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Streator fire and police pension board share actuary

The Streator fire and police pension board have agreed to split costs and hire the same actuary after disagreements regarding fund disputes

Chief Financial Officer Wes Levy, of Lauterbach & Amen, prepared a couple of presentations for the boards before ultimately deciding on Foster & Foster from Naperville.

“We wanted to try and get everybody on the same page,” Levy said at a council meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Foster & Foster was recommended based on its experience with police and fire pensions — it handles around 80 police and fire pension funds in the state of Illinois. Documents provided to the council show Peru police and fire also as their clients.

City Manager Scot Wrighton added one single actuary would allow them to “see the bigger picture.”

He said it also will eliminate disputes and the results will be received much sooner.

“But we’re not doing it to reduce the bad news,” Wrighton said referring to pension cost increases.

The city originally went with Timothy Sharpe, an actuary in the Chicago suburbs, this year but he was not selected as the shared actuary due to “negative press,” according to Levy.

Sharpe had been reprimanded by the American Academy of Actuaries and was featured in a New York Times article about how actuaries were providing bad projections to government pension boards.

The Times reached out to Kurt Snow, president of the Streator firefighters union, who is looking forward to seeing what information the new actuary provides.

“It’s a positive step to move forward and we’ll at least see in the coming months what the numbers come up to,” Snow said.

Snow added the city ultimately decides which actuary they will use and have chosen the state Department of Insurance in the past.

Snow suggested through working with the city they can secure more funding down the road when both actuaries come out with numbers.

He added getting as accurate as possible a number is important to firefighters given they are not eligible for Social Security, which the city pays out to other departments.

“Pensions are our sole retirement,” Snow said. “That’s basically all we have to go off of is our pensions.”

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