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Article updated: 11/28/2012 12:34 PM

Naperville chief: no interest in boosting police pension

By Justin Kmitch

The only new year's resolution Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall has his eye on is the resolution of his pension status.

Marshall testified before the five-member Naperville Police Pension Board Tuesday that he never even considered re-entering the Illinois Downstate Police Pension program when he was appointed the city's new police chief in May.

Marshall is collecting $98,148 annually from the fund he paid into during his 28-year police career. Since 2005, when he retired and was named assistant city manager, however, Marshall's second pension has been held in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Marshall and city officials have maintained that Marshall should be allowed to continue paying 5 percent of his earnings into the IMRF while also collecting his police pension and his current $151,000 salary.

The ongoing hearing before the pension board was prompted by the state Department of Insurance position that Marshall is once again a police officer and his pension payouts must cease until he retires as chief.

Marshall and city officials argue the state's public pension code distinguishes between police officers and police chiefs and allows police chiefs to continue collecting a pension while paying into another. Department of insurance officials, however, are under the opinion that the code makes no distinction between officers and chiefs.

Marshall said he never considered applying to re-enter the pension fund because he had already earned IMRF credits during his seven-years as assistant city manager.

"I've contributed 5 percent of my paycheck for seven years and I want to continue earning credit in IMRF because I've been in that program, now, since 2005," Marshall testified. "I was satisfied in IMRF and I want to continue earning that service credit."

Marshall, however, has since been informed that he has been "kicked out" of IMRF for also drawing his police pension. He is appealing that decision.

Marshall said he was also cognizant of the stigma associated with public officials who get pay bumps to pad their pensions and didn't want to be perceived as greedy.

Had Marshall applied to re-enter the police pension system as chief, his payments would be calculated on his current salary, as opposed to his approximately $100,000 police officer salary, thus costing the fund more.

"It would have elevated everything," Marshall said. "I didn't want a pension-enhancement type situation. I didn't want to do that."

Attorneys representing Marshall, Naperville and the department of insurance now have until Jan. 2 to file their closing argument briefs and the board will reconvene at 3 p.m. Jan. 15 to deliberate and render their decision regarding whether to continue paying Marshall or suspending his benefits.

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