Metro-East News

Madison County employees may have to work more hours to qualify for state retirement

Fewer Madison County employees will qualify for retirement if a measure proposed before the county board is approved during its meeting on Wednesday night.

Government agencies can choose whether employees must work a minimum of 600 or 1,000 hours a year in order to qualify for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Madison County has usually had a minimum of 600 hours, or roughly 12 hours per week of a 50-week year. The new requirement would bring it up to about 20 hours a week.

However, a measure to be voted by the Madison County Board on Wednesday would change that minimum to 1,000 hours. It would only apply to new hires in the future and could not be applied to current employees.

The county board voted in September that all of its own members would drop out of IMRF to reduce the cost of pensions. The vote came after the state passed a new regulation that board members would have to submit time sheets to prove their work hours for IMRF. At that time, 19 of the 29 board members participated in IMRF. Dropping the county board members out of IMRF was to save approximately $32,000 a year in county contributions, as estimated at the time.

Also on the agenda: the board will vote to reauthorize the state’s attorney’s use of the appellate prosecutor’s office, which assists local offices when their cases go to the appellate court. State’s attorney Tom Gibbons said the measure is routine.

The board also will vote whether to approve David Baker for the county mental health board. Baker is a registered behavioral health nurse with 20 years of clinical management experience in chemical dependency, according to his resume. He is currently working on a master’s degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He was originally nominated last month, but Prenzler withdrew his nomination on the floor. He has now been re-nominated for the mental health board.

The board meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the County Administration Building in Edwardsville.

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Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald