Glenn Poshard’s pension is high — and he’s not alone. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Chicago Sun-Times today by Chuck Neubauer, Patrick Rehkamp and Sandy Bergo of the Better Government Association:
One of the big problems Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner will face is what to do about the state’s public pension crisis.
He doesn’t need to go any farther than a member of his own transition team, Glenn Poshard, to get a close-up look at some of the factors fueling the crisis.
Poshard, 69, gets one of the biggest pensions of any former Illinois elected official — over $200,000 a year. That’s more than the $177,412 salary paid to Gov. Pat Quinn.
If he lives to 80, Poshard’s retirement benefits will have ballooned to an estimated $280,000 a year.“I can tell you, I worked hard my whole life,” said the downstate Democrat, who started out as a public school teacher, held elected office as a state senator and congressman and was a top administrator at Southern Illinois University. “I never tried to game the system.”
Indeed, Poshard followed the rules. And the rules allowed him to boost his years of government service — and his pension — by counting unused sick time and buying pension credits at a fraction of their cost to the state for jobs he held in college and for nearly two years of his Illinois Senate term he didn’t serve after being elected to Congress, according to interviews and records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association.
The key element in how Poshard built his enviable retirement cushion was winning election to the state Senate. Of all Illinois state pensions, none is as generous as the one legislators created for themselves — the General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS.
That allowed Poshard to start his retirement with a pension of 85 percent of his state salary when he started collecting his pension in 2003 after retiring for the first time from SIU.
Read more: Sun-Times