Pension double-dippers

For most, retirement means a drop in income. Not for these double dippers.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Many retired government employees keep working -- often in another government job covered by a separate pension plan. So they get a paycheck on top of their pension, all paid by taxpayers. Here are a few of them:

Craig Bazzani, 62

Salary: $246,100 as senior vice president of the University of Illinois Foundation

Pension: $243,055 for working nearly 26 years, mostly for the University of Illinois

Pension: $29,289 for five years in Gov. Ogilvie's budget office

Pension: $10,829 for two years as a teacher

Annual income: $529,273

Bazzani was 55 when he started getting government pensions that so far have paid him more than $1.6 million. He retired in 2002 as the university's vice president of administration, then immediately went to work for the nonprofit foundation that raises money for the U. of I. It's a private entity, but employees still are in the State Universities Retirement System, which pays most of Bazzani's pensions.

"This is in no way going back into the state trough, this notion of double-dipping," Bazzani said.

Glenn 'Max' McGee, 58

Salary: $225,857 as president of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, an elite public boarding school

Pension: $184,119 as superintendent of Wilmette School District 39

Annual income: $409,976

McGee was 56 when he took early retirement from the Wilmette schools in 2007 and began drawing a pension from the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System for his 34 years as an educator. The next day, he started at the academy, which is covered by another government pension plan, the one for university employees. His pension includes his years as state schools superintendent.

Why didn't he not retire and just take the IMSA job? "Moving to IMSA involved a 20 percent salary reduction, which -- at the time of saving for a child going to college, saving for a daughter getting married and dealing with other personal, extended family matters -- would have been a challenge,'' he said.

Patrick T. Murphy, 70

Salary: $173,803 as a Cook County judge

Pension: $118,841 as county public guardian

Annual income: $292,644

The longtime advocate for abused children retired from the county when he was elected a judge in 2004.

Joseph M. Fratto, 54

Salary: $181,867 as chief of staff for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger

Pension: $86,648 for 26 years with the Chicago Park District

Pension: $19,228 for six years with the City of Chicago

Annual income: $287,743

At 51, Fratto retired as executive director of the Park District pension fund, started taking his pensions and went to work for Stroger.

Jim Edgar, 63

Salary: $160,000 as a guest lecturer at the University of Illinois

Pension: $127,111 as governor

Annual income: $287,111

Edgar was 52 when he finished his two terms as governor, but under state law couldn't get his pension until his 55th birthday. Edgar has gotten more than $940,000 in pension checks, while also lecturing at the university.

"It's always been one of the things that helps get people into government service -- the benefits," Edgar said.

Thomas G. Byrne, 60

Salary: $157,092 as Chicago's Streets and Sanitation commissioner

Pension: $115,492 for 24 years with the Chicago Police

Annual income: $272,584

Byrne was 56 when he began getting his police pension. He retired as a deputy police superintendent on a Friday, then started on Monday as Mayor Daley's Transportation commissioner. His pension so far has paid over $400,000.

Dana V. Starks, 59

Salary: $132,792 as Chicago's human relations commissioner

Pension: $131,105 for 30 years with the Chicago Police

Annual income: $263,897

Starks was 57 when he started taking his pension. After serving as interim police superintendent, Starks retired on Jan. 31, 2008. The next day, he started as Daley's human relations commissioner.

Steven M. Bylina, 60

Salary: $168,512 as Cook County Forest Preserve District superintendent

Pension: $85,881 for 30 years with the City of Chicago

Annual income: $254,393

Bylina was 53 when he began collecting his city pension. An ally of Ald. Edward M. Burke, Bylina was running the city's forestry bureau when he retired in June 2003. A month later, Cook County Board President John Stroger hired him.

William R. Haine, 65

Salary: $78,163 as a state senator from Downstate Alton

Pension: $126,364 for 26 years with Madison County

Annual income: $204,527

Haine was 58 when he started collecting his state pension. Haine, a Democrat who served 14 years as Madison County state's attorney, retired when he was elected to the Senate in 2002.

