State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton) recently introduced legislation to end abuses of taxpayer monies exposed by a Senate committee, which showed how “perks” enjoyed by higher education administrators become pension sweeteners.
The Senator’s Senate Bill 2162 is based on a July 20 Illinois Higher Education subcommittee on administrative salaries, in which members met to talk about excessive compensatory abuses and practices that have been occurring within the field of public sector post-secondary education.
“This practice of allowing administrators to count ‘perks’ as part of their final pensionable salary must end,” Connelly said. “It is way past time to bring these compensation packages more in-line with those in the private sector. The private sector ended defined benefit pension plans 15-20 years ago.”
The committee heard testimony from public-sector universities and community colleges that it was “standard” to include – on top of a $200,000+ base salary – a $20,000+ housing allowance and an additional $20,000+ vehicle allowance, plus exorbitant other fringe benefits such as golf course memberships as part of an overall compensation package. It was also learned that the money associated with the car and housing allowances are considered earnings for calculating one’s pension.
Senate Bill 2162, if enacted, would eliminate housing or vehicle allowances from being calculated into the “earnings” of a member of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, State Universities, and the Downstate Teacher Pension funds for pensionable purposes. The legislation would restrict the pension benefits to the member’s salary only.
Senator Connelly’s bill was introduced on July 28 and awaits assignment to a Senate Committee.