Pensions

Elk Grove trustees drop out of pension system after union criticism

Elk Grove Village trustees are backing out of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund after failing to show they worked enough to qualify for taxpayer-funded pensions.

The village trustees voted Tuesday to stop participating in the program, though Mayor Craig Johnson will stay in the system.

The pension system launched an investigation into the village board after the suburban-based International Union of Operating Engineers 150 questioned whether village board members worked enough hours to participate in the program.

To qualify for taxpayer-funded pensions, Elk Grove Village board members must work 1,000 hours a year. In an audit, Johnson provided an affidavit stating he was eligible by working 1,136 hours in 2015, but the village’s five trustees in the pension system did not provide affidavits. Trustee Pat Feichter, a retired teacher, does not participate in the program.

On Tuesday, the village board approved a resolution stating a trustee’s duties no longer required at least 1,000 hours a year and therefore don’t qualify for the pension.

The union raised the allegations after the village board passed a resolution last year supporting parts of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s turnaround agenda, which labor groups have criticized as anti-union. The village board later rescinded support for the agenda to avoid a lawsuit from the union.

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