EDWARDSVIILLE — Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler is applauding the governor’s signature on a bill that changed pension requirements for “part-time” elected officials.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2701 on Friday. The law prevents newly elected county board members from signing up for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
Those currently in the system — the Illinois Constitution forbids altering their benefits — will be required to submit monthly time sheets documenting hours spent on official government business.
“I applaud the governor on this action, which brings transparency to part-time elected officials getting pensions and forced County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan to take action,” Prenzler said. “This was a bipartisan effort of state legislators. I would encourage all county board members to vote themselves out of the plan.”
Prenzler said state Rep. Jack D. Franks (D-Marengo) spotlighted the issue earlier this year, when he began questioning the hours worked by McHenry County Board members and if they qualified for participation in IMRF.
According to state law for IMRF, part-time employees and elected officials are required to work 600 hours, or 1,000 hours, depending on the county, to receive pension benefits.
The required hours for Madison County Board members is 600 hours — the equivalent of 12 hours per week for 50 weeks a year.
The new law, which took effect immediately, requires each county board member to submit monthly time sheets to the county “documenting the time spent on official government business as an elected member of the county board.” Members who don’t submit the information or fail to prove their submitted hours as “official government business” annually will not be allowed to participate in the plan.
Time sheets of elected county board members will now be public records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and the county is required to maintain the records for five years.
Prenzler said other county boards opted out of IMRF because they are unable to show members work the required hours. He said prior to the new law, 20 Illinois county boards withdrew from the state pension plan.
“I believe the chairman is calling for a resolution because he wants to save face,” Prenzler said. “As leader of the county board, he’s looked the other way and now he has a problem.”