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Peoria County Could Nix Board Member Pension

After Tazewell County Board Members voted to opt out of their pension plan, Peoria County Board members say they are in talks to do the same.
PEORIA - Tazewell County board members can no longer receive a pension for their service and Peoria County board members could be next in line to see that benefit disappear.

"A lot of constituents went out of their way to talk to us and they had two main points, number one, we didn't realize you had a pension, number two, why?" said Tazewell County Board Member John Redlingshafer.

Redlingshafer and fellow board member Andrew Rinehart both said they're happy with the 18-1 vote at Wednesday’s board meeting that stops county board members from receiving a pension from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).

"Lets the county board members actually focus on what they're here to do, public service, as opposed to sit there and focus on figuring out their hours, determining how many hours they had, whether they've been driving there or reading, it frees up each county board member to focus more on what they're having to do," Rinehart said.

Tazewell county resident Billie Maquet said she was aware the board members could previously draw a pension, now she said she hopes the savings trickle down.

"Doesn't mean more money in my pocket, but hopefully it means more money in the coffers so they'll fix the roads and do other things that need to be done in the city and around the county," Maquet said.

Peoria County is looking in the same direction. County board member Sharon K. Williams said 16 out of the 18 board members are currently paying into IMRF.

"Pretty much decided that, well we'll discuss it and see where it goes, but it's looking like in speaking with our county board chairman Thom O'Neill, it will pass and we will eliminate IMRF for our county board members," Williams said.

There's also another change that could be around the corner.

"I believe its two board members that are in the medical insurance right now, um, but we're taking a look at that also to eliminate that," she said.

Williams said she thinks it's only fair to eliminate benefits that are usually only reserved for full time county employees.

"It is a part time job and in the city we require our employees to work 30 plus hours, this is my opinion, 30 plus hours to be in the health insurance and county board members do not serve 30 hours a week," she said.

The pension vote could happen at the next Peoria County board meeting unless a special meeting is called before that.
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