New state lawmaker Curran won't get third pension

Eligible to receive two public pensions, new state Sen. John Curran has declined the opportunity to receive a third as an Illinois lawmaker.

Curran, who was appointed to fill the seat formerly held by Christine Radogno, began his new job last week. The Downers Grove Republican will finish the remainder of Radogno's term representing the 41st District in DuPage, Cook and Will counties.

"I have been getting up to speed," Curran said Friday. "It's actually been very beneficial to start at this time because we were called into session right away. I have been down here (in Springfield) ... working on bringing myself up to speed on all of the processes and state issues as a whole."

To become a state senator, the 44-year-old had to resign from both his full-time job as an assistant state's attorney in Cook County and his most recent elected position as a DuPage County Board member.

Curran will receive an annual salary of $67,836 as a state senator. Previously, he was being paid roughly $130,000 annually as an assistant state's attorney and $51,081 a year as a county board member.

In addition to changing jobs, Curran chose not to enroll in the pension fund covering the Illinois General Assembly.

"I have turned it down," he said.

Curran said he made that decision "because I truly believe that's what my constituents would want."

Still, he's going to get two pensions.

Curran was able to qualify for the first pension because he spent 19 years as an assistant state's attorney. He's vested in the Cook County Pension Fund.

He became eligible for the second pension as a result of his years as a county board member.

County board members can enroll in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund as long as they work at least 1,000 hours a year.

Board members aren't required to enroll in IMRF, but once they do they can't withdraw unless they leave office. Curran was one of eight DuPage board members enrolled in the pension program.

County board members become vested after eight years. Curran started on the county board in 2008.

Curran said the issue of pensions has changed significantly in recent years. For example, he said, the public has become more concerned about the sustainability of the five state-funded pension systems.

He said it's "clear" 41st District residents wouldn't want him to enroll in the General Assembly Retirement System.

The 41st District includes all or parts of Burr Ridge, Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Willowbrook, Woodridge, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Lemont, Indian Head Park, LaGrange, Western Springs and Homer Glen.

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