CTA manager draws city pension on top of his high salary

With the Chicago Tribune reporting vigorously on Chicago union labor leaders taking high city pensions under questionable but legal circumstances, CBS Chicago has found a top CTA manager collecting a $91,000 annual pension from the city on top of his $105,000 a year CTA salary.

And it's perfectly legal, though some call it double-dipping.

John Malatesta is the CTA's general manager of customer facilities maintenance. He retired from the city of Chicago more than 13 years ago as the head of its snow-removal team.  And Malatesta is a friend of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and CBS reports.

(Mayor Emanuel with his friend Malatesta. Photo by CBS Chicago news.)

But, as Emanuel said himself in talking about the union leaders:

“This is not about individuals. We have a system-wide problem in our state and our city. … At the end of the day the taxpayers are on the hook, and I do not believe taxpayers should be left on the hook for a system that is not honest to them and not honest to the people that are contributing to it.”

Right. It's not about individuals. And certainly many Chicago employees - especially cops and firefighters - retire in their 50s with a nice pension and then begin a new career. But going back to the city trough is what's unusual -and legal.

That's a nice gig, if you can get it.


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  • And people like Cheryl wonder about trolls like me who don't like wastes of money like this, and then are told by the politicians that the taxpayers have to cough up to meet the deficit.

    I guess I am glad she is not reading this, but soothing the ego of someone similar.

    This kind of garbage is going to cost hundreds of millions before it is over. I hope that city residents who voted for this are the only ones who pay. But we know that it won't happen.

  • This really ought to be illegal. I'm pro-union and pro-pension, but the pension payments shouldn't start until the worker is actually retired from all jobs connected with any government or quasi-governmental agency.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    People do the same thing with military pensions earned after 20 years.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    Basically, they don't. The analogous thing would be if they left the Army, took an Army pension and then joined the Air Force. The only analogy might be if McCain has a military pension, and now is working on a Congressional one.

    The other thing is that the federal government can print money, while the state pension funds are grossly underfunded to begin with, and then certain people (like Gannon) get deals without making commensurate contributions, and the pension funds can't make obligations without big tax increases. Already happened with regard to the CTA--remember the Real Estate Transfer Tax of 2008?

    Basically, there should only be one pension system for the entire state. However, with the Constitution's pension clause, and the extreme interpretation given to it by Cullerton, having any reform apply to existing workers is a long shot, Cheryl.

    Besides that, it is disrespectful to the military to equate some patronage worker to them. And, I'll be that that's all this guy is.

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