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The 2014 Pension 40: Rahm Emanuel

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Rahm Emanuel
Mayor
Chicago

In October, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 55, announced his 2015 budget but limited his remarks on pensions to agreements negotiated with several groups of city employees. “Working with our partners in organized labor, we passed reforms that will shore up the pension plans serving half of our city’s workforce — making sure that both retirees and taxpayers are respected,” he said. Despite the upbeat message, Emanuel’s efforts to reduce Chicago’s pension deficit have stirred union opposition and made his reelection more difficult. The city’s six pension funds have an unfunded liability of $26.8 billion. Agreements reached with two of the plans have been challenged in the courts, and larger battles loom with police, fire and teachers’ unions. At $18,596 a head, Chicago has the highest per beneficiary pension deficit of any major U.S. city. Without changes, Chicago’s operating costs will mushroom from $270 million in 2015 to $3.5 billion in 2016. The city needs to pump as much as $1 billion into pension coffers in 2016, up from $557 million in 2015, or face further debt downgrades. Last March, Moody’s Investors Service cut Chicago’s rating and warned of a further downgrade if it failed to raise taxes to fund annual contributions. Making matters worse, in November an Illinois court overturned state pension reforms that Emanuel had helped champion, and some of the mayor’s opponents are calling for the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate allegations that Emanuel accepted campaign donations from asset managers that invest city pension money. Tough times.

The 2014 Pension 40

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Bruce Rauner
Illinois
John and
Laura Arnold

Laura and John
Arnold Foundation
Randi Weingarten
American Federation of Teachers
Rahm Emanuel
Chicago
David Boies
Boies, Schiller & Flexner
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Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans
Damon Silvers
AFL-CIO
Laurence Fink
BlackRock
Chris Christie
New Jersey
Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
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Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees’ Retirement System
John Kline
Minnesota
J. Mark Iwry
U.S. Treasury Department
Gina Raimondo
Rhode Island
Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Labor Department
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Orrin Hatch
Utah
Abigail Johnson
Fidelity Investments
Ted Wheeler
Oregon
Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
James Hoffa
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
Alejandro
García Padilla

Puerto Rico
Christopher Klein
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Caifornia
Steven Rhodes
Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Kevin de León
California
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David Draine
Pew Charitable Trusts
Jordan Marks
National Public Pension Coalition
Sam Liccardo
California
Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Karen Ferguson and Karen Friedman
Pension Rights Center
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Timothy Blake
Moody’s Investors Service
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
Daniel Loeb
Third Point
Judy Mares
Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Labor Department
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Andrew Biggs
American Enterprise Institute
Andy Stern
Columbia University
Kenneth Mehlman
KKR & Co.
Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
A. Melissa Moye
U.S. Treasury Department


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