Oak Lawn may have a “mathematical mastermind” involved in its political campaigns.
Four years ago, voters were told about a phantom 10 million dollars that was “lost” due to the attorneys not being as good of lawyers as Tom Phelan would be if he was actually an attorney.
Then last year, the same mastermind pushed the Bury administration to claim that a firefighter or paramedic working for the village makes $7.5 million dollars in a lifetime.
Now, Tom Phelan has struck once again with what can only be described as Oak lawn’s own version of Enron Math.
In the most recent email attack to 6th District residents, Phelan is making an even more mathematically dubious claim in the hope of smearing a candidate that he isn’t even running against. Phelan, who is hoping to be elected again, after 12 years in power, used his recent newsletter email to bash Mayoral candidate Robert Streit. In what he calls a District Newsletter, Phelan claimed that the only reason Streit is running is to collect $1 million dollars in pensions.
However, even after serving for 26 years as a Trustee, Streit’s pension from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund only amounts to $312 a month. In addition, anyone who receives an IMRF pension is subject to a reduction in Social Security Benefits. Streit provided a copy of his personal statement of benefits.
Streit said that Phelan’s claim of a million dollars is “outlandish”. The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund recently provided numbers that show if Streit retired today, he would only receive a fraction of the pension benefits claimed by Phelan.
Those benefits of $312 a month include the amount Streit contributed to the fund, interest and the amount contributed by the village. All pension fund participants contribute 4.5% of their salaries to the pension fund. The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund is the most solvent pension fund in the State of Illinois with an 87 percent funding level. Streit, who is paid $7,200 a year as a Trustee, called Phelan’s smear “delusional” noting that Phelan also qualified for a small pension as an elected official.
The Oak Lawn Leaf also analyzed Phelan’s claim about a firefighter earning $7.5 million dollars in a lifetime. The claim, made by Mayor Sandra Bury’s Administration, appeared in the Daily Southtown.
(The) village had analyzed the career of a fireman, hired at 22 (which most are not) and determined that with thirty years of work and thirty years of retirement, the village would have paid $7.5 million dollars to that firemen. Something seems screwy about that number. The village doesn’t pay anyone when they retire. It is the pension system which pays out pensions based on the fund which is comprised of the employee’s contribution, the village’s contribution and interest earnings. The interest earnings would be bigger if the proper amount is contributed by the employer.
The claim that firefighters and paramedics make $7.5 million in a lifetime similarly falls apart upon further analysis. The $7.5 million would mean that a firefighter would have to make $100,000 a year for 33 years to get to $3.3 million. His retirement would have to be extra special since the village’s contribution is only 1/3 of the amount he would receive. Now, Phelan is claiming that Streit is only running to make a million dollars in retirement.
Since the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund has analyzed Streit’s potential pension it would appear that he would have to live to the ripe age of 161 years old to even make half of Phelan’s claim.
Anyone good at math?