--To little, to late don't your think?--
Story at Chicago Tribune
Governor signs bill to shift costs to local governments that offer lucrative short-term gigs
By Ray Long, Chicago Tribune reporter
8:41 PM CDT, August 16, 2012
— Former lawmakers will cost the state less money when they fatten their state pensions with short-time lucrative jobs with cities, counties and other local governments under a law Gov. Pat Quinn signed Thursday.
The measure was instigated by Tribune and WGN-TV stories that disclosed the sweet deal given to former Rep. Robert Molaro, D-Chicago. He landed a $12,000, one-month job with 14th Ward Ald. Edward Burke, chairman of the City Council Finance Committee. That brief stint allowed Molaro to take the $12,000 figure and multiply it times 12 for an annual $144,000 salary he could use to calculate his overall state retirement check. His yearly pension nearly doubled to more than $110,000.
"This is a loophole that has been abused over the years by former lawmakers, and it has to stop," said House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego, the law's sponsor. "A former lawmaker will still be able to continue public service. But if they do it for a limited period of time, just to boost their pension, that will no longer be tolerated at the state expense."
The local governments will be on the hook for the extra expense if they hire the lawmaker only briefly to help him or her qualify for a pension increase. But a local government would not have to chip in to cover the extra expense related to a former lawmaker's pension boost if he keeps a high-paying job at a city or other public office for more than two years.
Only about two dozen lawmakers still are eligible for the pension spike since a 1994 law ended that practice for lawmakers elected after it took effect.
The Democratic governor signed the bill on the eve of a special session he called on the slim hope that legislators will approve a far-reaching overhaul of the state's heavily indebted retirement systems.
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