May 15 -- Pension ruling

Dear colleagues:

As you have likely seen in the news, a Sangamon County judge yesterday postponed the scheduled June 1 implementation of the state’s new pension law until constitutional challenges can be decided by the courts. 

Judge John Belz recognized that members of the pension system could suffer “irreparable harm” if the law had been allowed to go forward before questions over its constitutionality are resolved. It is unknown how long the process will take, but legal analysts expect that the case will ultimately be decided by the Illinois Supreme Court.  There is a status hearing in the case scheduled for May 22.

Depending on how courts rule, provisions of the new law may still be implemented sometime in the future. But, for now, yesterday’s ruling preserves the current pension system as we know it, and provides some assurance for employees who were considering retirement before June 30, 2014, to avoid losing benefits they had already earned.

I hope that faculty and staff who were weighing retirement will now decide to stay on and share their talents to benefit the university, our students and our state.

Others have already tendered their resignations, fearful of its negative impact on their retirement benefits. If any of them now wish to return, the University will make every effort to consider their request.  Employees should contact their direct supervisor to begin these discussions.

My thanks to all of you for your patience and understanding amid the months of uncertainty over the new pension law, and for your loyalty and service to this great University.


Robert A. Easter