Leroy Martin, 80

Salary: $88,949 as a Cook County medical examiner investigator

Pension: $113,094 for 36 years with the Chicago Police

Annual income: $202,043

Martin was 63 when he retired as Chicago's police superintendent in 1992 and has been with the medical examiner for several years.

William Beavers, 74

Salary: $85,000 as a Cook County commissioner

Pension: $85,779 for 20 years as a Chicago alderman

Pension: $14,684 for his years with the Chicago Police

Annual income: $185,463

Beavers was 65 when he started taking his police pension in 2000, on top of his paycheck as Chicago alderman. Beavers, a Democrat, started collecting his aldermanic pension in 2006 when he was elected to the Cook County Board.

Jesse White, 75

Salary: $156,541 as Illinois secretary of state

Pension: $10,171 for 18 years as a Chicago school teacher

Pension: $7,687 for six years as Cook County recorder of deeds

Annual income: $174,399

White, a Democrat, was the elected recorder of deeds when he started collecting his teacher's pension in 1996. He began getting his county pension in 1999, when he left the recorder's office to become secretary of state.

Monique Davis, 73

Salary: $78,163 as a state representative from Chicago

Pension: $72,524 from 34 years as a Chicago teacher and school administrator

Annual income: $150,687

Davis was 67 when she retired from Chicago Public Schools in 2003. The Democrat, with 22 years in the Illinois Legislature, has gotten more than $350,000 in pension checks.

"I think our pension problem is one of the greatest problems the state is experiencing, but I don't think I, in any way, contributed to that,'' Davis said. "I believe part of our pension problem occurs because some people get to retire at an earlier age -- police and firemen. They don't have to work until they're 60-something years old.''

Daniel J. Burke, 57

Salary: $85,903 as a state representative from Chicago

Pension: $63,828 for his 26½ years with the City of Chicago

Annual income: $149,731

Burke, a Democrat, was 52 when he began collecting his city pension, taking advantage of an early retirement program that let him buy five years of service. Burke, the brother of Ald. Edward M. Burke, had been Chicago's deputy city clerk.

"I'm very fortunate to have had an opportunity to collect a pension from the city, and I look forward to collecting a pension from the state,'' Burke said. "To identify me as some slacker or fat cat is not appropriate."

Deanna Demuzio, 66

Salary: $78,163 as a state senator from Downstate Carlinville

Pension: $47,937 in death benefits from the state pension for her late husband, state Sen. Vince Demuzio, a former chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party

Annual income: $126,100

When her husband died in April 2004, Demuzio was appointed to fill his Senate seat, getting his salary and part of his pension.

Louis S. Viverito, 78

Salary: $78,163 as a state senator from Burbank

Salary: $69,697 as Stickney Township supervisor

Pension: $11,944 from the Cook County employees pension fund

Pension: $10,896 from six years with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago

Annual income: $170,700

Viverito was 55 when he started getting a government pension. He retired in 1986 from the water reclamation district, where he was a commissioner, and from the county, where he was on the zoning board of appeals.

Viverito, a Democrat, was elected to the state Senate in 1955. His son, Dean Viverito, 54, is also a retired government employee and began collecting his own $17,687 pension last year from the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

Cherryl T. Thomas, 62

Salary: Unavailable. President of Ardmore Associates, a management company that gets city contracts.

Pension: $104,463 from 31 years with the city, including serving as buildings commissioner.

Thomas was 52 when she began collecting her city pension in 1998 when President Clinton appointed her chairman of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. She later created Ardmore Associates, a minority-owned company that has gotten $7 million in city business.

Brian L. Crowe, 70

Salary: Unavailable. An attorney with Shefsky & Froelich, a law firm that does work for City Hall.

Pension: $80,862 for 12 years as a Cook County judge

Pension: $9,383 for three years as Daley's corporation counsel

Pension: $5,655 for work as a Cook County employee

Combined pensions: $95,900

Crowe was 60 when he left the Daley administration and began collecting his government pensions. He has gotten more than $700,000 in pension benefits. He helped select his replacement, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges, who later hired Crowe's firm to handle cases for the city, which has paid the firm more than $2 million in fees.

"The lawyers gain respect for you when you work over there," Crowe said. "They want to use your talents.''