Pension Consolidation: Where Are We?

by John E. Motylinski

Last year, the Illinois General Assembly decided to consolidate Article 3 and 4 pension funds’ investments. The legislature enacted Public Act 101-0610, which created two statewide investment pools to manage downstate police and fire pension funds. The Act also laid out an ambitious goal: to transition all affected pension monies to the consolidated funds by July 1, 2022.

In early 2020, temporary members were named to the Transition Board of Trustees of the Illinois Firefighters’ Pension Investment Fund (IFPIF) and the Illinois Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund (IPOPIF). The transition boards are charged with getting the Funds up and running and conducting an election for the permanent boards.

The IFPIF Transition Board recently concluded the election process for permanent board members. Importantly, there was no election for the active participant spots as Kevin Bramwell (Bolingbrook), Matthew Kink (Springfield), and George Schick (Orland FPD) ran unopposed for those offices, with Schick’s being a two-year term. All three participants are also members of the Transition Board.

However, elections were held for the Beneficiary Trustee and Executive Trustee positions. Gregory Knoll (Homewood) defeated Russell Hunt (Bolingbrook) for the Beneficiary Trustee 2-year Term position. Patrick Nichting (Peoria Treasurer) and Herb Roach (O’Fallon Mayor) were elected Executive Trustee for four years, while Jeff Rowitz (Northbrook CFO) won the race for a two-year Executive Trustee.

Mayors, village presidents, and fire protection district presidents each received one vote in the election. All ballots must have been received by December 1, 2020 to be valid. Fire protection districts had been pushing for the election of Lisle-Woodridge FPD Trustee John Perry and Wauconda FPD Chief David Geary so that not every executive board member would hail from a municipality. Perry fell just three votes shy for the four-year term, while Geary was six votes short on the two-year position.

The IPOPIF also elected its permanent board of trustees this month. No election was needed for the municipal or beneficiary representatives based on the number of interested candidates, so the current trustees were appointed by acclamation. On the participant side, though, six candidates vied for three spots. Lee Catavu (Aurora), Shawn P. Curry (Peoria), and Paul Swanlund (Bloomington) were victorious. The IPOPIF reported about 37 percent of eligible ballots were cast.

After the elections, the newly seated permanent boards will likely review the consolidation plans recommended by the transition boards. Significantly, the Act provides that the permanent boards are not bound by any contract or agreement with custodians, investment consultants, or other professionals engaged by the transition boards. So, once the elections are complete, the permanent boards may shuffle their lineup of vendors and staff.

They will also likely commence the transition of funds from local funds to the Investment Fund. Broadly, this process will first involve an audit performed by the Illinois Department of Insurance. Within ten business days after the results of the audit are received, the permanent boards should initiate the transfer of assets from the local pension fund. William Atwood, the Executive Director of the IFPIF, has stated that his goal is to transition all funds to the statewide system by July 2021, a full year ahead of the statutory deadline.

Updates on the IFPIF, including agendas and minutes of meetings, can be found on its website, The IPOPIF posts information to its Facebook page.