Pension controversy stirs debate in La Grange
Updated: January 21, 2013 1:56AM
LA GRANGE — Trustee Jim Palermo has filed a complaint against the actuary used by the village’s police and firefighter pension boards.
The complaint was critical of actuary Tim Sharpe’s mortality assumptions and said he made statements to the board, which were “frequently erroneous and incomplete regarding standard actuarial practices” and would mislead the board, according to Village Manager Bob Pilipiszyn’s summary.
The Village Board discussed the matter during a pre-budget workshop Nov. 12 looking at expenditures, including pension contributions, and the property tax levy to fund services and obligations in 2013-14.
Pilipiszyn and several trustees said the complaint creates difficulties for the pension boards in calculating their expenses for the coming year, because Sharpe was scheduled to update projections for the boards.
Once the complaint was filed in June with the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline, Sharpe said he wouldn’t consult with the boards until the matter is resolved.
“Unfortunately, the pension boards didn’t have that conversation with their actuary because you filed a complaint discrediting the work,” President Liz Asperger told Palermo.
Asperger said she respected Palermo’s opinion as he has advocated for several years for a change in mortality assumptions.
“But board consensus did not support your opinion,” she said.
Trustee Bill Holder said it’s the board’s job to accept recommendations from the pension boards and increase or decrease the tax levy accordingly.
But Trustee Mike Horvath agreed with Palermo and said new assumptions should be considered in light of a new report to state officials. Ultimately the board, representing La Grange taxpayers, is responsible for the tax levy and meeting pension obligations.
Trustee Mark Langan objected to Palermo’s course of action.
“You don’t like the answers and now you want to change the rules,” Langan said.
Palermo objected to the discussion of his complaint, citing the governing body’s regulations concerning confidentiality. He said he could not discuss whether it was appropriate to act alone in filing the complaint and what he hoped to accomplish.
Sharpe couldn’t be reached for comment.