Springfield Mayor Mike Houston thinks there’s an ulterior motive behind a disputed study of the city’s pension liabilities.
That study from the Illinois Policy Institute has drawn pointed criticism from Houston and others, who suggest the conservative think tank intentionally cherry-picked data to cast the city in the worst possible light. Appearing live on 970 WMAY, Houston suggested the reason could be that backers of the IPI have a vested interest in steering workers from their current defined benefits plans to a 401-k style system. But the mayor also acknowledged that his theory is just “speculation.”
Amid growing criticism over a pension study he brought before the City Council, Springfield Aldermen Joe McMenamin is fighting back.
McMenamin arranged for the Illinois Policy Institute presentation that argued that Springfield had the worst pension crisis of any city in the state. The Houston administration has attacked the numbers, saying the IPI improperly added in factors that shouldn’t have been considered.
McMenamin concedes the point… but says the group fixed that error and crunched the numbers again, and says Springfield still tied for worst. McMenamin says he’s trying to fix a serious problem but can’t do it alone… and says he will need the help of voters next year to elect more reform-minded aldermen.