An extremely large, standing-room only crowd attended Rockford City Council on Monday, June 8 with many visitors there to recognize the long and impressive career of retiring City employee Lt. Dan Vincent. City Manager Michael Young called Vincent’s work for the City a “remarkable tenure.” Chief Jones of the Department of Public Safety said he appreciated Vincent’s cooperation in the process of merging the Fire and Police Departments. “Dan was involved with the fire department through that growth and helped the process go smoothly. He accepted a different rank that fit in better. I am very appreciative of all he has done for Rockford.” “One thing I would like to add,” said Young. “I’ve worked with Dan. We all know people in an organization that make things run smoothly. Dan is definitely one of those people.” Fire Marshall Mike Reus said he also appreciated the long, often unexpected hours that firefighter are called to work. “I see Dan’s wife and family here. I think we should all thank them for the sacrifices they have made.” Vincent, who has announced his retirement, is one of the people who have worked in the spirit of doing things “The Rockford Way.”
“The Golden Age of Retirement” In my opinion, we are well past the mid-point of the age that future generations will come to call “The Golden Age of Retirement.” I have three reasons to back up my assertion. First, there are still mass amounts of people receiving benefits from defined benefit pensions, i.e. you work for 30 years and receive a pension of X amount of dollars. The employer shoulders 100% of the pension burden forever. As we are seeing from the General Motors debacle and the City of Grand Rapids issues with their pension shortfalls, the defined benefit pensions as we know them today are just not sustainable to the employing entity. “Forever” seems to be the issue. These pensions are quickly being replaced by defined contribution pensions, i.e. 401k contributory plans or Simple Individual Retirement Account plans, where the employee puts in some dollars and the employer puts in some dollars. The employee receives the value of the account when he retires and the employer has no further liability. In many employment scenarios, older employees are covered by a defined benefit plan but all new employees are covered by a defined contribution plan. It appears this switch will continue, especially in non-unionized private industry, until there is no more defined benefit plan coverage. Eventually, the only entities having employees with defined benefit plans will be government and public entities such as schools and unionized private industry entities such as UAW and Teamsters. The second reason I call today “The Golden Age of Retirement” is the current Social Security benefit rules. Practically everyone qualifies, once they reach the proper qualifying age, to receive a Social Security benefit, no matter how little their income or assets or how large their income or assets. In 2009, 51 million beneficiaries received $650 billion in benefits. In the late 1800’s, the Germans were the first nation to set up a Social Security system. We followed them in the 1930’s with our own version. Our version, called the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), was crafted to fulfill a rather limited set of needs. Beneficiaries could begin drawing at the age of 65. The kicker was that the average life expectancy for both men and women was less than 65. […]
After more than 35 years of teaching piano lessons to Rockford-area residents, Marjorie Wiltse will enjoy a well-deserved retirement beginning this June. Over the course of her career, she challenged and inspired her 200+ students and instilled in each of them a lifelong love of music. Many of her current and former students, as well as her family, will proudly attend her final studio recital on Saturday, May 30 at Our Lady of Consolation church in Rockford. We give a big congratulations and thank-you to Mrs. Wiltse for giving so much of herself to so many over the years!
by CHRISTINE BIGNEY Andrew Shears has been going to work to the Rockford Post Office everyday for the past 30 years But come Friday, April 3, Shears will don his postal blues for the last time. Shear’s supervisor, Fred Farage, said that the person who replaces Shears will have some very big shoe’s to fill. “One of the things about Andrew is he is an extremely organized individual,” Farage said. Approximately nine years ago the post office downtown split into two operations, with the Annex located just north of Rockford. Farage spends most of his work-day at the Annex. “Andrew has done an amazing job organizing and keeping up with the paperwork and the financial aspect of the Rockford office. In a sense, he’s run that whole place. I knew things would be done right,” Farage said Farage went on to say that in the past year the post office has lost 1/3 of their more experienced employees through early retirement. “We will have major changes going on with staffing, as we replace them with transfers from other offices,” Farage explained. Farage said that Shears is looking forward to working in his garden after he retires. We wish Andrew all the best.
Rockford High School Athletic Department recently announced retirement and coaching changes of four high school sports. After 35 years as head varsity coach of the Rams wrestling team, Don Rinehart has announced that he will retire at the end of the current season. Coach Rinehart’s accomplishments include 11 OK Red conference team championships, 14 district team titles, 10 regional team titles, and the 2007 Division I state MHSAA team championship. Rinehart has also coached numerous individual state champions, and has also coached baseball, softball and football in Rockford Public Schools. Amira Ponne has been named the head girls soccer coach. Ponne has coached at the junior varsity level for the past three seasons and teaches at the Rockford Freshman Center. She replaces Heidi Greenland, who retired to spend more time with her family. Tim Jacobs and Greg Hobart have been named to lead the varsity men’s and women’s crew teams. Jacobs is a teacher at the Rockford Freshman Center. Hobart is a long-time assistant coach in wrestling. Andrew Martin has been named the head boys track coach. He is also the men’s cross country coach and has served as a track assistant the past several years. Martin teaches in the social studies department at Rockford High School. Last year’s head coach, Brent Cummings, will remain with the staff as an assistant coach.