House Passes Bill Barring New County Board Members From Participating In The IMRF

Besides barring new County Board members from participating in the IMRF, Senate Bill 2701 requires that County Board members currently enrolled in the IMRF keep record of their hours worked to ensure they are meeting the annual requirement of either 600 or 1000 hours a year. This legislation has prompted McHenry County Board to withdraw from the IMRF siting challenges of accounting for all hours spent on addressing County business, both on and off the Government Center campus effective December 1, 2016.

 

The NORTHWEST HERALD  Reports the following:
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House unanimously passed legislation Monday that would prohibit newly elected county board members from receiving pensions through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Senate Bill 2701 now returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote.

The bill was filed by Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, in response to an IMRF investigation into whether McHenry County Board members, all but a few of whom are enrolled in IMRF, are working the required 1,000 hours a year to qualify for pensions. State law sets a 600-hour standard, but allows local governments to set a higher 1,000-hour standard, which the County Board did in 1997. State Rep. Jack Franks called for the IMRF investigation.

Althoff’s original bill required local elected officials participating in IMRF to keep records of their hours. It initially passed the Senate. Franks, with Althoff’s permission, added an amendment in the House to bar newly elected board members from receiving IMRF pensions.

You can read the full story here .

In Honor Of Those Who Gave The Ultimate Sacrifice

Took sometime out of our weekend to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

A moving tribute was held at the DuPage Veterans Memorial.

IMG_0345-2

Breaking News: McHenry County Board Pulling Out of IMRF

County Boards are dropping IMRF like flies in Illinois. We keep hearing how DuPage County is the model…

McHenry County Blog reports the following:

 

Appearing today on the agenda of the Human Resources Committee is a resolution to take McHenry County Board members out of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

State Rep. Jack Franks, in his run-up to a candidacy to take over the County Board Chairmanship, convinced the IMRF to make an example of McHenry County Board members by asking them to show when they had worked the required 1,000 hours (basically half of a regular 2020 hour work year) to earn their pensions.

The most relevant parts of the accompanying resolution follow:

WHEREAS, the current sitting County Board has decided to eliminate current and future board members from participating in IMRF due to the challenges of accounting for all hours spent on addressing County business, both on and off the Government Center campus effective December 1, 2016.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois that Resolution R-9802-12-29 is hereby amended to remove McHenry County Board Members from the list of elected officials eligible to participate in IMRF effective December 1, 2016;

You can read the full post here.

Representative Franks Talks About Ending Pensions For Part-Time Elected Officials

Last week I wrote about ending pensions for part-time elected officials. You can read the story here .

Please watch this 4 minute clip as Illinois State Representative Jack Frank explains  matter-of-factly about why pensions for part-time elected officials needs to stop.

He talks about how people are scamming the system. The only requirement to be eligible to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retire Fund is that the part-time elected official must sign a form stating they work 1000 hours a year.  No record or log of hours is required.

HERE

 

Chaplin Sounds Alarm on Lisle Woodridge Fire District Conflict of Interest-10 Months Later Action is Taken

For sometime I have been keeping tabs on what has transpired at the Lisle Woodridge Fire District.  Many people in County Board District 2 are served by the Lisle Woodridge Fire District.  It is the largest fire district in DuPage County. The majority of fire districts in Dupage County have elected trustees,  the LWFD board members are appointed.

My first concern was when I had read that Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the LWFD rating to a Aa3 from Aa2. The downgrade was due to underfunding annual pension payments.  You can read more about the downgrade here.

 

My next concern was with the residents served by Fire Station 1 in downtown Lisle. Tom Althoff, who was appointed to the LWFD by the DuPage County Board in July of 2013, was then appointed to the Village of Lisle Economic Development Committee in early 2015. Clearly there was a conflict.  There is no way Mr. Altoff or anyone could serve in both positions and not be conflicted.

On July 7, 2015 I sent an email to Dan Cronin, DuPage County Board Chairman and the Mayor of Lisle, Joseph Broda, expressing my concerns regarding the conflict.

10 months after I questioned the conflict of interest, today May 24, 2016 the  DuPage County Board voted to replace Tom Altoff.

Below is a copy of the email sent Cronin and Broda.
The county appointed Tom Althoff as a LWFD trustee. I recently learned that he was also appointed by the Village of Lisle Board to the VOL Economic Development Commission. This commission makes recommendations to the Village Board regarding things like business incentives, TIF districts, grants, etc.

I believe there is a conflict of interest issue here.

