Winnetka firefighters pension debt soars; average firefighter earned $150K last year
The pension fund for Winnetka firefighters is now underfunded by more than $12 million, nearly double the deficit of 10 years ago, according to a report released by the Illinois Department of Insurance.
The Winnetka Firefighters Pension Fund had only $23 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2014 when it should have had $35 million, the report said.
The deficit equates to approximately $3,100 in firefighter pension debt per Winnetka household.
Winnetka’s 25 active firefighters haven’t been contributing enough to fully fund their pensions, the report shows. Each firefighter saved an average of just $752 per month in 2014, yet they’ll each receive an annuity upon retirement worth millions.
Total Winnetka firefighter compensation in 2014 averaged $149,229, including $52,840 in Winnetka taxpayer-funded retirement savings.
Winnetka’s Firefighters Pension Fund Board includes active firefighters John Ripka and Andrew MacArthur, retired firefighter Michael Hughes, Village of Winnetka Finance Director Edward F. McKee, and Mark C. Fuller.
MacArthur currently earns $156,637 in salary and taxpayer-funded retirement savings and had contributed $76,234 to his pension as of the end of 2014, after 10 years and three months of service.
Ripka earns $189,568 and had contributed $115,651 over 14 years and eight months of service.
Hughes retired from the Winnetka fire department in 1997 after 31 years of service. He saved a total of $73,093 and is currently collecting $82,568 per year.
Over 18 years of retirement, Hughes has collected $1.16 million.
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428 Green Bay Rd
Winnetka, IL 60093
320 W Washington St
Springfield, IL 62767
510 Green Bay Rd
Winnetka, IL 60093-2552