U Of I President Warns Employees About Pension Deal
By Brian Mackey
The president of the University of Illinois has warned employees about the coming legislative session on pensions.
U of I President Robert Easter said the deal could be "onerous for public employees." A pension overhaul is not yet a done deal. But leaders of the Illinois House and Senate continue to meet, and are said to be close to an agreement.
In a memo to all U of I employees, President Easter cited "reliable sources" in saying the plan would reduce cost-of-living increases to one-half the consumer price index, instead of the current three percent compounded annually, no matter what.
U. of I. spokesman Tom Hardy put it even more bluntly: "This plans seems to put more of the burden on the public employees in terms of solving the pension deficit."
Hardy said Easter sent the memo because he didn't want staff to feel like the university didn't keep them informed as to what might happen to their retirement plans.
Easter's message conveys distaste for the way the pension overhaul is headed. That's in contrast to his and other university presidents' support of other ideas for changing employee pensions. They have even shown willingness to relieve the state of having to pay for it.