A retired Chicago labor leader secured a $158,000 public pension — about five times greater than what a typical retired public-service worker in Chicago makes — after being rehired for just one day on the city payroll, Business Insider reports.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Dennis Gannon will collect approximately $5 million in city pension funds during his lifetime.
Gannon started out in organized labor in 1973. He was 19 years old and made $6.95 an hour working for Streets and San as a steamroller engineer.
During the next 17 years, he worked his way into the role of hoisting engineer foreman, overseeing the use of heavy cranes at road construction sites at a salary of about $56,000. By 1990, Gannon had become a business agent with Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
After he left city service, Gannon moved to take advantage of a law that allowed him to stay in the municipal pension fund. Records show that in April 1991, Gannon had Local 150's business manager write a letter on his behalf making that request.
According to several reports, Gannon’s pension is so high that it exceeds federal limits and required Chicago’s pension fund to file special paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service to give it to him.
"I am extremely proud of my many years of service to the city of Chicago and the working men and women of organized labor," Gannon wrote in a statement provided to The Chicago Tribune.
The report continues:
Gannon's inflated pension is a prime example of how government officials and labor leaders have manipulated city pension funds at the expense of union workers and taxpayers. Like other labor leaders, he was able to take a long leave from a city job to work for a union and then receive a city pension based on a high union salary.
Terrance Stefanski, who oversees the city's municipal pension fund, confirmed that the city helped Gannon get the inflated pension by hiring him for just one day. But he claims that he has "no control over city hiring and must follow the pension laws."
"Once the city rehired him and he went on a leave of absence to work for the union, he was eligible under the law," Stefanski said in an interview.
Streets and San officials provided a statement about Gannon's one-day hiring: "This was a personnel matter that happened more than 16 years ago, and at this time we don't have all of the details needed to determine exactly why these decisions were made."
The Chicago Tribune's investigation has revealed that Gannon's inflated city pension is one of at least 23 handed out to union leaders who have retired from the city.
How legislation that created this pension perk for union leaders found its way into the state statutes--with no transparency or accountability whatsoever--is anybody's guess.