Illinois adds actuary post to oversee state pension funds

(updated)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation creating the position of a state actuary to oversee the five state-funded pension systems, according to a news release on the governor’s website.

The new law takes effect immediately.

The actuary will review assumptions, valuations and actuarial practices for each of the five systems: the $37 billion Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, Springfield; the $14 billion Illinois State Universities Retirement System, Champaign; and the three systems whose combined $11.9 billion in assets are overseen by the Chicago-based Illinois State Board of Investment — Illinois State Employees’ Retirement System, Illinois Judges’ Retirement System and Illinois General Assembly Retirement System.

“The new law is designed to ensure that all of the state’s pension systems follow Illinois law when determining future contributions,” the release states.

The actuary will help calculate the state’s annual contributions and recommend changes to the actuarial assumptions.

Meanwhile, Mr. Quinn continues to work with legislators on pension reform. The key disagreement at this moment with party leaders involves a gradual transfer of responsibility for employer contributions to local school districts, said Brooke Anderson, spokeswoman for Mr. Quinn. The governor will not call the entire General Assembly back into session until the employer responsibility issue is resolved, she added.

The current proposal being discussed would give current employees and retirees two options —keep retiree health care and accept a lower cost-of-living adjustment, or keep the COLA and lose post-retirement health-care benefits. Those who elected to keep the COLA would lock in their current salary for pension calculation purposes.

The state-funded retirement systems have a combined unfunded liability of $83 billion.