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The complete, utter hypocrisy of the Quinn pay raises

Monday, Jul 12, 2010

* The more I thought about this last week, the angrier I became, so I made it my syndicated newspaper column

I was talking to my mom on the phone last week, and just as I was about to hang up she stopped me short and insisted that we talk about Gov. Pat Quinn’s bigtime raises to his top staff.

If you’ve missed the story, Quinn gave out raises of as much as 20 percent to his senior staff, while those same people were busily cutting everybody else’s budgets and devising tax-increase strategies.

Unlike the state’s mind-boggling $13 billion budget deficit, this is a very easy issue to understand for people who don’t pay close attention to politics.

My mother does follow Illinois politics quite a bit, however, and she appears to be just as incensed about the immorality of handing out selective pay raises during one of the worst fiscal crises in history as she is about the abject political stupidity of Quinn’s decision.

He’s brought it all on himself. “The bottom line is shared sacrifice in tough times,” Quinn told the Daily Herald last spring. “That’s what Americans do.”

Quinn has uttered that “shared sacrifice” line countless times this year as he’s pushed an austere budget and proposed a tax increase. But the complete, utter hypocrisy of calling for “shared sacrifice” from taxpayers, state employees and government vendors on the one hand while dishing out huge pay hikes for his top aides on the other makes me ill.

This is just an incredibly stupid thing to do on almost all possible levels.

I happen to respect Quinn’s budget director, David Vaught. He has an impossible, maddening job right now. But he should’ve known better than to accept a 20 percent pay raise while he was slashing state budgets. And Quinn, who has billed himself as “Mr. Populist” for as long as he’s been involved in politics, should’ve known better than to offer Vaught that raise.

The problem here is that this governor has great difficulty applying to his office the same lessons he’s preached to others. For instance, Quinn is in the process of drastically scaling back mobile phone usage by state employees, but his top aides still use the state’s fleet of turboprop planes.

The governor has bragged about reducing the state’s payroll, but almost all of the high-level officials he’s let go have been provided with golden parachutes.

As for himself, the governor has turned down a salary increase, often pays his own way when he travels, lives frugally, and is definitely no strutting peacock. You won’t see Quinn spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on new suits and ties like Rod Blagojevich did, or jetting off for Jamaica vacations with millionaire pals like George Ryan did.

Quinn mostly lives what he preaches. And it’s admirable that, as an employer, he wants to take care of “his people.” Plus, the amount of money we’re talking about is just a drop in the ocean of red ink flooding the state.

But the governor needs to somehow come to the realization that the pain he is inflicting via his budget and his other actions is all too real for hundreds of thousands of people who aren’t privileged enough to reside within his inner circle. Services for the mentally ill, seniors and countless others are being wiped out right now. Vendors are going out of business because the state is paying them so late. Nonunion state employees are forced to take furloughs and haven’t had a pay hike in years. Even unionized state workers agreed to delay half of their pay raises this year.

You cannot morally demand austerity from the masses while protecting your friends from harsh realities. It is thoroughly repugnant. And it must end.

* Related…

* ADDED: Could The Treasury Save Our State? - University of California-Berkeley law professor Christopher Edley has proposed a novel solution to the budget crises in Illinois and elsewhere: let cash-strapped states borrow from the U.S. Treasury.

* Finke: Pay raises may raise red flags on Election Day

* Small change in law makes big change in contracting procedure

* Quinn, govs seek more aid from Washington

* States Can’t Count on Federal Bailout, Obama Appointees Say

* Quinn prison cutbacks still unclear

* Counties worry about how to deal with cuts to funding for salaries

* Some Education Programs Spared

* Southtown Star: Bones expose gap in system

* SJ-R: Inaction only makes budget pain worse

* Herald & Review: Fixing finances takes what lawmakers lack

* Pantagraph: State financial news reads like a horror story

* Southern Illinoisan: Report should be eye-opening

* State hopes to hit jackpot Lottery sales and profits

* Erickson: One more time: State’s in dire financial shape

- Posted by Rich Miller        


76 Comments
  1. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:16 am:

    “Taxpayers get distracted by things that don’t matter worth a hill of beans” Jacobs said.

