On August 2, 2017 the First District Appellate Court issued its Opinion in Board of Trustees of the City of Harvey Firefighters’ Pension Fund v. City of Harvey. The case represents the first time that an Illinois court has found a pension fund to be on the verge of default so that the pension board, and a court, could take action to enforce the Pension Code’s funding statutes. Additionally, the case represents the first time that an Illinois court has found that the Pension Code’s funding statutes provide for an annual statutory right of enforcement. The following article provides a case summary, a link to the Opinion, and a link to the oral argument. PGM attorney Jeff Goodloe represented the Pension Board in the circuit court and appellate court. The City has filed a petition for leave to appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court.
Harvey Firefighters’ Pension Board v. City of Harvey
Chicago Tribune – Commentary: Should Rauner Cut Pensions To Lower Debt?
Click HERE to view HB-298 which would allow Illinois municipalities to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.
On February 4, 2015 the First District Appellate Court issued its Opinion in Baldermann, et al. v. The Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund of the Village of Chicago Ridge. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order that granted the Pension Board’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs, Baldermann and Kapelinski, were the Chief and Deputy Chief of the Chicago Ridge Police Department. Baldermann applied for a disability pension by submitting his disability application to the Pension Board. The Pension Board granted Baldermann’s application for a disability pension on the same day Baldermann submitted his application. Kapelinksi applied for a retirement pension and subsequently began receiving his retirement pension even though the Pension Board never voted to approve the application or Kapelinski’s pension amount. The case presented a host of irregularities regarding the payment of both pensions. Ultimately the Pension Board’s new trustees (Kapelinski and Baldermann had been on the Pension Board) initiated an investigation to determine whether both pensions were inflated due to a 20 percent salary increase that Baldermann and Kapelinski received on their last days of service. The municipality had a “buy out” agreement with Baldermann and Kapelinski that provided for the salary increase on the last day in service. The Pension Board attempted to hold a hearing to determine the appropriate salary attached to rank for pension purposes and the plaintiffs’ filed for a temporary restraining order. After discovery, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. The trial court concluded that the Pension Board did not lack jurisdiction to hold a hearing to determine salary attached to rank because the Pension Board had never rendered a final administrative decision. The appellate court agreed. Notably, the appellate court held that the Howe case applied and required that the Pension Board take an affirmative vote to approve a written decision awarding a pension and setting forth the pension amount. Absent the approved written decision, the Pension Board did not trigger the 35 day administrative review law time period and still had jurisdiction to hold a hearing pursuant to section 3-144.2 of the Pension Code.
Chicago Tribune – Appeals Court: Board Erred On Baldermann’s Pension
PGM attorney Jeff Goodloe handled this matter for the Pension Board in the appellate court.
On February 14, 2014 the First District Appellate Court issued its Opinion in Carrillo v. Park Ridge Firefighters’ Pension Board. The Pension Board denied the firefighter’s application for a line of duty disability pension and awarded the firefighter a not in duty disability pension. The trial court and the appellate court affirmed the Pension Board’s decision. The appellate court noted that the opinions of 2 doctors who concluded that an act of duty did not cause or contribute to the firefighter’s disability constituted competent evidence supporting the Pension Board’s decision.
IMRF Pension Director Proud of Healthy Fund
IMRF Pension Director, Louis Kosiba gave a presentation to the Rotary Club of Quincy, Illinois on April 9, 2013. Director Kosiba noted the IMRF was between 85.9% and 88% funded. According to the article, “Under IMRF rules, [municipal entities] must contribute the required…payments. If people don’t pay what they are required to pay, we go after them.”
Unlike other Illinois pension systems, Article 7 permits the IMRF to seize tax money if the participating municipality does not make its required pension contribution to the IMRF.
On March 22, 2013 the First District Appellate Court issued its Rule 23 Order in Mahoney v. The Evergreen Park Police Pension Board. The First District reversed the trial court’s order affirming the Pension Board’s decision denying the plaintiff a line-of-duty disability pension. Mr. Puchalski represented Officer Mahoney in this matter and argued the case before the First District Appellate Court.
On March 19, 2013 the First District Appellate Court heard Oral Arguments in Mahoney v. Evergreen Park Police Pension Board. The issue in this case is whether the Pension Board erred in denying the plaintiff’s application for a line-of-duty disability pension. Mr. Puchalski represented Officer Mahoney in this matter. PGM will post the Court’s decision once it is released.
The AFFI Pension Conference will be held on October 15-16 at the Chicago Marriott in Naperville. Click HERE for additional information.
PGM Attorneys Laura Goodloe, Jerry Marzullo, and Jeff Goodloe will speaking at the conference on various pension related topics. PGM’s topics will include QILDROs, municipal intervention, pension underfunding, hearsay, and legal updates.
The IPPFA Annual Training Conference in Lake Geneva concluded on October 5, 2012. Over 1000 participants attended the conference.
PGM attorneys Laura Goodloe and Jeff Goodloe presented on pension over-payments. PGM attorney Jerry Marzullo presented on fiduciary liability issues. PGM attorney Laura Goodloe also presented on legal updates.
PGM wishes to thank the IPPFA and its staff for the opportunity to present on these topics and for their hard work in organizing this successful conference.
The IPPFA has posted the Agenda for the Annual Training Conference being held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin from October 2, 2012 through October 5, 2012.
PGM Attorneys Laura Goodloe and Jeff Goodloe will be speaking on Pension Over and Underpayments on Thursday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m. PGM Attorney Jerry Marzullo will be speaking on Fiduciary Liability Trends and Solutions on Thursday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m.