Wow, what a pension

June 24, 2013 

Who needs a stockbroker when you can tap into the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund?

Former Belleville city attorney Robert Sprague knows you would have to pick a red-hot stock to do better than the IMRF.

Sprague could have invested $36,663 in the stock market in 2004. Instead, he used that money to catch up 16 years' worth of pension contributions -- the city had to make catch-up contributions also -- and bumped his pension from $36,874 per year to $86,763. That's almost $50,000 more a year. For life.

It's a great deal for Sprague; not so much for the taxpayers who help support IMRF.

Then there's former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney. He's out of work and without a paycheck after his abrupt resignation last week. Don't shed a tear for him, though. In May he'll be able to start drawing a pension worth 80 percent of his salary. That's $80,700 a year. For life.

How many private pension programs pay anyone 80 percent? The amount is outrageous, and so is the possibility that Delaney will still collect it even if the allegations that he bullied his office staff and made racist and sexist remarks are true.

No wonder people fight to get into the IMRF pension system -- and the employers/taxpayers contribute double what employees pay. Play it right, and you can make more doing nothing when you retire than most people make working full time.

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