Public employee pensions are an excellent deal for the employees, especially elected officials, but are a terrible deal for the taxpayers. I know because I have benefited from them.
As a teacher, I received a pension bump at the end of my 33 year career when the pay for my unused sick days was added to my salary. I also participated in a municipal pension plan as a part-time village trustee and then receive a pension bump when I was elected to a full-time position as township supervisor. Unfortunately, the pension perks I received are not unique. Thousands of others have received similar benefits at the expense of the taxpayers.
What can be done right now at the county level to fix the pension problem? The county board can pass a resolution which states that part-time county board members do not meet the 600 hour standard required for participation in the pension plan because the typical board member does not routinely work 11.5 hours per week.
How can you help to end pensions for part-time elected officials? First, contact your county board member and ask him or her to vote to end them. They will know it is the right thing to do. Just encourage them. Second, only vote for county board candidates in November who pledge to vote to end the pensions. It is time for all elected officials to say enough is enough and put an end to pensions for part-time board members.
Timothy L. Buchanan
Candidate, St. Clair County Board District 28 Swansea