View as PDF
CHICAGO – Chicagoans aren’t getting their money’s worth for their police and fire departments, according to Illinois’s largest taxpayer organization, Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“Our study of Chicago police and firefighter pensions shows that we are paying through the nose for a system that has failed us at every level,” said Jim Tobin, president of TUA.
“Chicago has some of the highest crime rates and most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, despite higher than average pay and benefits for its police officers. Being the second largest law enforcement agency in the United States, with some of the worst outcomes, it is a failure of epic proportions.”
“What are we getting for billions in unfunded pension liabilities? We are getting absolutely nothing but a huge property tax bill that pays for services rendered yesterday and leaves nothing for the services we need today.”
“We are paying cops and firefighters for more years of retirement than years of actual employment. This makes solvency of the pension system a mathematical impossibility.”
“These lavish pensions range as high as $150,000 annually, with an average police and firefighter retirement age of 57. The top 1,000 pensioners for the Chicago Police Department are collecting nearly $88 million from taxpayers annually and the top 1,000 Chicago Fire Department pensioners are collecting nearly $90 million from taxpayers annually. Reviewing this sampling of data underscores the unsustainability of these pension systems, and this economic crisis only gets worse as you factor in the entirety of our study of roughly 12,000 Chicago Police and Fire Department pensions.”
“There are thousands of retired Chicago cops getting more in pension payments than currently employed cops. It’s no mystery why the system is bust when you are paying people like retired CPD employee, Philip Cline, $158,932 per year to do absolutely nothing. This one pensioner makes more than three new hires.”
“Retired firefighter, James T. Joyce paid into his pension fund barely more than one year’s worth of pension benefits. His current annual pension payment of $151,814 could pay nearly three new hires for the fire department.”
· Click here to see the complete list of 9,192 CPD pensions
· Click here to see the complete list of 2, 822 CFD pensions
“The governments of Chicago and Illinois have failed us. Rank and file members would rally behind pension reform if their union bosses were honest with them about the bleak future of their pensions. It is in everyone’s best interest to solve the pension problem before the system completely collapses. It is no longer a matter of ‘if’ it will collapse, but when.”
“The solution is straightforward: Chicago must immediately place all new police and fire department hires into 401(k) style retirement savings accounts, increase member contributions to the fund, increase retirement age for full benefits, and increase member contributions to 50% of health care premiums. Anything short of these reforms will do nothing to permanently solve the problem plaguing the financial health of the city of Chicago and its taxpayers.”

  1. Total Bull…. The first five retired officers that checked, After lkooking at the 2014 and 2015 1099-R Statements issued were not correct. You fail to take into account that the average retured officer also pays thousands out of thier check for Hospitalization, Dental and Vision. The monies that were paid in by each retired officer 20, 30 or more years ago could have purchased a home or luxury vehicle. The City of Chicago should have been matching the funds, not borrowing the money officers were paying into the fund. The “Real” Mayor Daley promised free hospitalization for life, his son refused saying his father never put that in writing. Each and every officer that put his life on line every working day, joined the department with a written contract which offered the present pension they enjoy, paid into the fund in order to collect and now people like you want the officers to give up what they earned. Anyone could have applied to become an officer as long as they met the standards, including you, that is if you could have passed a drug test. It is simple, Go To Hell!

    • Time to introduce government employees to private sector benefits like self funding their own retirement

      • That’s fine only after an obligation is met. And after these men and women served over 20yrs with the pensions agreed and in the laws and that contributed to are paid to them

  2. So, according to your false assertion, cops and fireman are only entitled to receive in retirement the amount of money they contributed on a monthly basis?? Nowhere do you cite the amount of money generated from investment returns generated through the 30 something years each person worked. Doesn’t fit into your agenda does it?

  3. Not a single word about the required regular contributions made by these police and fire that come out of each and every paycheck. Not a single word about the inconsistent contributions by the city. Not a single word about the fact that the current Mayor is trying to weasle out of the State law requiring the city to actually fund the pensions to a sustainable level (Never was a required funding mechanism until now).
    The police and Fire are entities that act at the behest of the city administration. Any and all job actions or lack of same are a direct result of the direction that any city administration wishes to go as far as policing the city or emergency response . If this organization feels as it is not getting anything for its tax money then it should address its concerns to the Current administration and find out why its current policing and emergency response is not giving it the return for its dollar.
    And the most important question not asked is, who is behind this group? The mayor? Monied interests that are allies of the mayor?
    Way past time to pull back the curtain!

  4. Wonder how this outfit is connected to the city and what they’re getting in taxpayer funding. Like all the other “supposed” revelations by these “studies” they fail to mention that ALL these 6 figure pension salaries are ALL from the upper echelons of the department, NOT the everyday beat/patrol officer.
    Pensions from recent retirees most surely would be higher than those who had retired in previous years. Do they show any dates of retirement? No, just lump all of the retirees in the same group. We did get raises, as meager as the city would allow, so it makes sense later retirees pensions would be higher, as these retirees did have MORE taken out of their check EVERY PAYDAY to go into the pension. Talk about FAIL with taxpayer monies? Lets have this supposed unbiased taxpayer reform organization look into just the current and last regime that ran this city. Talk FAIL, they failed in just about every aspect of city government. Other than what they needed to do/spend to keep themselves in office. Wasting tax payers monies should be put solely where it belongs. Those 50 alderman and the mayor. Spend and NO accountability. Ever see the salaries and “extras” those 50 alderman give themselves? Ever hear any of them talk “Pension Reform” for their pension? I don’t know why, because of all the pensions in the city THEIRS IS THE WORST, rumored to run out of money long before police, fire, teachers or any of the other unions. They’ve brought wasting taxpayers money to a new place in the annals of tax and spend, waste and finding blame in everyone else but themselves. BILLIONS taken in on the sale of the Skyway and Parking meter contracts. Did they use ANY of those funds to shore up any of the pensions? We don’t even know where that taxpayer money went!

  5. Rahm…Nice article. Too bad you lie