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McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks: Members will support resolution to cut pensions

H. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said he is confident his resolution to eliminate pensions for countywide elected officials will pick up steam despite the proposal failing to gain support at the committee level this week.
H. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said he is confident his resolution to eliminate pensions for countywide elected officials will pick up steam despite the proposal failing to gain support at the committee level this week.

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks is confident his resolution to eliminate pensions for countywide elected officials will pick up steam despite the proposal failing to gain support at the committee level this week.

“It doesn’t mean much,” Franks said. “I believe the majority of the County Board is with me on this.”

Introduced last week, the resolution went before the County Board’s Human Resources Committee on Wednesday, but members did not second a motion to discuss the proposal. 

Franks did not attend the meeting to present the proposal, County Board member Craig Wilcox said.

“There was no one to present the proposal and have that discussion,” Wilcox said. “I would have loved to have that discussion. I have lots of questions.”

Wilcox, who was not aware that the resolution will come before the County Board later this month, said he could not second a motion – or support a resolution – without getting enough background beforehand.

Franks will submit the resolution to the County Board at its Oct. 17 meeting. 

“It may get challenged, it might not,” Franks said. “It’s only the insiders that are getting a perk that other folks aren’t.”

If passed by the County Board, the resolution will remove Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund eligibility for the offices of county board chairman, state’s attorney, county clerk, circuit clerk, treasurer, auditor, recorder, coroner and sheriff.

Franks said the resolution is nothing against any elected official in particular. It’s all about saving money, he said.

A report detailing overall cost savings after cutting pensions is forthcoming, county officials said.

As McHenry County taxpayers shoulder one of the heaviest property tax burdens in the country, Franks said, the resolution is a way to cut costs and save money.

“This is a huge amount of money to taxpayers,” Franks said. “It’s millions of dollars over the course of [elected officials’] careers.”

In June 2016, all 24 members of the McHenry County Board voted to end participation in the IMRF for themselves and those elected after them.

The resolution not only eliminated eligibility for new members on Dec. 1, but also the accumulation of credit for pensions for existing members, including the chairman.

Pointing to last year’s pension cuts, Franks said there’s no reason the new resolution shouldn’t pass.

“We just did this last year,” Franks said. “This is the exact same thing.” 

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