Two lobbyists for the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) qualify for the state teacher pension, reports the Chicago Tribune. The catch? Not counting a single day of substitute teaching, neither one has ever taught.
Steven Preckwinkle and David Piccioli used a legal technicality to weasel their way into a pension plan for which common sense dictates they should not qualify. According to the Tribune's calculations, these lobbyists masquerading as teachers could receive more than double the average teacher pension since the payouts are based on salary history:
Over the course of their lifetimes, both men stand to receive more than a million dollars each from a state pension fund that has less than half of the assets it needs to cover promises made to tens of thousands of public school teachers….
Preckwinkle, 59, stands to receive about $2.8 million by the time he turns 78, about $3.8 million if he retires next year and lives until he's 84. Piccioli, 61, stands to collect about $1.1 million by age 78, about $1.7 million if he lives until 84, according to an analysis by the Tribune and WGN-TV.
Preckwinkle and the IFT may have helped bring about the legislative loophole which will keep these lobbyists comfy for the next few decades.
Preckwinkle applied for his first substitute teaching certificate four weeks before the legislation passed, then subbed at a Springfield school six weeks before the window to become eligible closed.
Preckwinkle even signed a witness slip in support of the legislation during a House committee meeting, although the teachers union says he lobbied for a different provision in the same bill, not the perk for union officials such as himself….
Although the bill received bipartisan support, the benefit to union officials was sponsored by Springfield Democrats showered by IFT campaign contributions during the 2006 elections.
You could hardly blame union members for taking advantage of a broken pension system, so long as they didn't help break it in the first place.
Link via commenter John.