Pension Law Change Lands Big Payout for U. of Illinios Administrator

Ann McClure's picture
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When high-ranking University of Illinois administrator Craig Bazzani retired in 2002, the board of trustees praised him for his financial expertise, his efforts to modernize the university's operations and his knowledge of the state's political system.

There was no mention of police work.

Yet Bazzani, the university's longtime vice president for business and finance, is drawing a pension not as a regular university employee but under the more lucrative pension formula intended for university police officers and firefighters.

As a result, he was able to retire with full benefits at age 55 and has collected roughly $365,000 more in pension payouts over the last decade than he would have under the regular formula, according to a Tribune analysis based on his pension records. During that time, he's received about $2.7 million from the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois, or SURS.

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