From the Handbook for Trustees of Illinois Fire Protection Districts by James Sinclair. This is Chapter 3, The Board of Trustees, Section B, “Holding Multiple Offices/Conflicts:”

The Illinois Fire Protection District Act bars a township official who is eligible to vote on the appointment of a protection district trustee from being appointed to that position. Additionally, care should be exercised whenever a person proposed for appointment as a fire protection district trustee holds another elective or appointive public office, since this may disqualify the individual from appointment as a fire protection district trustee if the offices are incompatible. The office of the Illinois Attorney General maintains a listing of public offices which have been determined to be incompatible. Incompatibility occurs where there is a statutory or constitutional prohibition or where the duties of either office are such that the holder of one office cannot fully and faithfully perform the duties of the other office…. (50 ILCS 105/1, 2, 2a)

The Village of Lisle recently approved a new TIF District in downtown Lisle. The redevelopment area includes LWFD Station #1. The VOL wants the station out of downtown. LWFD has, as you know, has no money to build a new fire station. I realize the the EDC is only a recommending body, however, the VOL Board of Trustees has repeatedly said they establish recommending bodies to spend more time on certain issues and without a completing reason, they follow the recommendations of the commission. Althoff was on the TIF Joint Review Board representing the LWFD and voted in favor the new TIF District.

What are we going to do about this?

Liz Chaplin

 

 

 

 

 

Time to end Pensions for Part-Time Elected Officials

Last August, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund had conducted an audit of  the DuPage County pension program, not all board members were notified. I only learned of the audit when I called Louis Koshiba with the IMRF on May 5th to ask a few questions. During the May 10th meeting of the DuPage County Board Finance Committee I stating the process was neither accountable or transparent. I expressed my concern that those of us not participating in the IMRF were robbed of an opportunity to weigh in on the matter of eliminating pensions for part-time elected officials.

In order for county board members to be eligible for participation, the only requirement is that the  majority of the board needs to sign IMRF form 6.93.  Currently only 8 board members out of 18 members are participating in the IMRF. They needed 10 signatures.

In August of 2015 the participating members selectively approached non-participating board members until they found two that would sign form 6.93.

By signing form 6.93 the elected official is certifying that they work 1,000 hours per year.

The form clearly states: I understand that it is hours of actual work normally required to perform the duties the office that are counted toward the IMRF hourly standard. Hours spent at meetings, in the office and hours spent actually conferring with constituents are to be count as performance duty. Hours spent on-call or otherwise available to constituents do not county toward the IMRF hourly standard, not does time spent traveling to meetings.

I am happy to see our legislators working to end this excessive burden on the taxpayer.

The Northwest Herald reports the following:

By KEVIN P. CRAVER

A friendly amendment to a bill by state Sen. Pam Althoff to set new guidelines for how local elected officials participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund would forbid future county board members from participating at all.

Senate Bill 2701, which cleared the Senate, requires local elected officials participating in IMRF to keep records of their hours worked to ensure they are meeting the annual requirement of either 600 or 1,000 hours a year. But an amendment filed in the House by state Rep. Jack Franks, who helped instigate an ongoing IMRF investigation of the McHenry County Board’s work hours, would abolish IMRF pension eligibility altogether for members of county boards elected after this year.

Althoff, R-McHenry, said that Franks, D-Marengo, called her beforehand, and that she is OK with the change because a number of county boards in the wake of the IMRF audit are examining whether to end pension participation on their own.

They include the McHenry County Board, which is drafting a resolution to withdraw its members from the program.

You can read the full story here.

DuPage Board Votes Itself Raises

The Naperville Sun reports the following:

Gary Gibula

The move last week was part of a four-year agreement that calls for a 2 percent increase for the 2017 fiscal year that begins on Dec. 5, another 2 percent raise for the 2018 fiscal year but no increase for the following two years.

Board members Elizabeth Chaplin and Tony Michelassi were opposed.

“I think giving ourselves a raise is totally unnecessary and out-of-touch with what’s happening in our community,” she said. ” … I am not accepting any future raise in pay. Being on the county board is a part-time job. They’re trying to justify it because our population is so much larger than Kane and Will counties, but that’s kind of a bogus statement and I think it’s a poor excuse.”

“Because DuPage County has such a large population, we’re not at the high end, we’re not at the low end,” Fichtner said Monday. They “have not received a cost-of-living salary bump in several years, and it even decreased in one previous year,” he said.

Board members in Kane County, with a population of roughly 523,000, receive annual base pay of $25,000, while those in Will County, where the population is about 683,000, get $23,000. DuPage has more than 932,000 residents.

“Out of the five surrounding (counties), our elected officials are the fourth-lowest paid per population,” Dist. 3 board member Brian Krajewski said at the meeting.

Chaplin was unconvinced.

“There are families in my district that still are recovering from the recent recession and we see nonprofits across the state, like Meals on Wheels, closing due to lack of funding. I read an article that the median income in DuPage County has declined from 2000 to 2014, from $94,431 to $80,037,” she said.

You can read the full story here

Health and Environment

After the discovery of tricholorethene (known as TCE) in our well water in 2001 I have experienced the effects that pollutants and toxic chemicals can have on the environment and our health. This is what prompted my action in April of this year when I asked the DuPage Legislative Committee take a position in favor of supporting HB 5578 which would prohibit the sale of coal tar as of 1/1/17. The Legislative Committee referred this to the Environmental Committee.

