Thursday, September 22, 2011

One-day rehiring nets former Chicago labor leader Dennis Gannon a $158,000 city pension

Most city workers spend decades in public service to build up modest pensions. But for former labor leader Dennis Gannon, the keys to securing a public pension were one day on the city payroll and some help from the Daley administration.

And his city pension is more than modest. It's the highest of any retired union leader: $158,000. That's roughly five times greater than what the typical retired city worker receives.

In fact, his pension is so high that it exceeds federal limits and required the city pension fund to file special paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service to give it to him.

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.

But in a new twist, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation has found that Gannon is eligible for the lucrative pension deal only because City Hall rehired the former Streets and Sanitation Department worker for a single day in 1994, then granted him an indefinite leave of absence. more