Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Naperville City Council ends pensions for elected officials

It's time for DuPage County to end pensions for elected officials 

The Daily Herald reports

It’s the end of the line for pension benefits for Naperville City Council members.
Members of the council last week deleted pensions from the list of benefits they receive and amended the city code to reflect the change. As of March 4, council members no longer are eligible to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
The final vote was a formality, the only logical step after a majority of council members declared that fulfilling the duties of their office does not require them to work at least 1,000 hours a year — the minimum to be pension-eligible.

The end of city council pension participation has different ramifications for different members.

For those who are vested with at least eight years of service, options depend on age.

Anyone younger than 55, such as council member Grant Wehrli, who became vested in December, can choose to get a refund of pension contributions, said John Krupa, IMRF spokesman.

Anyone older than 55, such as council member Doug Krause, cannot receive a refund if his or her pension would be more than $30 a month.

The city estimates Krause’s pension would be between $5,000 and $6,000 a year, or between $416 and $500 a month.

Krause, 66, said he has not received official documentation from IMRF about what his pension will be, but he does plan to apply to begin receiving the benefit.

“I’ll start getting (my pension) right now because I’m not employed by an employer that recognizes it,” said Krause, who has been on the council for 25 years. “It won’t prevent me from getting the pension I earned.”

The vote to end pension participation completed a goal for Wehrli, who is running for state representative in the 41st District. Wehrli long has said he wanted to find a way out of the pension he “regrettably” signed up for when he joined the council and to remove the benefit entirely.

“It’s good policy that we no longer get pensions,” Wehrli said. “It’s just not right to receive an annuity on what taxpayers have to pay.”

The end of pensions for council members stands to save the city about $11,000 a year, City Manager Doug Krieger said — money it otherwise would have spent making employer contributions to IMRF on council members’ behalf.

You can read the full story here.

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