The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors today approved a comprehensive set of reforms to the pension system covering the RTA, Metra and Pace non-union employees. The measures aim to increase transparency in the system and reduce the potential for abuse.
“These are significant reforms and reflect our role and responsibility to manage an efficient and effective transit system,” said Acting Executive Director Joe Costello.
The reforms include three significant changes to the pension system covering the RTA, Metra and Pace employees. Approved reforms include anti-pension spiking provisions, a new forfeiture provision for felony convictions and the elimination of lump sum payment options for newly hired employees. The CTA maintains an independent pension system that was substantially reformed as part of the 2008 operating and funding legislation approved by the Illinois General Assembly.
The most comprehensive set of changes is included in the ordinance’s anti-spiking provisions. The anti-spiking provisions would:
- Limit the definition of pensionable compensation to base salary
- Reduce the impact of end-of-career salary increases by placing a cap on the amount of salary increases that would be included in pension calculations during the last year of employment
- Cap payouts for vacation, sick and other personal time accruals
The reforms would also make pensions subject to forfeiture for any felony conviction related to an employee’s role with the RTA, Metra or Pace. Finally, the measure would eliminate “lump-sum” payout options for new employees who join the agencies after December 31, 2010. Benefits accrued as of December 31, 2010 will be protected.
“Riders and taxpayers deserve a system that has transit employees who are ethical and accountable,” said Patrick Durante, Chair of the RTA Board’s Audit Committee. “By making these key changes, the likelihood of any one individual taking advantage of the system is reduced, and the public can have the confidence that resources are being used appropriately.”
The RTA continues to lead discussions with lawmakers and the service boards on the structure of a new Office of the Inspector General that would help the transit agencies review actions in conflict with established policy or abuses of resources.