- Newly elected Chicago aldermen and citywide elected officials will have to serve longer to achieve the maximum 80 percent city pension under a surprise change tied to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to save the city’s largest pension fund.
Aldermen draw their retirement checks from the Municipal Employees Pension Fund, which Emanuel rescued by slapping a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills.
But the mayor still needs the Illinois General Assembly to sign off on his plan for pension reforms tied to that agreement as well as the five-year ramp to actuarially required funding.
That’s where the change affecting aldermen comes in.
The legislation now wending its way through the Illinois General Assembly states that aldermen elected after passage will no longer be able to purchase additional years of service to achieve a maximum pension sooner.
They will be treated like everybody else. No shortcuts. No more opportunity to contribute an additional 3 percent a year to their pensions — to 11.5 percent of their annual salary — to earn additional years of service and the right to retire at an 80 percent pension after just 20 years of service.
Aldercreatures (who aren't even affected by the change as they're grandfathered in) started to howl:
- Ald. Danny Solis (25th), powerful chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee, argued that aldermen should be given the opportunity to achieve a maximum pension quicker because it’s a burnout job.
“The pressure you take on, rightfully so, from constituents as opposed to a 9-to-5 job where your main worry is to make sure you do your job and you don’t worry about constituents, pleasing them and making sure services are taken care of,” Solis said.
“For that reason, I’ve always thought that being able to get a pension in an earlier period of time was fair. You burn out. You have many, many bosses. You have constituents, community organizations and the uniqueness of, every four years, having to run and have a number of people try to take your job,” he said.
Really? Try our job Danny. You want to see burnout? Having to answer to many many bosses? Community organizations? People trying to take our jobs? Tell you what Danny - shut up.
- License Committee Chairman Emma Mitts (37th) also opposed the change, particularly after the parade of tax increases that aldermen have approved to solve the city’s $30 billion pension crisis.
“Aldermen do work a lot of long hours. And we take a lot of heat all the time. We’re on the front line far more than any other elected officials. We’re the ones who network the community and connect them with other elected officials. If you’re really doing the job, that’s a lot of work and a lot of heat,” Mitts said.
You mean the crisis you precipitated by stealing pension money, declaring "pension holidays," refusing to acknowledge the numbers were cooked to short pensions? Emma, shut the hell up. Your pension is safe. Ours is not. And your whining about a crisis you had a direct hand in is ill-mannered to say the least.
Labels: city politics