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I’m trying hard to swear less here. I figure I should be more statesmanlike, but, man, it’s hard.

Get a load of House Bill 4412 for SURS, the Illinois university pension. It’s a bill that would require the pension board  to make best efforts to “ensure that the racial and ethnic makeup of [SURS’] senior administrative staff represents the racial and ethnic makeup of the System’s membership.” Prairie State Wire’s article on this is linked here.

In other words, look at the race of people in the pension and discriminate when you hire against people who don’t match up.

What possible sense does that make? Has it occurred to sponsors that members of the pension fund generally were hired years and years ago when things were, to put it nicely, less inclusive? It’s the new arrivals and groups historically discriminated against who will be hurt.

Image result for help not wanted signThe discrimination that would result if the bill becomes law would be particularly hard on minorities that arrived in large numbers in recent years, particularly Hispanics and Asians.

Most perplexing is that the main sponsors ought to know better. They are Carol Ammons (D-Chicago), who is African American; Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago), who is Puerto Rican; and Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), who is African American.

Then there’s David McSweeney, also a sponsor, and a conservative Republican from Arlington Heights. Baffling.

Extend the logic of this bill to other pensions and consider the absurdity. Many, if not most, of the 671 pensions around Illinois undoubtedly are made up predominately of ethnic groups that historically were common in their area or that dominated particular professions for whatever reason. Should they discriminate in hiring against those who don’t match up?

Consider the Chicago firefighters’ pension. Based on personal research, it’s comprised of about 6.4 billion Southside Irish, 96.4% of whom are my relatives. Should the pension’s  hiring goal be to match that? If so, good luck, you Padillas, Dabrowskis, Lombardis, Kapoors, Weinsteins, Kims, Wangs, Browns and all the rest.

Erin go Bragh.

-Mark Glennon is founder and executive editor of Wirepoints.



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Guy Daley

The absurdity of the NEED to pass any legislation addressing this issue is GINORMOUS. Illinois is broke and the people in government and getting elected continue to pound on the table for more policies that will drive more businesses and people out of state. The real question is, “Will these pensions be paid at all?” Is it any wonder that the people drawing HUGE government pensions from various Illinois agencies FLEE THE STATE and live somewhere else where the cost of living is more reasonable? Illinois is horribly mismanaged and the above proposed legislation is just another example. Illinois is… Read more »

I do agree with all the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.


5 out of 9 senior administrative staff members are female. That’s infinitely more diverse than all the labor union boards comprised of old white men. Maybe we need legislation to “ensure that the racial and ethnic makeup” of the International Union of Operating Engineers leaders meets the same rigorous standards as our pension boards.