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Below are the latest stories on the pension issue in Illinois.

Will Stermer's Promotion Bring A Pension Bump Too?

Illinois Issues

It was long a practice of Illinois politicians: Give a buddy a short-term job at the end of his career in order to boost his pension. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law that's supposed to put an end to that practice. But what about the friend who Quinn just gave a promotion?

The elevation of Jerry Stermer from the governor's budget director to Illinois' comptroller will bring with it a raise of ten thousand dollars for a full year's work.

Gov. Quinn on Friday (12/19) appointed Stermer to temporarily serve as comptroller following Judy Baar Topinka's death.

There have been suggestions that Stermer's end of career pay bump will bring with it a boost to his state pension.

Stermer has said he's not interested in that, and won't try to make it happen.

And Tim Blair, who heads GARS, the General Assembly's Retirement System says he doesn't think it's possible anyway.

"It really shouldn't do anything for a couple of reasons," Blair said Friday.

Complicated reasons.

For one, Stermer will only serve as comptroller for a total of 24 days. Not enough time, Blair says, to be part of the system (unlike other state pension funds, where service is transferable, that's not the case for GARS, Blair said).

"This service couldn't even be included in the calculation of the pension unless there is at least two years' service, in the General Assembly's Retirement System, which there will not be,"Blair said. Also, a law Quinn signed that took effect in 2011 puts a cap on the salary amount on which a new public worker can earn a pension.

At more than $135,000, Stermer's new, yearly salary as comptroller surpasses the cap. As budget director, Stermer had been making $125,000.

Quinn says he choose Stermer because he shares many of the same values as the late Topinka. 

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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