    Mike Jacobs is being proven incorrect. To taxpayers this year, beans are worth more than he realizes. He ought not to scoff until he experiences life on our side of the Government’s moronic antics.

    If he was worth a hill of beans, he would have enough humility to listen before saying something this stupid and arrogant.


  2. - Loop Lady - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:19 am:

    I really, really disagree with your outrage on this issue…state employees are not the problem in IL budget…if Quinn hired a bunch of new staffers instead of handing out raises to deserving staff, I could see your point…most state employees are doing more work for less pay than their counterparts in the private sector, like a colleague of mine stated last week, maybe folks are jealous of others that have a job…take an honest look at yourself before you cast aspersions…


  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:22 am:

    Quinn’s defense for the pay raises is that he has cut the Governor’s budget and it’s the bottom line that we citizens should look at. But if he hadn’t given the raises, he would have cut the Governor’s budget even more.


  4. - Who cares - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:23 am:

    Didn’t Quinn hire a NEW communications director a short while ago at a very generous salary? He only stayed around for a couple weeks then got appointed to a state rep ballot spot but that was a new hire.


  5. - dave - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:24 am:

    FWIW… I believe that the staff in the Gov’s office are also taking furloughs just like everyone else.

    And Vaught (and many others) didn’t get a raise. He got a promotion, with significantly more responsibility. Yes, some (about 1/3) got raises without promotions. That is problematic. But to point to Vaught as the example of the problem isn’t very honest.


  6. - dave - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:26 am:

    Didn’t Quinn hire a NEW communications director a short while ago at a very generous salary? He only stayed around for a couple weeks then got appointed to a state rep ballot spot but that was a new hire.

    @Who Cares - the Communications Director position wasn’t a new position. It was filling a vacated position.


  7. - chuckT - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:26 am:

    As I understand it, folks who got the raises have taken on responsibility for jobs that were not filled, so we are in effect getting two employees for the price of maybe 1.5. Taxpayers might be saving .5 of a salary plus benefits, which is a good thing. Am I correct?


  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:27 am:

    Were people going to walk out en masse? Part of being a governor is knowing when you have leverage.

    With the state’s fiscal condition and the upcoming election, he could have legitimately said there’s no way we can afford raises on any level. If you can’t live with it, best of luck in the private sector. I’m guessing a lot of people would have found reasons to hang around.


  9. - dave - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:33 am:

    they wouldn’t have to shell out $500 per year to read it!

    Sure… if by $500… you mean $350.

    Miller’s blog is the only news outlet in the state that carried this story today!

    This is really an old story… and it was covered by most/all of the news outlets last week. And Rich’s column is syndicated and shows up in several papers.


  10. - ILPundit - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:35 am:

    I think the outrage is a bit misguided.

    Consider the fact that the job classification of Public Service Administrator (PSA) recently went into the union — a title that included a lot of mid-level legislative liaisons. Once they went into the union, their salaries were required to be “equalized” across the classification.

    The result? A bunch of lower level Blago appointees got ironclad job protection and raises in the tens of thousands of dollars per year (plus retro pay).

    Quinn couldn’t do a damn thing about it. It was driven by the AFSCME contract and federal/state labor law. But this issue is costing the state a hundred times more than the small amount of money spent on staff raises for people who are being asked to take on more responsibility.

    I think biggest problem we have in our (in)ability to govern ourselves is the tendency to grab onto the bright shiny object and complain loudly, while ignoring the the more serious problems that exist in plain sight, because they might be harder to address. It’s a big part of why we are in this mess today, and this issue, and the public reaction to it, is a huge example.

    Its more of an indictment of the general public than the Governor, in my opinion.


  11. - Who cares - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    A lot of people working outside of government have been forced to take furlough days and have had been given more responsibility but not getting the pay raises.


  12. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    The state finances need to show real (non-inflation adjusted) cuts in the budget over a 5-10 year timeframe. The budget must also use realistic revenue growth numbers (not the pie-in-the-sky numbers normally used). Taxpayers (and Republican legislators) need to see a good faith effort in real budget cuts. After the initial cuts are fully implemented, I think a grand compromise can be worked out to have some increased taxes to get the long-term budget on track.

    The problem is that taxpayers feel the Governor and the Legislature has NO CREDIBILITY. Until some real effort to reign in spending is demonstrated, we will see no end to this budget crisis.

