54 Double-Dipping Retired Chicago Cops Just The Tip of Pension Abuse Iceberg

54 Double-Dipping Retired Chicago Cops Just The Tip of Pension Abuse Iceberg

According to the Chicago Sun-Times there are 54 Double-Dipping Chicago Cops living the high life since their retirement. I would certainly never begrudge anyone from enjoying their earned pensions after serving a career long enough to get it, but it does bother me when there appears to be a policy in place which allows retirees to cheat taxpayers out of even more "tax contributions to the system" just because they can.

The 54 Double-Dippers are able to extract a City Hall Paycheck (and new pension benefits) on top of their current retirement pensions because they are employed by the City's Department of Aviation's little known police force. A police force that, by the way, falls under yet another different municipal pension fund than the one Chicago Police Department contributes to. But why? Doesn't the Department of Aviation Police Force "augment and act in support of" the Chicago Police Department? And if so - are they not performing a duty that is basically the same as the one CPD is tasked to do? Seems to me they should both be controlled under the same pension authority!

I don't think we need a separate police force at O'Hare or Midway, but if it takes some heat off the the regular duties that CPD already does there, then okay, let these retirees earn straight time pay and with no benefits to augment their retirement income. This whole thing just smells like another scam and as such, a waste of money. It sickens me. Besides, I just don't think we need umpteen different redundant agencies serving the same purpose. It is kind of like the Forest Preserve Police - you know? I mean, what do they do that is any different than the Cook County Sheriff can't do under its jurisdiction?

It is all just patronage!

And you wonder why the pension funds in Chicago, and the State of Illinois, are so out of whack and under-funded, well, if I have said it once I've said it a thousand times already - the costs associated with patronage take a disproportionate amount of money out of the system as a whole.

When will Illinois Taxpayers demand that lawmakers begin pension reform in earnest instead of offering watered-down reforms that aren't worth the value of used toilet paper? Patronage and its pension abuses have long been a dirty secret in our local and state politics, but it has also been one that politicians have manipulated since public pensions began.

I have asked over and over again how it can be that dissatisfied voters can vote out someone and still see them appointed to one of the hundreds of hidden agencies and boards? And remember, they all come with the same slight of hand- separate municipal pension funds! Doesn't it make sense for politicians and/or government employees been given one single retirement account - just like regular people must do in the private sector? Yet, that reform is never offered!

The 54 Chicago Cops are just the tip of the iceberg, but with government budgets being squeezed to the max (and thus adding an even higher burden to taxpayers) - wouldn't it be judicious to stop this practice? Or do wait for another Titanic to sink? People better wise up and demand some real reform.

And 1 Retirement Account Per Person sounds like a good place to start!


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  • There is actually an inherent savings doing it this way; Most of the people on that list will either not stay there long enough to vest in the pension system and if they DO, they won't live long enough to collect more than a few years, versus hiring a bunch of young people with no experience or knowledge (the LAST thing we need at the airport, tyvm) who will live their careers through the system and pension out. Not to mention the cost of training, time off with kids etc. I'm not speaking to the idea that the DOA cops are worth their salt, I dunno, but in real terms, there's an absolute savings in hiring old workhorses, even if they are patronage hacks.

  • In reply to 911boss:

    I can see where you are coming from in principle 911 Boss. The idea of training naturally is a good argument too, but I am not sure if many won't vest into more than one fund. That is all dependent on their age of course.

    Look, I do not think it a bad idea to hire the "old workhorses" - it is just multiple pension funds I do not agree with. There is no reason in the world why one retirement account wouldn't work in the government sector, especially given that many career politicians change positions as often as people change BVD's. And I do understand those moves, but... It's a big but that could lead to abuse and Lord knows we have seen much to much of that.

    I don't know the answer either or what is best for all situations - yet it seems there has to be something done with pensions - and mostly because of the career officials who really make out on them. Certainly most government workers deserve what they earn and rarely (as a group) abuse the system. But abuse exists never the less and with so many funding shortfalls as it is - what to do?

