|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (485166)||5/2/2012 2:19:12 PM|
|From: FUBHO||1 Recommendation Respond to of 646607|
|(AP) — Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was able to greatly expand his retirement package and save $400,000 in contributions through some maneuvering within the state pension system, the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV reported Wednesday.|
Daley, who retired a year ago, receives benefits totaling nearly $184,000 a year, about $50,000 more than he would have otherwise received.
The Tribune/WGN-TV investigation found Daley was able to do this by briefly rejoining the legislative pension plan that he was part of as a state senator. One month later, he returned to the Chicago municipal pension fund.
That switch came two years into his time as mayor and made Daley eligible for a pension worth 85 percent of his mayoral salary. That's better than any other city employee gets.
The Tribune said that Daley declined to be interviewed for its story. His spokeswoman, Jacquelyn Heard, wrote in an email: "I can only assume that his pension was handled in the same manner that anyone's would be, given the length of service — nearly 40 years — in government."
The city of Chicago is coming under an increasingly heavy load of pension debt. Unfunded liabilities of the city's four pension funds have reached nearly $20 billion, adding to the burden on taxpayers and other current and future employees in the pension plans.
Daley's pension, too, will cost taxpayers throughout Illinois because his contributions to the General Assembly pension fund were not enough to cover the cost of the benefits he is receiving, the Tribune reported.