As reported by the Daily Herald, freshman Representative Margo McDermed  is taking up legislation originally proposed by her predecessor, Renée Kosel, that takes aim at a situation involving the College of Dupage that is currently enraging local taxpayers.

From the Daily Herald on January 29th, 2015:

State Rep. Margo McDermed, a Mokena Republican, introduced legislation prior to COD's final decision calling for more transparency in publicly funded severance agreements. The plan is aimed at the 2013 deal in which Metra agreed to a $442,000 severance package with former CEO Alex Clifford.

Her legislation would ensure severance agreements funded partly or fully with taxpayer money be made public.

McDermed says it's time to build this transparency into Illinois law. "If taxpayers knew what was going on with money, they might vote differently in elections for things like college boards," McDermed said.

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Vowing to lead by example, State Representative Margo McDermed today announced that she will refuse state pension and health insurance benefits offered to members of the General Assembly. McDermed (R-Frankfort) stressed that previous administrations have left Illinois with one of the worst funded state pension systems in the nation – a problem that can’t be fixed by adding to the burden.

“When you’re in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging. As a new member of the House, I am choosing to refuse General Assembly pension and health insurance benefits that would, in effect, dig our state deeper in debt,” McDermed said.

Currently, legislators who participate in the pension program contribute 11.5 percent of their annual salary to the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). A legislator’s base annual salary is $67,836. Members with committee chairmanships and/or leadership positions earn more.

Under pension reform legislation enacted in 2010 that applies to new members who have entered the General Assembly since 2011, legislators can retire at age 67 with a minimum of eight years of service (or at age 62 with reduced benefits) and earn up to 60 percent of their final average salary after 20 years of service. Legislators who took office prior to 2011 remain eligible to retire at age 62 with a minimum four years of service (or age 55 with a minimum eight years of service) and earn the maximum 85 percent of their final average salary after 20 years, with annual cost-of-living adjustments.

“I know refusing these benefits won’t single-handedly solve our pension and budget crises, but it’s an important first step to show that I am ready to lead by example as we work toward solutions,” McDermed said.

Representative McDermed’s decision is final and irrevocable; as administrative rules within the state pension system do not allow her to ever opt back in.
Springfield...On Wednesday, the House of Representatives for the State of Illinois was sworn in; marking the opening of business for the 99th General Assembly. For the 37th District, Margo McDermed of Mokena was chosen by the voters in the November elections. McDermed had been sworn in early on January 8th to serve in the final session day of the 98th General Assembly following the early retirement of Representative Renée Kosel. Kosel has stated that the early swearing in of Representative McDermed will allow her a better position for committee assignments, which may benefit the 37th District.
The Herald News

SPRINGFIELD – Local lawmakers were split along party lines on legislation approved Thursday requiring a special election in 2016 to replace the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Some local lawmakers, including newly sworn-in State Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, questioned the timing of the bill’s passage. The legislation passed both the Illinois House and Senate down party lines, but not before heated debate.

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State Representative Margo McDermed is introduced on the
House floor. 
Springfield...On Thursday, Margo McDermed of Mokena was sworn as State Representative for the 37th District to finish the unexpired term of now retired State Representative Renée Kosel. Representative Kosel resigned her seat a few days early to give McDermed, and the 37th District, an advantage over other incoming freshman legislators who will be sworn in on January 14th. Representative McDermed expressed her eagerness to get started in her new role serving the people of the district.