    Thanks for your comment.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I understand the frustration. The system is set up in such a way that certain agencies are required, either by law or bargaining agreement, to pay into (be a part of) certain pension systems. The inherent issue with one central retirement system however, is evidenced by several pensions for State of Illinois workers being SO underfunded, that they will have a very difficult time meeting their obligations in the next decade. It should be noted that the governor, any governor, has access to the funds if necessary, just like 911 surcharge money, and has taken 'loans' from both in the past. Whereas a pension fund like IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) is a privately held and managed fund, and as such was approaching 90% funding when last I checked. Imagine though if everyone were under the same system and there was a mismanagement or embezzlement, or just a plain old crash. All the workers and retirees under a single system in any of those scenarios would be ruined and the state would be fiscally devastated for decades. Like Detroit bad. Typically, government workers make significantly less than their private sector counterparts would, because of the pension/retirement benefits. In these lean times, where absolutely everybody is struggling, it's hard to see people with relatively secure jobs and pensions when you don't have one. Yet for better or worse, the reason there are government workers in the first place is because someone decided to commit themselves to a life of service to the people over the simple chasing of the paper. In as far as theft or abuse of the public trust is concerned, I don't believe there's a punishment severe enough on the books for this kind of crime. George Ryan comes close, but even HE has it easier than he should. The answer, at the end of the line is to do two things: 1) Modify the compensation and pension structure of essential services personnel (Police, Fire, Water) to reflect the outward economic conditions and hold the feet of the unions AND the leadership to the fire publicly until they get the message and 2) Enter into a PPP (Public Private Partnership) as a way to provide all of the support services necessary to both those directly involved in the mission AND to the people at the highest possible level and at the best possible cost.

  • In reply to 911boss:

    I see it is not as simple as One Account - but think it is an ideal to strive for.

    I know someone that works at IMRF and think they do a good job. Plus they are darn good with their internal audits from what I hear. One thing you said is spot on though - the regular workers make significantly less and I believe that they deserve more if the truth be told. Unfortunately, though, the one's abusing the system are the "in the know people," the heavily connected or career politicians. We have many examples of that abuse and it is wide spread; i.e. it just isn't Cook or DuPage County. Literally every county has a handful of scammers, but I do see that the regular workers do get the bad rap. That was not the intent of post either.

    I say this to you hinestly - I don not begrudge any worker earning a legitimate pension and health care benefits, after all that was earned and should be honored! My problem lies with what we saw with Metra, McPier, and Towns like Cicero, Orland Park, etc. There are others too.

    I am not 100% convinced, though, that one account wouldn't work. There must however be provisions to guard against borrowing from the funds. I suppose embezzlement is always a worry, whether it is in the government or private sectors. I would think that independent auditors could keep things like that to a minimum with one account per person. We just have too many layers of bureaucracy right now and I think that is the real problem.

    911 - You do make a good rational argument though and perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between our thoughts. Hopefully that will be done.

    p.s. Between you and I - I have suggested to the Joliet City Council that they hire retirees / pensioners, so I am all for that. But - I don't see the need to go beyond a good living wage to supplement their pension.

  • Bella had his usual "the ST is full of it" post (if so, why does he read it?) and since he is a retired cop, I figured that he was complaining that he didn't get such a position, so I didn't comment.

    I wonder if Burke's "retired cop bodyguard unit" is similarly situated, except that it seems that they would still be city employees.

    Which gets to the main points:

    1. The Rahm 100-day retrospectives indicate that there are going to be defaults on pensions real soon. Fox interviewed the head of the Chicago Federation of Labor who said "well just get more revenue." Mike Flannery asked "does that mean more taxes" to which he said "yes or fees." Hence, that reinforces the point I had made that unlike in the private sector, most of the public employee unions are only in it to extort the taxpayers, especially since, unlike NY, most of them have the right to strike (police, fire and paramedics excepted).

    2. Bella's point brings up the point that "if they are not working for the city" a lot of these scams get perpetuated because the city runs all sorts of "sister agencies" over which da Mare exercises control, but there is no accountability among them. Sort of similar to Huberman being called on the carpet for something at the 911 Center, but by then he worked for CPS and couldn't be touched. Of course, when he was at the CTA, he tried to pass himself off as a patrolman so he could keep paying into the police pension. So, 911, even if one isn't in a post long enough to accrue a pension, those people still try to finagle the system.

  • You think that's bad what about all these politicians collecting multiple pensions! They should get one--just like the rest of us.

  • In reply to duslrich:

    Tell Me About - I've have been making that same argument since the get-go

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    I am not sure I agree with hiring old workhorses in today's economy. Why not let a younger person do the work? The retiree had a job, is collecting a pension. Unemployment amongst young people is high, let them get a chance at working. Besides, why they may get vested after 5 years I don't think they can collect a pension until so many years of service and usually over 50 years of age (and that age should probably go up). If we raised the retirement age we may eliminate the double dipping?

  • In reply to Nancy:

    I could go along with that thinking on many levels, and many instances. However, there are certain positions where the more experience the better - particularly in the area of public safety, nuclear industry, etc..

    What we have forgotten in all this too is that many viable employees have been forced into early retirements and buyouts as companies sought relief via attrition methods. There is no easy answer - and yes the young are also woefully unemployed. As for vesting and pensions for the younger - that same environment really doesn't exist anymore as companies have seen to changing benefits.

    As for raising the retirement age - I like that idea - as well as ONE account - ONE person.

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    Oops, besides *while*

  • In reply to Nancy:

    do that all the time - lol

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