The jury is out on whether St. Clair County's part-time attorneys and a few other workers qualify for an IMRF pension, but it shouldn't take long for the verdict to come back a resounding "no."
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund is auditing St. Clair County. County employees have to work 600 hours a year to qualify for an IMRF pension, but St. Clair County doesn't keep records. How odd. Madison, Monroe, Clinton and Randolph counties all keep track.
Even without records, it's pretty clear from annual pay rates that many of the part-timers do not meet the hours worked threshold. Thirteen attorneys and commissioners would be making less than minimum wage if they worked 600 hours a year. When was the last time you heard of an attorney working for less than minimum wage?
It looks like political cronies were put on the payroll for the fringe benefits of health insurance and an IMRF retirement. Madison County audits its records to make sure its part-timers qualify. Were St. Clair County officials just not paying attention to the requirements? Or did they not care if a few extra workers snuck onto the IMRF rolls?
In truth IMRF wasn't watching closely in the past, either. But the severe underfunding of the other Illinois public pension funds has prompted the IMRF to be more discriminating. The separate IMRF is well-funded, and it wants to make sure it stays that way. St. Clair County and every public body should be as careful.