New legislation aims to curb sick pay cash outs to spike public pensions

January 16, 2019 GMT

New legislation in Springfield would make the practice of cashing in sick days to boost pension pay a very public matter.

Under terms of a new bill, public workers in Illinois would no longer be able to surprise municipalities they work for with a payout of sick days just before they retire, spiking the retirement benefits that taxpayers would be on the hook for.

Before Calumet City Superintendent Troy Paraday retired, he attempted to cash in more than $1.7 million in sick and vacation days he’d banked for years, potentially boosting his retirement pay by tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Paraday is a 1980 graduate of Herscher High School and a former agriculture teacher at his prep alma mater.

Officials there fired Paraday for allegedly falsifying his own pay and attendance records. And the incident prompted state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, to file a bill that he said would force soon-to-retire workers to reveal how many days off they’re about to cash in.

“Working within the Local Government Wage and Transparency Act, I’m amending it to make sick pay a disclosable payment,” he said.

The bill wouldn’t stop soon-to-be pensioners from spiking post-employment pay, but McSweeney said it would allow local residents to speak up about it.

“People look at this type of situation at the local level and, if they have information, would put pressure on local elected officials,” he said.

It only would apply to employees who joined the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund before 2011 and aren’t part of a collective bargaining agreement.

The bill has yet to be assigned a committee hearing in Springfield.