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Crystal Lake finance director leaves for state pension system

CRYSTAL LAKE – Mark Nannini’s Monday is going to bring about a $30.9 billion difference from his typical workday.

For the past eight years, Nannini has served as Crystal Lake’s director of finance, overseeing annual budgets of less than $100 million. On Monday, he will take on one of the state’s most prominent financial responsibilities as chief financial officer of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund – the state’s second-largest pension system.

“It’s still the same principles,” Nannini said of taking on a pension system with $31 billion in assets. “Keeping track of money coming in, money going out. It’s just making sure everything is accounted for properly and having strong internal controls.”

The IMRF is one of the most efficient pension systems in the state, funded at more than 80 percent and covering roughly 400,000 annuitants and active participants. Investment returns from a portfolio that includes stocks, bonds, real estate, hedge funds and other sources cover 60 percent of its pension costs.

The system is in contrast to other pensions such as the Illinois State Teachers’ Retirement System that has more than $80 billion in unfunded liability. Nannini said the stability of the IMRF was a factor in making the career move.

“IMRF as an organization has always strived to be better,” he said. “They’re constantly striving to improve their customer service, their delivery of service and their ability to provide benefits.”

Mayor Aaron Shepley lauded the work of Nannini, who helped craft balanced budgets in difficult economic times and with less property tax revenue than other surrounding areas.

But he said it was a fantastic career opportunity and is confident staff – including Deputy City Manager George Koczwara, who will step into Nannini’s post – will have a seamless transition.

“We’re going to miss (Nannini), but we have all the confidence in our staff here,” Shepley said.

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