problem of unsustainable pension costs is not addressed immediately, then these increasing costs will place demands on local budgets that we cannot meet while still providing vital services to our community.

The Village of River Forest makes a good-faith contribution to fund its public safety pensions. The taxpayers of River Forest need relief, both immediate and long term, from the burden that the present public safety pension system places on River Forest. I am confident that reforms can provide relief to the Village of River Forest without unduly harming the employees and pensioners for whom these programs exist.

I urge the General Assembly to take immediate action to rescue the suburban municipal police and firefighter pension systems by approving pension reform during your veto session.

Catherine Adduci is a River Forest resident and village trustee.

Reader Comments

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Russ Nummer (Former Fire Chief & Village Trustee) from River Forest  

Posted: December 1st, 2010 7:55 PM

To Trustee Adduci: As a former Trustee and past RF Pension Fund Board Member I can state unequivocally that the RF pension funds have been grossly underfunded for years. I personally addressed several Village Boards asking that the levies submitted by the IL Dept of Insurance be accepted. In virtually every instance, the RF Board provided a self-serving actuarial report that conveniently determined the levy amount required was substantially lower. Don't blame the workers for political actions.

O.W. Wilson  

Posted: December 1st, 2010 2:40 PM

To Trustee Adducci: Do not lie to the public. This is part of the Illinois Municipal League's plan to start the ball rolling that ultimately leads to the theft of current and retired public employee pensions.Go to www.iml.org to see the scheme. You are responsible here, please let the public know your role in allowing the continued underfunding of the RF Funds, and what you know about previous administrations purposeful underfunding of the funds.

Bill Gleason (CPD-Retired FOP Lodge 7) from Chicago  

Posted: December 1st, 2010 10:01 AM

From some quick research, I learned you are a newly elected public official, don't try to imply you are a road tested veteran. With this burp, now your fire and police employees will know you are against them and their famlies. We are always told to shut up, suck up the injuries, low pay, worst work schedule, decreased benefits, and oh yea I forgot, the life threatening work conditions. You will force changes in an industry and culture which will put the publics' safety at risk. Merry Christmas.

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