Hilary Denk from the League of Women Voters distributed the below correspondence to the membership.
Dear DuPage League Leaders and LWVIL Leaders –

On May 3 I attended the DuPage County Environmental Commission meeting and listened to a very positive discussion regarding their position on the state ban of coal tar sealants. They had received a report that the coal tar ban was not going to move forward this year, so no formal action was taken to support the legislation, however it was acknowledged that a state wide ban was the best approach for the health and welfare of people and animals harmed by this product. Since 2012, DuPage County has used an alternative sealant on their properties. Liz Chaplin, County Board Member and LWV member, added that a number of municipalities and school district have banned the use on their properties, but only a few have banned the use for their entire communities.

From this, it was postured that DuPage could work on legislation allowing them to ban coal tar in the County. DuPage has a history of getting special legislation passed to provide this type of authority. Discussion also took place regarding passing state legislation to require proper labeling of all materials used by companies, since they claim their materials are coal tar free and often that it is hard to verify because there is no requirement to label the materials used. SCARCE, the local environmental education organization, will put together a new brochure for homeowners, churches, land owners and businesses about the harmful effects of coal tar and listing some local companies that provide the alternative materials. The County also shared some good information from Minnesota, where the ban is in place.
The plan at the County going forward is to review and approve the SCARCE brochure and take up this issue for a formal hearing and position in November of 2016 in preparation for their January legislative agenda approval, so a formal County position is approved before the next session. Overall, I was very pleased with the response to this topic and the clear understanding of the dangers posed by coal tar sealants.

I thank Liz Chaplin for raising this issue and making sure it was placed on the Environmental Committee agenda. I will send a follow up communication to the Committee thanking them directly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.
Hilary

DuPage Elected Official Income Increases While DuPage Median Income Decreases

While debating salary increases yesterday I explained that people in my district are not seeing increases in pay and have not felt any relief from the recession.  I was quickly reprimanded and told that I was wrong and that people in DuPage are getting raises.  According to Reboot Illinois DuPage County’s median income has decreased by -15% from 2000 to 2014.

Reboot Illinois reports the following:

Following is a map and list of the 30 counties that were flagged, along with the median household income in 2000 (adjusted for inflation) and 2014, the percent change and the county’s most common employer in 2013, according to the most recent data from Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns.

County-Median-Household-Income-

 

Top 30 counties with largest decline in median household income in Illinois

*Median household income for 2000 is adjusted for inflation

30. Jersey County

2014: $52,493
2000: $58,500
Percent change: -10%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
29. Massac County

2014: $40,590
2000: $45,263
Percent change: -10%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
28. Morgan County

2014: $46,406
2000: $51,955
Percent change: -11%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
27. Jo Daviess County

2014: $51,282
2000: $57,432
Percent change: -11%
Most common employer: Accommodation and food services
26. McLean County

2014: $60,460
2000: $67,873
Percent change: -11%
Most common employer: Finance and insurance
25. Ogle County

2014: $57,126
2000: $64,372
Percent change: -11%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
24. Henry County

2014: $51,025
2000: $57,597
Percent change: -11%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
23. Coles County

2014: $41,319
2000: $46,644
Percent change: -11%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
22. Cook County

2014: $55,058
2000: $62,195
Percent change: -11%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
21. Whiteside County

2014: $49,895
2000: $56,585
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
20. Rock Island County

2014: $48,024
2000: $54,476
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Insufficient data
19. Warren County

2014: $44,180
2000: $50,133
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
18. Champaign County

2014: $47,966
2000: $54,446
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Insufficient data
17. Greene County

2014: $39,738
2000: $45,143
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Retail trade
16. Pike County

2014: $39,005
2000: $44,322
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Retail trade
15. Iroquois County

2014: $46,895
2000: $53,311
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistnace
14. Kane County

2014: $72,131
2000: $82,018
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
13. Vermilion County

2014: $42,036
2000: $47,858
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
12. LaSalle County

2014: $51,205
2000: $58,456
Percent change: -12%
Most common employer: Retail trade
11. DeKalb County

2014: $56,536
2000: $65,068
Percent change: -13%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
10. Will County

2014: $75,176
2000: $86,533
Percent change: -13%
Most common employer: Retail trade
9. Macon County

2014: $47,575
2000: $55,509
Percent change: -14%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
8. Lake County

2014: $78,001
2000: $91,688
Percent change: -15%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
7. Stephenson County

2014: $48,569
2000: $57,188
Percent change: -15%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
6. Alexander County

2014: $30,699
2000: $36,156
Percent change: -15%
Most common employer: Transportation and warehousing
5. DuPage County

2014: $80,037
2000: $94,431
Percent change: -15%
Most common employer: Health care and social assistance
4. McHenry County

2014: $76,856
2000: $92,469
Percent change: -17%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
3. Boone County

2014: $58,792
2000: $73,856
Percent change: -20%
Most common employer: Manufacturing
2. Knox County

2014: $38,992
2000: $49,370
Percent change: -21%
Most common employer: Retail trade
1. Winnebago County

2014: $47,708
2000: $61,353
Percent change: -22%
Most common employer: Manufacturing

You can read the rest of the story here.