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Zinke, Prim at odds over pension

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 4:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 5:51 p.m. CDT
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(Sarah Nader)
Sarah Nader- snader@shawmedia.com Andrew Zinke (left) and Bill Prim give their opening statements during the McHenry County Sheriff Candidates Debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Northwest Herald at McHenry County College Tuesday, February 25, 2014.
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Andrew Zinke candidate for McHenry County Sheriff,
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(Sarah Nader)
Sarah Nader- snader@shawmedia.com McHenry County Sheriff candidate Bill Prim greets people before the McHenry County Sheriff Candidates Debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Northwest Herald at McHenry County College Tuesday, February 25, 2014.

WOODSTOCK – Public pensions have taken center stage in the election for McHenry County Sheriff as election day looms.

Undersheriff Andy Zinke is blasting a news release his opponent released earlier this week, in which Bill Prim vows not to collect a sheriff's pension if elected.

Zinke calls the promise "disingenuous."

"My opponent Bill Prim is a double-dipper looking for another source of government payout to his own pockets," Zinke said in his own news release. "Prim's statement that he will not take a sheriff's pension is meaningless, because he is currently receiving [a pension] … from his Des Plaines Police Pension."

Zinke has spent his career at the McHenry County Sheriff's Office and is eligible for a pension there.

"Mr. Prim cannot claim to be a fiscal conservative and pad his own salary at the same time," Zinke said.

Prim collects about $76,000 a year in a pension from Des Plaines, he said, but says the fund is self-managed and he contributed nearly 10 percent of each paycheck during his career to the pension fund.

"Not one nickel of my pension comes from the people of McHenry County or from any state managed pension fund," Prim said in an e-mailed response to Zinke's news release.

Prim pointed out that retiring sheriff Keith Nygren, who supports Zinke, collects a pension from the Crystal Lake Police Department and will from the Sheriff's Office, too.

"I find it interesting that for 16 years his role model, Keith Nygren, has been what Andy calls a 'double dipper' with no complaint," he said.

The Primary election is Tuesday.

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