    Since a grand compromise needs LEADERSHIP to shepherd it through the wilderness, we won’t be seeing any resolution to the financial crisis anytime soon…


  13. - HolyCatz - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    Wow, Rich! Such pushback in defense of pay raises during a contentious campaign! Quinn should just run on the whole “we get one for the price of two” theme. I’m sure the hill-of-beans people would understand. (snark intended, of course)


  14. - Jim - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:43 am:

    Loop Lady, state workers are not the problem, giving state workers raises is the problem, whether they have increased responsibilities or not, it doesn’t matter. I work for goverment and we have received a 10% pay cut (furloughs, non-paid holidays, etc.) and because of a hiring freeze employees responsibilities have increased, and no one has quit in protest yet.


  15. - "Old Timer Dem" - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:43 am:

    Quinn is starting to get to be toxic. He is lucky Brady is not a popular Repub.


  16. - Who cares - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:46 am:

    The level of anger felt by voters is at an all time high. Right or wrong, news of government workers getting hefty pay raises when vital programs are being drastically cut just raises the level of frustration and anger. People will either skip voting all together or go with the ‘anyone but the incumbents.’ I don’t agree with that thinking but I’m telling you, A LOT of people are thinking that way.


  17. - Anon - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    ==“Taxpayers get distracted by things that don’t matter worth a hill of beans” Jacobs said.==

    But this is our hill, and these are our beans.


  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:52 am:

    The problem here for Quinn is that the generous pay raises look inappropriate no matter how you slice it. Besides, he was poised to give even Carol Adams, a RRB hold-over to boot, a generous pay raise on top of living expenses for an utterly unnecessary and useless job at this bad time in Illinois fiscally. He made no justification for why Adams needed to get upwards of $30,000 MORE + a living expenses perk than the person who previously held the position! What is worse he tried to defend what he was doing last year on the Adams re-assignment to a new post.

    So it really does appear there has been a pattern of doling out generous pay raises at the executive level under Quinn, not merely for a few key exceptions, such as a few promotions, as he and his supporters on this blog are trying to make it seem.


  19. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:52 am:

    I think biggest problem we have in our (in)ability to govern ourselves is the tendency to grab onto the bright shiny object and complain loudly, while ignoring the the more serious problems that exist in plain sight, because they might be harder to address. It’s a big part of why we are in this mess today, and this issue, and the public reaction to it, is a huge example.

    No. A bigger problem is the fact that we have a self-selected group of “experts” who feed their egos by claiming citizens cannot govern themselves, and instead, citizens should follow lemming-like these self-annointed people towards goals these experts have determined as best solutions. And what exactly are these people experts at, besides self-promotion and denouncing those of us with only real world experiences?

    We have over 200 years of excellence in self-governance. Wake up. At what point have you told yourself we suck at this?

    A bigger problem with Illinois has been the hide-bound status quo that has dominated our elected government for a generation. Another bigger problem has been a lack of competition for voters resulting in single party power, which history clearly demonstrates - sucks bigger than your claims of our amateur meddlings.

    We have two corrupted political parties both which have failed to remove their own putrid stench after running two of the worse governors in our history. Instead of looking inward for reform, these parties assume citizens will merely forget how rotted they are, and keep right on serving up yesterday’s has-beens as tomorrow’s leaders.

    Blaming everyone for being too stupid or incompetent to govern themselves or voting for George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich may make some people feel superior to their neighbors, but it is a fool’s statement failing to recognize how we have succeeded over the past two centuries no thanks to their humongous egos claiming otherwise.


  20. - Fed Up - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:55 am:

    The bottom line is this. Quinn indicated that he gave raises because in many cases his staff assumed additional duties. What about all of the front line state workers who have seen their office payrolls shrink? They too have had to assume additional duties to take up the slack and yet they consider themselves lucky to hold on to their jobs let alone get any kind of pay raise. I find it unfathomable that the governor would put himself in this untenable position at any time but particularly so prior to an election!


  21. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 10:57 am:

    Maybe Quinn was going to pay for some of the raises with Alexi’s $30K tax refund. Quinn is a penny-pincher…of other people’s pennies!


