Pension meetings behind closed doors

Jul 16, 2013

The Illinois lawmakers working on solving the state pension problem are not planning any more public meetings, but they are meeting behind closed doors this Friday. And as IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, the leader of the group says they'll be doing so without input from one key figure in the debate: 

 The pension conference committee has taken hours of testimony in public. Now it's focusing on closed-door negotiations, trying to reach a compromise on the state's $100-billion pension liability.Chairman Kwame Raoul, a Democratic state senator from Chicago, says says one voice has been absent:

 "The governor's office has not communicated at all. Which is fine -- I think he views his role as setting deadlines."

 Gov. Pat Quinn's office has repeatedly refused to lay out specifically what the governor wants in a pension fix, instead simply saying it had to be a "comprehensive" plan that would erase the liability.

 Raoul says he's focused on pensions -- while "others" have been more interested in politics than policy."Suffice to say that the state is in need of leadership at the very top level. … And that involves more than just setting multiple deadlines. That involves being engaged."

 Raoul says regardless of how engaged with negotiations the governor is -- or rather isn't -- he and his colleagues will continue trying to reach a compromise on pensions.