By: Diane Benjamin
A LOT more information on pensions spiking is coming. Citizens deserve better than Bloomington throwing away $1.2 Million when it could have been avoided. This won’t be the last post, but I have to lay out what I know slowly so you can understand the facts.
First, let’s review. For DECADES employees across the state have been spiking their salaries right before retirement so their pensions increase substantially. They do this mostly by cashing in unused sick days, a benefit the private sector doesn’t get.
IMRF manages the pensions plans for a lot of the City workers, but not Police and Fire. When employees spike their pensions it means contributions to the plan didn’t cover the additional expenses incurred during the employee’s retirement. Retirees received windfall pensions without proper funding.
The law requiring spikes be funded was passed in 2011 and took effect 1/1/2012. All IMRF employers, including the City of Bloomington, received this memo explaining the changes: https://www.imrf.org/en/publications-and-archive/general-memos/2011-general-memos/general-memo-620
Note these paragraphs:
- Employer action/payment required as a result of certain earnings increases
- Employers are required to pay that portion of the present value of a pension attributable to earnings increases exceeding the greater of 6% or 1.5 times the increase in the CPI-urban (“Accelerated Payment”)
- Employers are required to request a “Pension Impact Statement” from IMRF before increasing the earnings of certain members by 12% or more
David Hales has been called Bloomington’s CEO by Mayor Renner – thus his salary that is bigger than the Illinois Governor’s.
In the private sector who gets blamed when the corporation fails?
Bloomington’s CEO failed to stop pension spiking leading to the Accelerated Payments of more than $1.2 million from taxpayers. It could have been stopped by just changing the payout policy to “when the employee walks out the door permanently”. The council didn’t need to vote, Hales just needed to instruct HR the “happy days” for employees at taxpayer expense are DONE.
See point 2 – did the City ever file a Pensions Impact Statement as required by IMRF? NOPE (will post proof later). That form requires the signature of who approved the spiking, so Bloomington just ignored it. Instead IMRF issued bills for the accelerated payments, starting in 2012.
- David Hales, as Bloomington’s CEO, had to have been aware of the law change
- David Hales failed to comply with IMRF rules to file a Pension Impact Statement
- David Hales failed to change the payout policy leading to more than $1.2 million of your money being spent needlessly
- The City has received IMRF bills since 2012, but at the last Council meeting Hales acted clueless. See video on this post: https://blnnews.com/2015/08/30/wheres-the-truth/
- Pension Spiking would NEVER have been revealed if the Chicago Tribune hadn’t exposed it
Keep that in mind when your taxes are raised. Hales can throw your money without consequences from the Council, but you need to pay more.
It takes a lot of guts to raise taxes while Hales is still the CEO. Think this is the only time your money has been thrown away?
I’m not done with this topic!