I would like to clarify a few points raised in your July 22, story, " 'Bleeding the taxpayers dry': Investigation looks at retirement benefits for county part-timers."
First, over the past few years, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund has found that many of our employers are confused about enrolling attorneys in IMRF. For that reason, when an attorney is enrolled in IMRF today, IMRF contacts the employer to ensure that the attorney is in fact a common law employee and that the position meets the employer's hourly standard. The fact that IMRF will contact St. Clair County regarding its attorneys is not indicative of any wrongdoing on the county's part, but simply reflects IMRF's policy.
Second, early in 2013, St. Clair County asked IMRF to conduct both a compliance review and an employer audit. IMRF scheduled the county's compliance review and employer audit long before any investigation by the Belleville News-Democrat.
Both compliance reviews (which are conducted by IMRF field representatives) and employer audits (which are conducted by an IMRF auditor) are considered best practice for public pension funds.
Last, the use of the word "investigators" in the story could be lead some readers to believe that IMRF suspects the county is guilty on some charge. In fact, IMRF's review of the county's IMRF records is considered best practice and is being welcomed by the county.
Louis W. Kosiba
IMRF executive director