First Responder Pension Facts

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October 18, 2019

Latest Department of Insurance Figures Show Downstate Pension Systems are Lowest in Administrative Costs

SPRINGFIELD – The latest figures released by the Illinois Department of Insurance show that the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) and downstate police and fire pension systems have the lowest administrative costs of any pension systems in the state. This new data is key information that should be carefully considered during any discussion of pension fund consolidation, according to the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association (IPBPA).

“Much of the current talk focuses on the alleged administrative cost savings by pension consolidation, yet this latest information shows the IMRF, police and fire pension funds already have lower administrative costs than anybody else,” said PBPA Executive Director Sean Smoot. “In fact, those local system costs are far lower than those for the State of Illinois' pension systems. Those who favor the consolidation of police and fire pension funds will need to explain how moving millions from a lower-cost system to a higher-cost system will save the taxpayers money.”

The Bi-Annual Department of Insurance Public Pension Division's October 2019 report shows that 6.2 percent of the total funds administered by the IMRF go toward administrative costs. The figure for downstate police pension systems is 7.97 percent, and for fire pension systems it is 8.37 percent. The administrative cost for the State of Illinois' employee pension system is 14.36 percent.

“We want to stress that this data comes directly from the State of Illinois, not from any group pushing for or against consolidation,” Smoot said.

The PBPA suggests that, rather than consolidating the local systems, the Illinois General Assembly should allow the smaller systems to invest their funds at a much higher rate of return like the IMRF is allowed to do. Without the investment restrictions, which are placed only on small police and fire pension funds, and with no consolidation, the local pension funds could generate their own higher returns, meaning no extra cost to the taxpayers to keep the funds healthy.

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Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019


Task Force Recommends Consolidating Downstate and Suburban Police and
Fire Pensions

Consolidating Assets of Suburban & Downstate Police & Fire Pension
Fund Assets Worth As Much As $2.5 Billion over 5 Years

The Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force issued a report to
Governor JB Pritzker today recommending that the state take action in
the veto session to consolidate the nearly 650 suburban and downstate
police and fire pension plan assets into two new statewide systems,
which could generate as much as $1 million a day in additional returns
for the funds and help stabilize pensions and protect the retirement
security of our brave first responders.

The consolidated funds would total more than $14 billion in assets,
generating an additional $820 million to $2.5 billion in investment
returns alone over the next 5 years and an additional $3.6 to $12.7
billion in investment returns alone over the next 20 years, based on
the performance of the statewide municipal employees’ fund.

The two consolidated funds – one for police and one for fire – would
pool assets to lower administrative costs and gain access to better
investment opportunities, improving performance and easing the growing
pressures on local property taxes to pick up the tab when funds

“Under the current arrangement, Illinois’ suburban and downstate
police and firefighter pension funds are underperforming by nearly one
million dollars per day. That’s not just a missed opportunity – that’s
a hole these funds are digging deeper every year – and then
municipalities have to ask taxpayers to fill the hole,” said Governor
JB Pritzker. “We’ll be proposing legislation this fall to consolidate
the assets of the 649 suburban and downstate pension funds into two
statewide funds. This consolidation will improve the financial health
of the plans and help secure the future for the retired workers who
rely on them – and it will alleviate some of the property tax burden
plaguing homeowners and renters across our state.”

Because most of the existing 650 funds are so small – nearly half have
less than $10 million in assets – returns on their investments have
been significantly lower than other pension systems. Currently, the
array of smaller funds each pay higher administrative fees and see
significantly lower investment returns than larger pension plans in
Illinois, averaging 2% less annually during the past 10 years than the
statewide municipal employees’ fund.

With regard to the two new funds, the task force also recommends that
the state make some changes to Tier 2 beneficiaries’ plans to address
future concerns about the safe harbor standard of the Social Security
Administration and Internal Revenue Code, as well as avoiding
substantial and sudden future costs to municipalities resulting from

In the future, the task force could consider consolidating the benefit
administration of the suburban and downstate police and fire pensions,
as well as the advantages of further consolidation of other state and
local benefit plans, including Chicago’s funds.

Governor Pritzker established the task force less than a month into
office, on Feb. 11, 2019. Former Chicago Board Options Exchange
Chairman and CEO William J. Brodsky, Associated Fire Fighters of
Illinois President Pat Devaney and former Illinois Senate Minority
Leader Christine Radogno co-chaired the 10-member committee.

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The September FOP general meeting is 17 Sept 19 at 1200 hours. This is the month By-Laws are voted on. AGAIN there is another anti-retiree proposal. The proposal in question would limit members from serving more than four (4) terms on the FOP board. This By-Law would be legal on its own but they want to make retroactive to the formation of Lodge 7. The effect would be to remove about 6 trustees all of whom are retirees.

If you are read the second city blog you see many comments that they would give up the COLA to get rid of the residency requirement. It’s the retirees that add suitability to this board. This was proposed by a officer who will be running for president of the lodge. He has run many times before and has never won an election. Its not his first attempt to remove retirees from the board.

This By-Law was passed by the By-Law Committee but voted down by the full FOP board 16-9. Two retirees actually voted to accept the By-Law (Donahue and Dougherty). Remember those names come election time! All retirees are not equal. We need more worker bees and less good time Charlie’s!

This By-Law may still may come to a vote at the General Meeting. So anyone who could make the meeting would be appreciated. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served. Parking is tight so car pool and let the guy/gal who is most ambulatory drive and drop the others at the door.

Good news with Aetna Insurance the rates will drop $10 next year and we will gain Silver Sneakers, Optical, and $2000 for hearing aides every two years. More info to follow.

Have a great day and stay safe!

Paul Vitaioli
Member FOP Retirement Committee
019 Retired

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