Quincy School Board votes to end pre-retirement compensation hikes
7 months, 4 weeks ago by Jamie Busen
For years, QSD 172 employees have been given large raises in the final three years of their employment to encourage retirements
Citing Illinois' financial difficulty, the Quincy School Board Wednesday night voted to end pre-retirement compensation increases for Quincy Public School staff members.
In years past it has been practice to give automatic raises to employees that met certain requirements in the years immediately before retirement. Those raises are usually in the 6 percent range in each of the final three years of the contracts.
Two resolutions were passed during the meeting - one eliminated automatic, non-performanced based pre-retirement compensation increases for employees not in a union, effective July 1, 2013. The other gave Board President Bill Daniels the authority to contact union representatives to start talks about eliminating the same raises for those employees.
Board member Melvin "Bud" Niekamp abstained from both votes. Niekamp abstained from every vote taken during the meeting. Daniels and Tom Dickerson also abstained from the vote regarding the non-union member pre-retirement raises.
Daniels said while he believed the end result would be "good overall," he had some concerns. He said he was a bit concerned that employees not in a union might feel they'd be better off joining one. He also said he didn't feel the treatment to employees regarding this issue was fair across the board.
Board member Scott Stone said he had "lots of people" contact him about the issue on both sides, but he believed it was a fair move.
The resolutions state the Board takes notice of the financial situation of the state "and the contributing cause thereto of public employee pension programs, specifically including but not limited to the Teacher Retirement System." They also say the Board believes the "practice of pre-retirement compensation increases to staff members is a contributing factor to the current economic crisis of TRS" and the elimination of the increases in the District would "strengthen the financial condition of the schools, strengthen the TRS and contribute to financial integrity of any other retirement system affected by such increases."
Stone said while he understands people feel "this is something they've earned ... things are changing because of financial difficulties everywhere. We have to look at the financial stability of this District and do what's best for this District."
Board member Jeff Mays said he believes Districts across the state will be grappling with the same issue.
"I view it as a way to show good faith ... in hopes we are not going to be required to pick up the normal costs (of pensions) from the state," he said.
The elimination of the program doesn't have an impact on existing individual retirement contracts.
The Board did approve awarding a retirement incentive contract to Assistant Superintendent Trish Sullivan-Viniard. Her retirement will be effective June 2015. She will receive a 6 percent raise this year and 6 percent raises in each of the following two years.
In other action, the Board approved the 2011-2012 administrator/teacher compensation report, approved the agreement with Food Service Workers Local 6426 and approved a resolution abating $393,253 from the Working Cash Fund to the Educational Fund.
The School Board will meet in special session at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 to vote on the new budget.