  22. - Lincoln Parker - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:01 am:

    Hey, at least higher salaries means higher taxes.


  23. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:03 am:

    Loop Lady, given that you are a state worker, you sure do spend an awful lot of time on this blog. As a taxpayer, who pays your salary, it’s not appreciated. Get back to work! I know you, and all the other state workers who will be out of job when Quinn loses, are worried and want Quinn to win, but I don’t think constantly blogging is among your job responsibilities, is it? If so, that’s one more strike against Quinn because he not only gives out generous pay raises, but allows his employees exhibit even more blatant disregard for taxpayers by allowing them to openly engage in theft of time.


  24. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:07 am:

    Somewhere deep in my gut I feel Quinn is not a bad man (I don’t have this feeling about Rod), who is WAY outside his comfort zone and a perfect example of the Peter Principle. He is simply a bad executive, a poor judge of character, and a lousy administrator. This is a bad mixture for a governor. Don’t know if Brady is any better, but we do know how bad Quinn is. I wonder what the voters will think.


  25. - dancer - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:09 am:

    There appear to be a lot of Quinn staffers who have jumped on here to make comments in defense. No one buys this.

    The raises do show the utter and shallow hypocrisy of the phoney reformers in the governor’s office.


  26. - Rob_N - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:11 am:

    Dancer, do you have any evidence for your claim or are you just whistlin’ dixie?

    …In other words, how do we know you aren’t just a GOP operative, paid by Brady or some other Republican group?


  27. - sal-says - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:15 am:

    Bottom line is that Quinn’s behavior with the raises/promos/whatever is incredibly tone deaf and politially stupid. Again gives me less confidence is his abilities to govern for the taxpayers.


  28. - Responsa - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    –Consider the fact that the job classification of Public Service Administrator (PSA) recently went into the union — a title that included a lot of mid-level legislative liaisons. Once they went into the union, their salaries were required to be “equalized” across the classification–

    –Quinn couldn’t do a damn thing about it. It was driven by the AFSCME contract and federal/state labor law. But this issue is costing the state a hundred times more than the small amount of money spent on staff raises for people who are being asked to take on more responsibility–

    Wow, this reclassification hasn’t gotten any media attention, either. Proof positive that public and private sector employees live in alternate universes. When times are good no one notices, but in a bankrupt state and a recessionary economy the unfairness if it all sticks like a shard of glass in the voters’ brains.


  29. - anon - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    Anyone who would even try to defend these raises/increases is a idiot, including Quinn. Incompetence should not be rewarded with higher pay under any circumstances.


  30. - plutocrat03 - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    The outrage is justified.

    Nice to see that more people are seeing the magnitude of disaster that is the State of Illinois.

    There are still those who believe in the system, convinced that public workers work harder than those in the private sector. They will learn the truth someday.

    The harder question is how to get out of this morass. Many of the current power brokers stand willing to allow everything to collapse rather than giving up their privileges.

    Previously the rivers of tax money lubricated the works. The deluge will not return soon. What to do until then?


  31. - Upstate - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:20 am:

    What Quinn is guilty of is dumb politics.

    But what he should be judged by governmentally is: does his office do more with less dollars? If he can run an office effectively with ten 100 K people instead of twenty 70 K people, then more power to him (emphasis on the word “effectively,” however).


  32. - Dooley Dudright - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:21 am:

    Connect the dots between the Quinn pay raises and the Metra story in the Sun-Times this morning (”Budget is tight, but agency still manages to give out top pay”).

    Mix in the recent stories on big bucks salaries at the Chicago Department of Aviation, and overtime in the top ranks of the Chicago Fire Department.

    Top execs often do want to take care of their staffs. As I think Rich indicates, this is okay — up to a point.

    Yet this sentiment does go awry.

    From time to time, a collective case of “staff hubris” (excuse my shorthand) can set in at the top levels of almost any organization.

    At the risk of sounding a bit glib — this staff hubris generally is derivative of inflated senses of self-importance, or us-versus-them mentalities, or condescension toward constituencies and governing boards.

    It’s insidious. And wrong. Yet it happens.

    In Pagano’s instance — extreme, I hope — staff bennies were inflated by deliberately short-circuiting board and auditor oversight.

    There’s no remediating what Pagano did.

