POLITICS

Does Neil C. Codell deserve a $26 million pension

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone

Via Tom Elia of the New Editor, here’s a list of the top 100 pensions of Illinois school administrators. The valuations represent the worth of the pension assuming the beneficiary retired at age 56 with a life expectancy of another 29 years. The average value of these pensions is $8.879,257.90. The number one pension goes to Neil C. Codell of Niles Township Community High School District (a suburban area just north of Chicago and just west of the lakefront). Mr. Codell’s salary is $885,327 and his estimated first-year pension is $601,978. The pension is valued at $26,661,604.

As you may imagine, I’ve never heard of Mr. Codell, and for all I know he may be the greatest school administrator of all time. According to this court decision, in 1997 Mr. Codell, then principal of Whitefish Bay High School (an affluent suburb of Milwaukee) he told a woman applying for a job that his wife “’is the best teacher in the world.’ But he also said she made the ‘right decision’ to stay home with their children who are ‘the number 1 priority,’ and who were roughly the same age as [the applicant’s] children.” So perhaps the greatest school administrator of all time is entitled to some compensation for the income foregone by the best teacher in the world when their children were growing up.

But somehow, $26,661,604 seems a little much. Or at least Illinois taxpayers, whose taxes Governor Pat Quinn, D, wants to raise to pay for pensions like these, might think so.

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