State Representative Bob Martwick is a political ally of County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and also is chair of the House personnel and pension committee.
After minimal committee discussion, two bills, SB1300 and HB2903, cleared Martwick’s committee last week after earlier Senate approval.
Like the state and the city, Preckwinkle and the County Board face some tough hurdles to adequately fund public employee pensions and these bills are aimed at addressing some of them.
None of the problems have to do with the cost of retiree benefits. All have to do with finding revenue after years of underfunding.
But the bills also contain language that appears to be a power grab by Preckwinkle of the Cook County Pension Board. They add one member to the nine member board and give Preckwinkle the power to appoint three more members.
The draft changes would shift the board makeup from two appointed and seven elected members to five appointed and five elected by pension members.
This looks to some like a power grab of the County pension board, assisted by her pal Bob Martwick,
What public pension boards don’t need is greater political control and less oversight by elected members of the pension systems.