    Quinn, however, still has a choice.

    Admit the mistake. Rescind the raises.

    Today.


  33. - Segatari - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:21 am:

    >Could The Treasury Save Our State? - University of California-Berkeley law professor Christopher Edley has proposed a novel solution to the budget crises in Illinois and elsewhere: let cash-strapped states borrow from the U.S. Treasury.

    Borrow WHAT money from the US Treasury?? They’re $13 Trillion in debt, they have no money. The concept is dead on arrvial.


  34. - Yiddish Cowboy - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    Merit Comp employees have to take furlough days and Quinn’s top staff have been the recipients of generaous raises. Pretty crappy! I wonder how many state employees will give serious thought to voting for Sen. Brady? Heck, I don’t know that it could be any worse for state employees under Brady.


  35. - wapak - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    Is Quinn perhaps a Republican plant put there to make sure Brady wins the election? That’s the only way to explain many of Quinn’s actions. It’s like he’s trying to lose.


  36. - keepitsimple - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:25 am:

    Regardless of whether pay raises are deserved, considering the present fiscal nightmare and elections in November, DairySoy boy is showing his true Bush League roots.


  37. - Justice - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:25 am:

    I too am outraged by the pay raises. I also believe what the unions are doing is completely and utterly wrong.

    For Quinn to bounce around the state spouting shared sacrifice and then give raises to his staff is completely out of line. And please….don’t hand me this bs about “they were promotions.” Many, many state employees are doing the jobs of their bosses without getting promotions or raises.

    I think Quinn is an idiot… but then we also have Brady. Good grief….are we ever screwed!

    But hey, as the trial progresses, this is another “up day” for me. How about you Blago?


  38. - Sue - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    At this point a Vote for Quinn is basically a vote against Brady- I had hoped Quinn would have been more aggressive in terms of taking on the deficit but he is wimping out- Gov Christie in NJ has a similar financial train wreck to deal with and is demonstrating what can be attempted assuming one has a set of b—-. Did anyone catch Quinn at the Governor’s conference televised over the weekend- when asked the one thing he was disappointed at for not having achieved- he didn’t say doing more on finances or ethics but not having done more to allow voters to petition the government through referenda- the moderator had to constrain himself from saying how idiotic this was given how much damage the referenda adgenda in CA has caused- other then that all Quinn did was try and act as a cheerleader for the President saying how great healthcare reform would be for the states- I hope he remembers that statement when the medicaid rolls explode without a countervailing federal subsidy


  39. - Bman - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:37 am:

    These top aides do not deserve the raises. How much committment have they shown compared to the real workers staying with the state while not getting raises. If any state employee is not covered by collective bargaining they have been screwed!


  40. - Sueann - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:48 am:

    I thought Union State employees just got a pretty nice raise as well. They will vote for Quinn, so will the people on welfare in one way or another and the retired people dont have their pensions taxed. The state retirees got raises as well. I see a lot of voters not mad at Quinn one bit. Illinois is a utopia you know


  41. - Rambler - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:50 am:

    ==The governor has bragged about reducing the state’s payroll, but almost all of the high-level officials he’s let go have been provided with golden parachutes.==

    That’s very interesting. So Quinn’s claim that he cut his overall budget is largely hot air. The taxpayers are footing the bill and they will be for decades if pensions are involved.
    Quinn is certainly showing that he has what it takes to be an Illinois Democrat.
    Just as an aside, I’d like to see one full-time reporter watching to see which Illinois pols get their relatives and cronies on the payroll before year-end when the pension reforms take effect.


  42. - Levois - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:52 am:

    Quinn is an honest guy compared to who he replaced sadly he hasn’t proven that he should be re-elected. I hope Bill Brady hits him for this during the general election campaign. There should be a series of debates between them.


  43. - wapak - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 11:55 am:

    A series of debates between Brady and Quinn would be great comedy. A far cry from the Lincoln-Douglas debates which discussed real issues in a profoundly intelligent way.


