Does Oak Park face a pension disaster?

Does Oak Park have a pension problem, as candidate Anan Abu-Taleb said in the March 1 Carleton Hotel forum, saying the village should go to the police and fire fighters and negotiate more of their contract offer money to their funds?

Chicago’s mayor did that with the city’s police sergeants and got nowhere, as Fran Spielman reports in today’s Sun-Times.

By a nearly 7-1 ratio, sergeants rejected a deal that would have given them a 9 percent pay raise over four years in exchange for: raising the retirement age for sergeants to 53; increasing employee pension contributions from 9 to 12 percent by January, 2015; hiking health care contributions for new retirees to 2 percent of annuities; forfeiting cost-of-living adjustments every other year and limited COLA in intervening years to 2.5 percent with simple interest.

What candidate Anan had in mind, I presume, was increasing employee pension contributions, bold-faced above, with a nod to “hiking health care contributions for new retirees” as another fund-helper. He talked this up, at least in general terms. His worthy opponent, John Hedges, did not. We voters can only hope he too addresses this issue in the weeks before the April 9 voting day.

The funds are “unsustainable” as constituted, said Mayor Rahm of Chicago, as many others say in other cities. He wants “honesty” in the matter, by which he apparently means talking straight to the general public and not pretending things will work out all right somehow.

A mayoral aide is quoted anonymously: “courageous” sergeants’ union members were “eviscerated” and/or “silenced” by “outside forces” opposing the mayoral offer. The pension funds are a “time bomb,” with results “devastating to our city.”

Is Oak Park in similar danger because of its unfunded pension liabilities? That ought to be discussed in the coming weeks.

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  • jerry sebesta  On March 12, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    What is the funding percentage of Oak Park’s Police and Fire funds?

    • Jim Bowman  On March 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      58% per Anan at Carleton on March 1, as in Abu-Taleb vs. Hedges: fiscal troubles, lower on this page.

  • Jim Bowman  On March 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Reblogged this on Blithe Spirit.

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