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La Grange trustee opposes police pension board appointment

Published: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 3:58 p.m. CDT

LA GRANGE – A village trustee said he opposed the reappointment of village Finance Director Lou Cipparrone to the La Grange Police Pension Board during a Village Board meeting Monday.

Trustee Jim Palermo requested a separate vote for approving one of two village representatives on the pension board, which also includes two active police officers and a retired officer. But the Village Board approved all of President Tom Livingston’s recommendations, including Cipparrone.

The Police Pension Board helps formulate the village’s property tax levy based on recommendations from an independent actuary, who advises the village on how much to put in its pension funds each year.

Palermo said he objects to Cipparrone serving on the board because it creates a conflict of interest between his role as the village's finance director and his position on the board, which, he said, must consider the interests of pension fund recipients (police officers and their spouses).

"I don't think Lou [Cipparrone] has done anything wrong,” Palermo said by phone. “It's by no means malfeasance or anything. It's having priorities and responsibilities to two different parties that might conflict."

Trustees Mark Langan and Bill Holder quickly voiced their support of Cipparrone serving on the board at the meeting, and said Cipparrone has done an excellent job as the village's finance director.

“I don’t question his talents," Palermo said of Cipparrone, "but I don’t think he’s the best choice.”

Palermo has previously voiced his concern that the village's pension funds are "severely underfunded," and urged the village to cut back in other areas to increase payment to pension funds.

A tax levy report from May 2012 shows that the village’s police pension fund is funded at 52 percent, with an accrued liability of about $30.6 million and an estimated value of assets of about $15.9 million.

By state law, pensions must be 90 percent funded by 2040.

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