Retired doctor earns highest public pension in Illinois history - New York News

Retired doctor earns highest public pension in Illinois history

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

As the pension crisis in Illinois moves even closer to the tipping point, a milestone of sorts has been crossed without notice -- until now.

A retired doctor with big-time credentials will get a public pension of more than a half million dollars this year; the first time that's ever happened in Illinois.

Since retiring from medicine, Dr. Winnie has become something of a target for critics of Illinois' failing pension system. It's a role he believes is entirely unfair and he isn't apologizing for his hefty retirement check.

Dr. Alon P. Winnie says he got into medicine to help people's lives, not pad his pension.

"I didn't decide what I was going to get," Dr. Winnie says. "I didn't even know it until the year I retired."

But the 81-year-old retired anesthesiologist has found himself in the crosshairs of the public pension debate as Illinois' top pension recipient.

Analyst Bill Zettler, who just published a book called "Illinois Pension Scam," says Dr. Winnie is an example of what's wrong with Illinois.

Dr. Winnie draws two public pensions. In 2013, he'll receive more than $330,312 from his Cook County pension and $182,000 from the state's university pension system. That's a total of $512,964.

"He's the first $500,000 a year pension in Illinois history," Zettler says. "Let's be real here. The average anesthesiologist in America working in the private sector makes $348,000 a year. So he's making 150% more than his peers in the private sector right now."

"They should be looking at the accomplishments of the people who are now pensioners before they criticize them for what they're receiving," Dr. Winnie says.

And when it comes to accomplishments, few can top Dr. Winnie. For decades, he trained hundreds of anesthesiologists with the University of Illinois Medical Center, wrote medical papers and textbooks and created groundbreaking techniques that reduced patient risk.

He also headed Cook County hospital's department of anesthesiology, assisting in thousands of surgeries, all of it while in a wheelchair after contracting polio in his 20's.

"It's a wonderful way to work, earn your living," the doctor says. "Taking care of people who are needy, who need medical care."

Winnie says people who are upset about his half million dollar pension should focus their anger instead on state lawmakers who failed to fund the pensions for decades.

"They haven't funded it and now they're stuck with their pants down," he adds. "So are the pensioners supposed to take the brunt of what they worked very hard for to make up for the screw-up of the legislature? It's ass backwards."

Follow Us!

Share Your Photos & Video

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:33:11 GMT
    New Haven police say they have charged a Westbrook with making a hoax call in November to say an armed man was heading to shoot up Yale University.
    Police say they have charged a Connecticut man with making a call in November in which he falsely claimed an armed man was on his way to shoot up Yale University. New Haven police said Wednesday that 50-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Westbrook, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment, misuse of the emergency 911 system and breach of peace.
  • Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:10:58 GMT
    The brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has died after sustaining a serious head injury following a fall in New York, British royal officials said Wednesday. Clarence House said that the 62-year-old Mark Shand died in the hospital Wednesday after falling late Tuesday.
    The brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has died after sustaining a serious head injury following a fall in New York, British royal officials said Wednesday. Clarence House said that the 62-year-old Mark Shand died in the hospital Wednesday after falling late Tuesday.
  • Port Authority could rescind $1 NJ Transit lease

    Port Authority could rescind $1 NJ Transit lease

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 2:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 18:57:07 GMT
    NJ TransitNJ Transit
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is holding its monthly board meeting, two days after it heard from a panel on what it needs to do to improve its accountability and efficiency and restore public trust.
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey could rescind a $1-a-year lease for a park-and-ride lot near the Lincoln Tunnel. The agency's chief of real estate and development told a committee Wednesday that it should change a deal made in 2012. Published reports have alleged that former Port Authority chairman David Samson voted to approve the lease even though his law firm did business with New Jersey Transit, which operates the park-and-ride lot.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices