Poulos was one of nine officials appointed to the board from across the state Jan. 31, the same day nine were appointed as interim trustees to the Firefighters' Pension Investment Fund.
The newly formed boards will help navigate the consolidation of 650 separate police and fire pension plans across the state. Pritzker signed the bipartisan pension consolidation bill into law in December.
"That's something in the pension world we've been waiting to happen," Poulos said. "I'm glad to have the opportunity to make sure we do everything we can to make this successful to save money for the pension fund and ultimately for cities."
Poulos retired from the Rock Island Police Department as a lieutenant after 33 years and served as Coal Valley Police Chief for five years. He has served more than 35 years on the local police pension board.
Poulos said he was first notified about his appointment by a phone call from someone involved in the process and received an official letter a few days later.
He hopes consolidating the funds will trickle down into saving money for municipalities, which is the overall goal of the legislation.
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"One of the most critical long-term challenges we face in Illinois is our underfunded local pension liabilities and the surging property tax burdens they create, which is why Republicans and Democrats alike supported this consolidation," Pritzker said in a release. "Moving forward, I’ve tasked these board members with moving quickly to begin this consolidation so that taxpayers and retirees can reap improved returns."
The consolidation is expected to produce improved returns of $820 million to $2.5 billion over the next five years.
"Initially I was not in favor because I thought the individual funds were doing well," Poulos said. "Going forward, I want to make sure we are doing this as efficiently as possible. The individual funds will still have to have their own actuary and attorney."
Poulos and the other interim trustees will oversee consolidation of local funds. Across the state, there are more than 400 police pension funds and more than 200 pension funds, Poulos said.
The fund boards consist of five members drawn from employees and retirees and four members representing employers.
The appointments will become permanent after an election later this year. The date has not yet been set. As a retiree, Poulos said he will have to obtain 100 signatures to get on the ballot, while active officers need 400 signatures. Only police and fire beneficiaries will participate in the election of board trustees.
Poulos said all local boards will remain, but consolidation will create one large investment fund.
"Our goal is to do everything we can to make it successful," he said. "That's part of the success. What this temporary board does is going to affect how this moves forward. We have two things we have to do — be very transparent and do this as efficiently as possible.
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