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updated: 6/18/2013 12:45 PM

Lake Zurich trustees vote in favor of forgoing pensions

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Lake Zurich trustees Monday night voted in favor of ending their participation in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension plan because they don't work enough hours to qualify.

As part of a random audit, IMRF required Lake Zurich to provide certification that the position of trustee requires a minimum of 1,000 hours annually -- or nearly 20 hours per week -- to conduct village business.

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None of the five current trustees claimed they would work at least 1,000 hours on Lake Zurich matters over a year, Assistant Village Manager Roy Witherow said. IMRF requested that the village board trustees pass a resolution to terminate their participation in the pension plan because of an inability to meet the 1,000-hour threshold, which they did with a 6-0 vote at Monday's meeting.

Witherow said the village has contributed $3,379 on behalf of elected officials to IMRF since Sept. 30. Mayor Thomas Poynton said he remains in the retirement plan.

IMRF spokeswoman Linda Horrell said the Lake Zurich trustees did "the right thing" by agreeing they don't qualify for the pension benefits.

Horrell said about 550 random audits on a cross-section of large, small and medium governments have been conducted since 2006. She said the agency hopes to complete 225 audits this year to ensure governments are correctly implementing IMRF statutes, policies and procedures.

"We know employers are confused about whom to enroll in IMRF," Horrell said. "The audits have uncovered additional confusion among employers regarding IMRF participation for elected officials."

Other suburban elected officials have exited IMRF in the past year. For example, after an IMRF audit, Palatine's mayor and village council members voted to forgo pension benefits that cost local taxpayers about $11,400 annually.

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