Illinois mayors urge police and fire pension reform

Illinois mayors urge police and fire pension reform

The mayor of Danville said by far the most important pension reform for local municipalities is with those dealing with police and fire departments, and he said it's important for lawmakers to address concerns in that area.

Scott Eisenhauer was part of a group of Illinois mayors who spoke in Chicago on Monday calling for an overhaul to local pension systems for police and fire departments.  But it's unclear if state lawmakers will take up the issue anytime soon.  No legislation has been drafted, and negotiations are in a preliminary stage. Among the suggested ideas are raising the retirement age and lower annual cost-of-living adjustments.

Eisenhauer said the current structure is unsustainable.

Eisenhauer added that another idea is consolidating police and fire pension boards from more than 660 down to one or two. He said that would provide for more consistency across the state and give the boards more investment power.

Eisenhauer said lawmakers appear to have concerns about pension programs across the state but said it may be difficult to get anything accomplished with such a large issue in an election year.

The effort comes after lawmakers approved legislation overhauling two Chicago pension funds. It hasn't been signed into law yet.  Pension programs are created by state law, so only legislators can approve changes.

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