Illinois Law Bans Pensions For County Board Members

Future county board members in Illinois won’t be receiving pensions unless they meticulously documents their work hours and pass a certain threshold, according to a statewide law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The law follows a controversy around board members claiming their pensions without working the required amount of hours.

The law received a rare showing of bipartisan support in the state legislature.

From the Chicago Tribune:

[State Rep. Jack Franks] got pension fund officials to investigate whether McHenry board members were improperly claiming the pensions despite not working the required 1,000 hours a year.

Eighteen of the 24 board members signed affidavits saying that they had worked enough hours to qualify. But when pension fund Executive Director Louis Kosiba asked to verify their claims, board members said they could not go back and document all their hours, noting that much of their work occurs outside of official settings, reading documents and talking to constituents.

In general, county board members are required to work at least 600 or 1,000 hours each year, varying by the county, to qualify for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension.

The retirement fund guidelines stated that a 1,000-hour limit — equal to about 20 hours a week — would make it “highly unusual” for any county board members to qualify.

Franks objected that county board members were trying to get a full-time taxpayer benefit for part-time work.

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