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.
The 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.