Government
5:05 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Teachers Union Calls for Ouster of Pension Head

A labor union is demanding the resignation of the head of Illinois' teacher pension system. The union doesn't like what he's been saying about the future of teachers' retirement benefits. Richard Ingram says in order to solve the long-term funding problems of the Teachers' Retirement System, the state has to consider reducing automatic cost-of-living increases for retirees.

As the director of TRS, he says he understands it's not an easy message to hear. But he says his responsibility it to make sure the teachers' pension system has enough money. He says TRS has analyzed multiple scenarios, and all of them end with insolvency:

"When that's the case, then you can't be silent anymore. You have to say there needs to be changes."

             - Richard Ingram, TRS

The president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers says cutting benefits is not the only way to solve the pension funding problem. He says teachers have lost faith in the ability of Ingram to safeguard their pensions. Dan Montgomery... says Ingram is overstepping his bounds:

"When he comes forward and says the only way to do it is this, he is leaving the realm of being the executive director of TRS and entering -- I don't know -- something maybe the legislature would advocate."

                                     - Dan Montgomery, Illinois Federation of Teachers

Montgomery says Ingram has lost the confidence of teachers. Ingram says he does not plan to resign.

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report