October 18, 2012

Media Advisory -- Pension Reform Panel

The political and legislative climate for pension reform in Illinois is the focus of a panel discussion Friday, Oct. 19, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Linda L. Brookhart, executive director of the State Universities Annuitants System (SUAA), is among the panelists for the event. The discussion is part of the fall Administrative/Professional Staff Constituency Luncheon in the Student Center, Ballroom B. The Administrative/Professional Staff Council is hosting the panel discussion.

Other panelists are Jeff Houch, legislative liaison for the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) of Illinois, and Linda Renee Baker, a University professor with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and former secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Reports indicate a more than $83 billion gap in the state's pension funding

Reporters, photographers and video crews are welcome to attend the event. The luncheon is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The program will begin at 12:10 p.m.

On Nov. 6, voters in Illinois will also vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to require a three-fifths approval by the General Assembly, city councils and school boards to increase employee pension benefits.

Brookhart has been SUAA executive director since March 2007; prior to that she was a staff member of the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois for more than 16 years, serving the last seven of those years as vice president and secretary/treasurer of the Illinois Tax Foundation.

Houch began in his current position with SURS in November 2011, and works with legislators and staff to help them understand potential ramifications legislation would have on the state university retirement system. He also served on Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's staff for four years.

Baker joined the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in March 2003 after a three-year tenure as secretary of the Department of Human Services, where she managed an agency with about 20,000 employees and annual $5 billion budget. Her experience also includes work as director of the Department of Employment Security and assistant director of the Department of Public Aid.

For more information, contact Kathy Jones, A/P council chair at 618/453-5279.