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Thursday, June 2, 2011 11:03 am

Letters to the Editor 06/02/11

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Writer complains legislators and state officials, including Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, can make more retired than when they were working.

FLEECING OF ILLINOIS
Our present-day leaders are not real leaders, they are hypocrites. Our state lawmakers and the governor want to cut benefits of current state employees, but they don’t mind lining their own pockets by giving themselves 85 percent of their last salary as retirement. If lawmakers work more than 20 years under the General Assembly retirement system, over and above 85 percent, for each year after 20 years they get 3 percent more per year in their retirement. So, a lawmaker with just 30 years of service will get 115 percent of their last salary as retirement. That is nothing but fleecing of the state of Illinois.

An ordinary state employee who works for the state for 30 years will get only 50 percent of the average of the last four years (eight years for new employees) of his or her salary as retirement.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, former Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka earned only $115,235 as her final salary when she retired from the state in January 2007, but Topinka’s yearly pension before she became comptroller, was $141,482. That is more than $30,000 more than her last salary. Also, former state Sen. Carol Ronen’s annual pension as a retired lawmaker was only $64,005, but right after retirement she worked for the governor for only two months. Only two months more of her government service boosted her yearly retirement ot $102,000. That is more than a $38,000 increase per year for working just two months extra. Our hypocrite lawmakers need to know that lots of their constituents don’t even make $38,000 per year while working hard. No ordinary state employee will ever make more in retirement than what they made in their last salary. For lawmakers, it is just like a bunch of robbers who got elected and made it legal to rob the state treasury!

Harish G. Bhatt
Springfield



JOHN H. WILSON JR.

In your issue of March 10, James Krohe Jr. writes, “No one’s heard of Colonel John H. Wilson Jr., after whom the Postal Service named the main PO in Springfield, but that’s still better than calling it the Out Toward I-55 Building” [see “A school by any other name”].

I suppose that if no one has ever heard of the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve or Holy Trinity Lutheran Church one could say they have never heard of John H. Wilson Jr. He was heavily involved in all of them, as well as being a 50-year-plus employee of the Postal Service. Local Lutherans were honored last August that one of their own was so honored. U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin was present and had many good things to say about him.

I trust that Mr. Krohe Jr. will be more careful about what he believes the average Springfielder knows about the community.

Ralph Woehrmann
Taylorville



REINSTATE EARLY RELEASE
I think that they need to bring the early release program back [see “Prison advocates: Reinstate early release,” Jan. 6]. We understand that if you do the crime you have to do the time. But locking people behind bars does not solve the problem. There are some inmates who have either learned their lesson or have been doing everything according to the rules. They are sitting in there with little or no educational programs or anything productive to do. It not only hinders them but makes them worse coming out. They went in with a problem and came out with a disaster.

The prisons treat the inmates like they are not humans. They have them packed on top of each other like they are animals. How can a human being have such power to decide how another human gets treated? They should come up with another plan. I think if they have not commited murder then they should get some kind of good time. Motivate them. Give them hope to get out and change.

Courtney Despenza
Chicago


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