Illinois House passes bill to require race and ethnicity-based quotas at state universities pension system
Illinoisans of Italian, Mexican, French and Eastern European descent could be in line for top management jobs with one of the state's largest public pension systems if a bill becomes law.
House Bill 4412, sponsored by State Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Champaign) and State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago), would require the Illinois' State Universities Retirement System (SURS) board to institute race and ethnicity-based hiring quotas for senior staff.
It passed the Illinois House by a vote of 70-26 in late April.
Ammons and Arroyo's bill would "ensure that the racial and ethnic makeup of the System's senior administrative staff represents the racial and ethnic makeup of the System's membership."
"Senior administrative staff" includes the board's executive director, chief investment officer, general counsel, freedom of information officer, chief financial officer, director of member services, director of outreach, director of human resources, director of internal audit, director of operations, and the director of application development and research.
A review of SURS nine current senior staff members shows two-thirds are likely of English or Irish descent.
SURS Chief Investment Officer Doug Wesley, General Counsel/FOIA Officer Bianca T. Green, CTO Jefferey Saiger, Chief Benefits Officer Suzanne Mayer, Human Resources Director Brenda Dunn and Director of Internal Audit Steven L. Hayward all have surnames of English or Irish heritage.
Martin Noven of Chicago, SURS' current executive director, is likely of Nordic/Scandinavian or English/Irish descent.
Director of Members Services Angie Lieb is likely of German decent.
SURS' CFO Phyllis L. Walker is African-American.
Ammons husband, Aaron, is a member of the SURS board. He's a community activist turned Urbana alderman who is now running for Champaign County Clerk.
In 2015, Gov. Pat Quinn expunged Ammons' criminal record on his last day in office, two days before his wife was sworn into the Illinois House. She formerly held his seat on the Urbana City Council.
The Illinois' Department of Insurance's Biennial Report on public pensions reported that SURS is effectively insolvent, with $23.2 billion in debt.
In 2016, it received $1.6 billion from Illinois taxpayers, earned $79 million on its investments and paid out $2.4 billion in benefits and expenses to retired employees from Illinois' public colleges and universities.
Only English-Irish need apply?
Six of nine senior staff at the State Universities Retirement System are of English or Irish descent, according to an analysis by Prairie State Wire.
|Martin Noven||executive director||Sweden/Norway|
|Doug Wesley||chief investment officer||England/Ireland|
|Bianca T. Green||general counsel/FOIA officer||England/Ireland|
|Phyllis L. Walker||chief financial officer||African-American|
|Jefferey Saiger||chief technology officer||England/Ireland|
|Suzanne Mayer||chief benefits officer||England/Ireland|
|Angie Lieb||director of member services||German|
|Brenda Dunn||director of human resources||England/Ireland|
|Steven L. Hayward||director of internal audit||England/Ireland|
Source: State Universities Pension System; NamePrism.com