Something different appeared in the recently compiled annual list of the state’s highest paid public pensioners.
A retired suburban high school teacher was No. 4 on the list put together each year by Taxpayers United of America.
That’s unusual, considering for years the top 10 has been dominated by medical doctors who had state jobs teaching things like neurosurgery and proctology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. But this time, Beverly Lopatka’s name showed up wedged between a retired orthopedic surgeon and a retired radiologist on the list. And next to a $399,652 figure.
According to officials at the Teachers’ Retirement System, Lopatka will receive that amount in 2013 from three different state retirement benefits — including one stemming from a rule that caught several of Illinois’ legislative pension experts by surprise. Lopatka will receive $89,988 from her personal pension and another $111,543 in survivor benefits from her late husband Robert, who was a school district superintendent. She’ll also receive $198,121 from a completely legal, but little known, provision called a “reversionary benefit.”
Attempts to reach Beverly Lopatka, who now lives in another state, were unsuccessful. However, there were others who had plenty to say about the controversial benefit program.
“It sounds preposterous,” said state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat. “I don’t know how you get that and a survivor’s annuity. This is the first I’ve heard about this.” More…