New law puts restrictions on county board pensions

News

ILLINOIS — If you’re looking to run for county board, you might win, but you won’t be getting a pension. Under a new law, the goal is to hold more board members, new and old, more accountable.

“It’s going to be a change of pace to have to log everything.”

Elected board members statewide will no longer be able to collect a pension, but what about those already collecting one? Under the new law, if they want to keep it, they’ll have to make some immediate changes.

It will require members to record their hours.

“Having everything written down, to say, ‘Look, this is what I did. I’ve been working hard for you. I haven’t just been sitting back and collecting a paycheck.'”

Sangamon County Board member Catie Sheehan says she opted out of collecting a pension for her own reasons, but says some might not be ready for this.

“I think some are taken a little aback by the fact that, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to start filling out these timesheets right now.'”

A majority of board members, like Tony Delgiorno, signed up to get a pension. To keep it, he and other members must log 1,000 hours each year.

“I personally believe I do not reach the thousand hour threshold.”

Under the law, if county board members do not turn in their timesheets at the end of the year, they will lose their pension.

“Once you opt into the system, you can’t opt out and I find that to be wholely ridiculous.”

Sheehan says there could be a patter of people losing their savings.

“You may see people just not turn in their timesheets because of the way the law currently is. You can’t opt out of the pension if you signed up for it, so many see that as an opportunity to opt out of the pension.”

The law only applies to county board members, not townships or other city officials. Most municipalities are still making their own changes to comply with laws like making timesheets mandatory and letting members know about the requirements.

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