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Evanston aldermen, acting as Evanston Township’s trustees, voted Tuesday to postpone action on a request from Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson that she be approved for a pension for her part-time elective office.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, made the motion to refer the issue back to the City Council’s Human Services Committee, saying it needed more discussion there.

Evanston aldermen, acting as Evanston Township’s trustees, voted Tuesday to postpone action on a request from Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson that she be approved for a pension for her part-time elective office.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, made the motion to refer the issue back to the City Council’s Human Services Committee, saying it needed more discussion there.

The assessor made a public request for the pension at the Human Services Committee meeting in March, where some aldermen also discussed whether, as part-time elected officials, they too might qualify for a pension under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

The Evanston RoundTable has since reported that a document had been submitted to the pension system, signed by City Clerk Rodney Greene, claiming aldermen had already approved such a resolution for the assessor on Jan. 11, 2010.

But the RoundTable reports there is no evidence in the minutes of that meeting that such a resolution was on the agenda or voted on.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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21 Comments

  1. Absolutely ridiculous!

    Please tell me that the residents of this city will not allow this. I've seen some crazy things from our city government, but this one would take the top spot in absolute idiocy.

    All of the aldermen who are looking into cashing in at the taxpayers’ expense should really take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, is this really a good idea?

    Unfortunately, they will do as they please. The fact that they are even looking into this farce is further evidence that these aldermen are only out for themselves, as most (if not all) current politicians are. I encourage EvanstonNow to publish the name of every alderman who votes in favor of this. It will interesting to see who doesn't understand the term civil servant.

    Typical Crook County politics. 

  2. Time to vote everyone off the City Council

    Whoa, the idea of a part-time township assessor who dictates her own hours as well as city councilmembers being eligible for a pension is shockingly ludicrous and borderline criminal.

    This issue should be DOA. But no, Jane Grover who stands to benefit from a pension wants more discussion. What can you expect from councilmembers who only two years ago voted themselves a 20 percent pay raise at the height of a severe and ongoing Recession.

    Did the Council approve the resolution to get a pension in a closed meeting? Last year, the Council raised property and gas taxes, increased water and sewer rates, closed the branch libraries and now they want a pension?

    It's time to vote these rascals out.

  3. “Part-time” pensions

    Are there any workplaces, besides Evanston, of course, that would even consider giving a part-time employee a pension? The issue should have been rejected out-of-hand, with no discussion even necessary, unless other part-time employees will also be seeking pensions, in which case they might have a vested interest in getting pensions approved. BTW, do alderpersons get pensions?

    1. Township Assessor and Pension

      Alderman do not currently receive pensions, but Dolores Holmes did ask when this issue was first presented to the council if aldermen too could be eligible to receive pensions as part time employees.  She requested additional information on her question.  If the door is opened for the township assessor, our aldermen will be next in line for a pension.  As you can see, they have a vested interest on this vote.  Putting it off is just a way to let the fire die down on the topic.

  4. Keep the Heat On

    I guess the aldermen postponed the vote in hopes that the furor would die down.

    Let's not let a part-time worker get by with this. 

    1. Turn up the heat

      Classic politics.  Postpone the vote until no one is paying attention.  This issue should have been quickly decided when it was raised.  Why can't one of our aldermen step up and say, "No, we already can't afford the pensions we're committed to paying and the problem is only getting worse"?  Maybe because they're looking forward to giving themselves pensions too?

      The fact that it has taken this long to deny the pension is a HUGE red herring. 

    2. Township Officials – Pension

      For your information, the Supervisor has been on pension since she took office.  She is now serving her third term.

      We also have part-time employees in her own office that are receiving pension benefits.

      This has been a kept secret, but thanks to new rules with FOIA's the information can be obtained.

      Again, why is the Assessor allowed to participate in IMRF when not approved?

  5. Pension not the issue—office’s existence is

    Of course there should be no pension, but the real issue is why the township offices even exist.

    I know from experience that the township assessor cannot produce answers let alone results.

    Other than to give political offices [and no telling what else] to more people, why would a city of this size need another layer of government. 

    Evanston once cut the Council size, seems like a good idea to do so again.

    Even Chicago has proposed cutting their Council.  I would not be surprised if the reduced number of their aldermen to residents would be lower than Evanston.   Either way, we are not being served well.

