The Blue Ribbon Committee that has been appointed to review and make recommendations about the police and firemen pension funds to City Council selected Mark Metz to act as chairman in a meeting held on April 22 in the aldermanic library at the Civic Center. Other members of the Committee include Gregory M. Beard, Gerald M. Gordon, Aleksandr Granchalek, Peter D. Morris, Sandra Waller Shelton, William A. Testa and Jim Young. Two persons who were appointed, Jerry Wallack and Charles Lewis, have resigned.

City Council voted to establish the Committee on Jan. 26, after the City’s new actuary estimated that the unfunded liability in the police and firefighter pension funds was $140 million. At various times during the City’s budgeting process, aldermen requested that the Committee be formed to work on a comprehensive solution and to make recommendations to address the shortfall. City Council approved the appointment of the Committee on March 24.

Based on a preliminary discussion, it appears the Committee will review four things: 1) the investment performance of the pension funds and the process followed in investing the funds; 2) the actuarial assumptions that were used in estimating the annual yearly payment required to be made by the City to the funds and the assumptions that were used in estimating the City’s unfunded liability; 3) the pension benefits history and possible alternative actions; and 4) various alternatives to address the unfunded liability. The Committee hopes to have its analysis completed by the end of July.

Several members of the Committee asked the City’s legal counsel to provide an opinion concerning whether the Committee is subject to the Open Meetings Act. The City’s legal counsel provided the Committee with a two-page analysis of the Act, but apparently needed additional information to render an opinion on the issue.

The Open Meetings Act provides that all meetings of “public bodies” shall be open to the public, unless the meetings may be closed to discuss certain topics specified in the Act. The Act defines “public body” to include all “advisory bodies” of cities, including but not limited to any committee which is supported in whole or in part by tax revenue.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...