Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson released a report (PDF) that found Mayor Richard Daley's reliance on using city employee furlough days to help balance his last budgets damaging to Chicago's four, already underfunded pension systems.
According to Ferguson's report, which was released yesterday, the Daley administration's use of furloughs will cost the pension funds more than $24 million, making current funding shortfalls that much worse. Ferguson writes that as city workers, including much of Chicago's unionized workforce and non-union employees, have taken 24 unpaid furlough days offs since mid-2009, the pension funds lost $11.05 million in employee contributions. The balance comes from the consequential loss of $13.05 million in the city's matching payments to the pension funds.
While the Daley administration reports to have saved the city $134 million since 2009 through the furlough program, Ferguson paints a much grimmer picture, since the $11.05 million city workers did not contribute during their unpaid time off will have to be made up for in the future. Considering the city's dire financial straits, Ferguson rightly asserts that city officials should be providing the public with a much clearer -- and accurate -- picture of the impact of the financial decisions being made in City Hall.
“As the city tackles its daunting structural deficit, it is important the full impact of those efforts are accurately calculated and fully disclosed to the public,” said Ferguson in a press release (PDF) announcing the report.