Sacrifice for Some
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel's first-ever city budget seeks sacrifice from nearly every corner of Chicago, but he's not making cuts to the one group that has to vote for his plan.
The Chicago City Council is getting a slight budget increase.
The new mayor's belt tightening also leaves untouched two controversial accounts aldermen have tapped to hire relatives, pay political consultants and lease expensive cars. And he is renewing a multimillion-dollar program that lets council members order up neighborhood improvement projects.
Mayoral Chief of Staff Theresa Mintle helped enact a special early-retirement plan at her former employer—the Chicago Transit Authority—that entitled her to a $65,000 annual pension she wouldn't have qualified for otherwise.
Official records obtained in a joint probe by Crain's and the Better Government Assn. indicate Ms. Mintle, left, is eligible for a pension of $64,908.53 at age 65, based on just eight years of service at the agency. The early-retirement sweetener passed in 2008, when she was chief of staff to then-CTA board Chairman Carole Brown. Ms. Mintle resigned from that job last spring to assume similar duties for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Ordinarily, Ms. Mintle, 47, would have needed 11 years of service to qualify for a pension at the CTA, a milestone she wouldn't have reached until 2014. But in 2008, she was involved in the approval and possibly the design of an early-retirement sweetener for agency executives containing two separate clauses that, together, allowed her to buy extra service credits and lock in her pension in exchange for leaving her job by mid-2011.
But remember, cops and teachers and firefighters are greedy for wanting a pension after twenty years of service. And that's a FULL TWENTY YEARS - no one is giving us an eleven year waiver to collect a pension a fraction of the size of what this bureaucrat is getting.