McHenry County Board Finally Ends Board Members’ Pensions

NorthwestHeraldLogoBy Kevin P Craver on June 23rd, 2016:

Without a word of comment, all 24 members of the McHenry County Board voted to end participation in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund for themselves and those elected after them.

 The unanimous vote, part of the routine consent agenda, eliminates IMRF eligibility effective Dec. 1, with the new county fiscal year and the seating of the new board after the Nov. 8 election. The resolution not only eliminates pension eligibility for new members, but also ends the accumulation of credit for pensions for existing members, including the elected chairman.

The IMRF investigation was prompted earlier this year by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, who asked the fund to look into whether County Board members, all but a handful of whom had signed up to receive the pension, were working the required hours. He also authored the amended Senate bill that seeks to strip county board pensions statewide.

But Franks said he still wants to ensure that County Board members who have accrued service time toward a pension or are already vested have done so legitimately, and can prove they work 1,000 hours a year. Franks, who has butted heads with the McHenry County Board for years over reform initiatives he has wanted it to implement, is now running for board chairman against Republican candidate and board member Michael Walkup, R-Crystal Lake.

“This is a good first step, but they still have a lot of explaining to do,” Franks said. “This won’t go away. They have to answer the question, and if they can’t, they have to be removed [from IMRF].”