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updated: 6/5/2017 1:29 PM

Lester: Suburban police support pension law, but insulted by language

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  • Oak Brook Police Chief

    Oak Brook Police Chief

 
 

Suburban police chiefs don't oppose a law that would make them ineligible for a second pension, but they don't like the term "double-dipping."

Oak Brook Police Chief James Kruger, president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the DuPage County Chiefs of Police Association, noted the statewide group has been working on the bill for years with state Rep. Grant Werhli and state Sen. Mike Connelly, both Naperville Republicans.

He noted it was "the only public safety entity to support the legislation," which would prevent retired cops from returning to work and being eligible for a second police pension or one through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Instead, police retirees on the public payroll will enroll in a 401(k)-style plan if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the bill.

The issue arose when Robert Marshall retired from a 28-year career with the Naperville Police Department and took a job as the assistant city manager, where he became eligible for a second, IMRF pension. He later became the police chief while receiving his police pension and participating in IMRF.

Double-dipping "implies a police officer is receiving two pensions from the same source," Kruger said. Still, he said, the association views the measure as a "a template that should be put in place for other public employees in Illinois as well."

Quinn's painting

Where, might you wonder, has former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's painting gone, just weeks after it was hung in the state Capitol's Hall of Governors? Conspiracy theorists can put their minds at ease. Quinnsters say Arlington Heights artist Bill Chambers wasn't quite happy with the way light was reflecting off the painting inside the state Capitol, and brought it home to make a few adjustments.

Noland sues for pay

Former state Sen. Michael Noland of Elgin, who is suing for money he lost in a legislative pay freeze, backed the measure five years ago.

"I know most working families in Illinois are not seeing raises this year, so we shouldn't either," Noland said in 2012 in support of a two-year pay freeze for lawmakers.

Noland filed suit in Cook County arguing he and other lawmakers should get back pay for the cost-of-living adjustments they missed, as well as for 48 furlough days during those years.

Noland, who left his seat to make an unsuccessful bid for Congress last year, argues the state Constitution says promised benefits should not be "diminished or impaired."

A challenge for Drury

The first statewide project coordinator for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program is planning to challenge state Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood in the Democratic primary next spring.

Bob Morgan of Deerfield says he plans to bid for the 58th House District because after more than 700 days without a state budget, "it's time for someone to stand up for the values of our community, make changes and begin fixing the problem."

Drury, who made headlines for his public refusal to support longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, almost immediately released a statement signaling that independence from party leadership will become a talking point in the race for the North suburban district.

Heidi passes

Master baker Heidi Schuerstedt was certainly loved, as evidenced by the number of calls I received after noting in last week's column that she had entered hospice care while battling leukemia. Schuerstedt, a mother of four who'd owned bakeries in Libertyville and Niles, died peacefully on June 1, family members said. Daughter Shannon Sanchez says a memorial service is being planned for a later date.

Meal packing and Iftar

The Rev. Corey Brost, a co-founder of the Children of Abraham coalition, tells me he's planning an interfaith service and Iftar event on June 19. First, attendees will pack meals at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg before proceeding to the Islamic Education Center, 1269 Goodrich Ave., Glendale Heights, for the evening meal where Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast. Brost, who expects about 150 attendees, calls the event an opportunity to work against faith-based prejudice by deepening our reverence of each other. For more information, email brostcsv@gmail.com.

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