I love the police but . . . Updated

By:  Diane Benjamin

I’m one of those people who thanks veterans and the police whenever I see them.  I really appreciate the job they do for the people of this country.  I have military and police in my family, their jobs aren’t easy.  We all know veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice, but so have police.  A guy my brother worked with was killed in the line of duty – doing the same job as my brother.

It doesn’t help when Mayor Renner goes on his Not In Our Town spiel saying we won’t tolerate a Ferguson here.   Exactly what won’t he tolerate?  I hope he meant burning and looting, but I’m not sure.  Tari’s remarks seem to be aimed at the police instead of the criminals.   Does Tari gets his information from Al Sharpton?   He should clarify his comments!

Anyway, before the Council meeting Monday night I spoke to an officer and thanked him for his service.  I asked him how long he had been on the force, he said 17 years.  Then he mentioned “3 more years and I can retire”.

Luckily, I was interrupted by other people wanting to talk to me.  Illinois has a HUGE pension problem.  Retiring after 20 years of service and receiving a check for the rest of your life is a BIG part of the problem, not to mention the 3% increase every year.

It’s not the officers fault.  It’s not the City of Bloomington’s fault.  The blame is squarely on Springfield and the politicians who sold out citizens for votes.  They made promises to unions that aren’t possible to keep.  They failed to fund the pension systems because it’s boring to pass a budget without new “gifts” to run for reelection on.

Citizens have been subjected to higher income taxes with the promise of it being temporary.  Springfield did nothing to fix the problems except pass a law that will be ruled unconstitutional.   Who put wording in the Illinois Constitution that pensions can not be diminished?  Was that added in the 70’s during the last Constitutional Convention – nick-named Con-Con?  It’s so easy to amend the Constitution and then leave office and the mess to taxpayers.  What have the Brady bunch been doing to fix anything?

People leave Illinois everyday.  Businesses leave Illinois everyday.

The police and fire employees do a great job protecting us, but reality is going to set in.

How about working together to fix Illinois?

By the way, my brother retired on a Federal pension in his 50’s.  He would be screaming at me if he read this, luckily he lives a long way from here.  I expect the same reaction from the local guys.

It could be safe to assume nothing is going to change as the Illinois death spiral continues.  It would take guts and common sense.  Renner raised taxes to fund pensions, citizens are forced to pay for Springfield’s folly.  That explains why so many are leaving.

See this link for more info:  http://www.illinoispolicy.org/the-cost-of-illinois-broken-pension-systems-per-employee-retirement-contributions-4-times-the-private-sector/

Read the pension code for yourself:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=638&ChapterID=9&SeqStart=15775000&SeqEnd=24100000

    (40 ILCS 5/3-111) (from Ch. 108 1/2, par. 3-111)
    Sec. 3-111. Pension.
    (a) A police officer age 50 or more with 20 or more years of creditable service, who is not a participant in the self-managed plan under Section 3-109.3 and who is no longer in service as a police officer, shall receive a pension of 1/2 of the salary attached to the rank held by the officer on the police force for one year immediately prior to retirement or, beginning July 1, 1987 for persons terminating service on or after that date, the salary attached to the rank held on the last day of service or for one year prior to the last day, whichever is greater. The pension shall be increased by 2.5% of such salary for each additional year of service over 20 years of service through 30 years of service, to a maximum of 75% of such salary.

It goes on.





2 thoughts on “I love the police but . . . Updated

  1. This is a difficult labyrinth to navigate, usually accompanied by the endless mantra of how hard these people work, the danger they’re in everyday and how would you like to do what they do and see what they see everyday. All true, but these facts cannot negate the inescapable truth that pension reform is the biggest issue facing our state. All of this is unsustainable and no one seems willing to face reality.

    I’m not sure I’d lay total blame at the city of Bloomington. These pensions are protected by the state constitution and any attempts at reform are going to be challenged in the state supreme court and are bound for defeat. I find it quite troubling that this type of work ethic is celebrated in our society, funded by the tax payer and protected by the state constitution. At the very least we could raise the retirement age and allow new employees the option of opting out of a system that is bankrupt. Where I would lay blame on the local level is with David Hales hiring 17 new employees in his most recent budget compounding the pension debt facing the City of Bloomington.

    The worst example of this is the Kimerlings who are retiring at age 50 and 46. These two should be poster children for pension reform in the state of Illinois. But, instead of digging into the details of how much it will cost the tax payers, our community can’t seem to get enough of them, treating them like local celebrities with endless tributes for their service. By the way, notice the Kimmerlings are getting out of Illinois in retirement. Wonder who will be left to pay their pensions while they’re walking their dogs on the beach at Gulf Shores.


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