    1. Residents per alderman

      With 2.7 million people and 50 aldermen, Chicago aldermen on average represent 54,000 people each.

      With 75,000 people and nine aldermen, Evanston aldermen on average represent 8,300 people each.

      — Bill

  6. Pension

    You must be joking. Just what we need; another politician feeding at the public trough. Evanston doesn/'t have the money for the basics much less giving pensions to part time people. Vote them all out ASAP for even discussing this. It shoukld have taken about 2 nanoseconds to say NO.

  7. This is a joke

    I could see a loser like Quinn pushing this through but Evanston? 

  8. Another pension?

    If the board was held to a proper accounting standard, they would have to price out the cost of the proposed pension before granting it.  Then they would have to fund the benefit immediately in the current year.

    If the money can't be found to pay for this, then the deal would fall through.

    1. Township Assessor – Pension

      There are definitely things that have to be clarified in this situation.  For 11 years, I was told I did not qualify for pension because of income.  All of a sudden, the requirements pertain to number of hours put in and not income?

      Why is it that the Township Assessor felt she qualified for pension on January 10, 2010?  In checking the calendar, she had not even been in office long enough to acquire 600 hours?

      In a previous FOIA, it was disclosed that contributions are going to the IMRF?  Is this appropriate when she has indeed not be authorized?  Why would her date go back to January, 2010, when she has not been approved by the Township Trustees?

      According to the Township resolution dated in 1969, the Trustees have to approve and set a schedule for the hours worked by the Assessor?  Where is this?

      It was indeed embarrassing to watch the Township Assessor give her Town speech for the last fiscal year and fumble around looking for a page that was not present in her own packet.  Rodney Greene to the rescue with the missing page?

      When Alderman Rainey asked the Assessor to explain the Long Time exemption, the Assessor had to call for help to answer a very minor question that she should know the answer to.  I have yet to see her answer questions pertaining to tax exemption and appeals without calling for help. 

      I think all taxpayers should begin to wonder??

       

       

       

      1. Township Assessor / Pension

        If you've previously been turned down for a pension, in light of what is currently transpiring, you and ALL of your colleagues who were told "no" should show up at the City Council meeting and also demand access to the pension system.  When large numbers of ex-employees show up with their hand out demanding what is only fair if also given to the assessor and aldermen, our council will wake up to themselves.  It would also be an extremely generous thing to do for your fellow Evanstonians who are about to get shafted while the officials take care of themselves at our expense yet again.

        BTW – has anyone asked if Ms. Wilson, being the ex-head of the DPOE, is being given preferential treatment because of that role?  In addition to the obvious benefit of council members having the opportunity to leech onto the pension system, could the association to DPOE be a large part of why this request isn't being laughed out of council chambers?

    2. According to the FOIA’s

      According to the FOIA's filed, she is already contributing to the fund that she has not been approved for??????

  9. Think about it

    This is what gives hard working government workers a bad name. I don't know of many private sector jobs that offer a pension for part-time workers. She knew when she took the job that there was not a pension or many benefits. Evanston  can't even afford it's police and fire pensions,but it wants to consider a pension for part-time employees. Oh boy i think i need a drink

    1. Enquire about it

      I don't know whether the assessor's position qualifies for a pension, but if the law says that she is eligible , then she has every right to apply.  If you don't like that, then change the law.

      I also don't see how being 'part-time' is relevant, and why that would make her ineligible.  Part time employees can, and should, be allowed to contribute to pension plans.  If they contribute less money, then of course they should receive smaller benefits…but 'part time' status should not be an issue.  

      I think that the pension laws intentionally want to INCLUDE part-time employees.  There are many people who might be part-time at several different state or municipal entities ( for example, we had an alderman who also taught part time at Oakton Community College….two 'part-time' jobs…why shouldn't she be eligible for a pension or health benefits?). 

      Why would we want to encourage people to be tied down to 'full-time' jobs?  Don't we want part-time jobs to be attractive?  Don't we want flexibility in the work force?   

      Retirement and health benefits should ultimately not under the control of an employer, whether it is a public entity or a private company.  

  10. Outraged

    This is more evidence that Evanston's elected officials are working against the citizens, not for them. Evanston should follow the example of Bell, CA and remove all of its elected officials.  They do more harm than good.

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