  44. - Almost Green Party Voter - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:04 pm:

    So let’s get this straight - Thanks to Guv Quinn…Union employees cannot be let go (he signed that deal last year), Union employees get a pay raise (even if deferred for a few months) while their private sector counteparts get a pay cut or loose their jobs, his own staff gets pay raises (and some are stuffed into state agencies so they can do their mischief without any knowledge of the business they are in), and meanwhile the Guv allegedly (I will believe it when I see it) threatens to cut mental health and all sorts of services for those most in need. Quinn is a total disgrace (no leadership ability whatsoever). Oh yeah, I used to be in his camp…no closet Republican here.


  45. - ILPundit - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    VanillaMan–

    Let me try to make this a little more simple:

    Right now, the votes don’t exist in the General Assembly to either 1) raise taxes, 2) borrow money, or 3) make budget cuts. The reason that the votes don’t exist for any of those things is because the general public — in every opinion poll — don’t support ANY of those steps. The public wants the problem solved, but they oppose all the potential paths to a solution

    In other words, our political system is working perfectly. The General Assembly and the Governor are accurately representing the will of the people. That’s not an indictment of the system, it’s a statement about how generally un-serious we are as a citizenry.

    The bottom line is we get the elected officials we deserve. We live in an era where the general population is more serious about where LeBron James will play basketball next year or whether Lindsay Lohan is going to jail (or in this case: a sexy sounding scandal about raises that amount to small drops of tears in an ocean of budget expenses) than they are about actually confronting the realities of a difficult budget crisis.

    These are serious times, unfortunately, our citizenry does not, at present, seem to have the maturity to confront the challenges. Until they do, our elected officials will suck — because THAT is the system of government we have.


  46. - Loop Lady - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    Anonymous: I am on lunch telling you I am not constantly on this blog and for you to get a life…I work for the state and it is an inherently political job, therefore, I read this blog at work/at home…I am sure everyone in the private sector uses their PC for only work related use…yeah right…


  47. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    - ILPundit,

    You are generally correct in your analysis, and I agree in principle that legislators should try to represent their constituent’s wishes. There is a big however that also needs to be considered. Executive branch people are being elected to provide more than representation. They are being elected to LEAD.

    The general problems you listed are all true, but a real leader would be able to sway opinion. Look at Gov. Christie in NJ who has managed to line up public opinion for his policies in a state where the troubles are similar to ours, and with a Democrat legislature to boot.

    What we have in this election cycle is a dearth of leadership.


  48. - anon - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    To ILPundit and Responsa regarding public service administrators being unionized –

    State employees who never dreamed of joining the union (many, including myself and a number of my colleagues, because they know how union rules on overtime, seniority, etc. would cause problems for the state) have been signing up in waves because of the way Blago treated them during the “good” times(decreased staff with pay cuts followed by freezes followed by minimal, random increases) vs. how AFSCME made out in contract negotiations. When Quinn again froze pay and imposed furlough days last year, a new bunch of employees petitioned to join the union, then another round signed up when he settled the layoff litigation with no layoffs or furloughs, and only deferred pay raises. Now that the story on Quinn’s giving pay increases to his staff has broken, look for another round of petitions, if there is anyone left who could plausibly qualify for collective bargaining and hasn’t filed. And the blame lies squarely with Quinn and Blago.

    For what it’s worth, I’m on lunch break right now.


  49. - bigRob - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    Sen. Jacobs hit the nail on the head! We taxpayers are easily lead. Case in point, we taxpayers sit silent while Illinois rackes up a $13 BILLION DEBIT and now we get our panties in a knot over 43 pay raises. Duhhhhhhh! Talk about stupid!


  50. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:37 pm:

    The way I understand it, the increase in pay for Vaught accompanied his promotion to Director of Management and Budget. Is he just supposed to take that job for the prestige of it or what?


  51. - Vole - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 12:46 pm:

    Big Rob: OK, my panties were in a knot already — about the $13 billion debt and our publicly elected leaders’ refusal to deal with the problem. Now Quinn, with his selective pay raises, has pulled them over my head. He just added insult to injury.

    Quinn offended us. He needs to learn that the citizens are his constituency, not his office staff and not the state employees and the union. A real accounting may happen this fall.


  52. - HolyCatz - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 1:00 pm:

    Well said, Vole.

    It boggles my mind how the peasant class just can’t come to grips with the way government works! They just don’t grasp how puny their concerns are in relation to the big “picture”, or more appropriately, the big “scheme.”

    They get upset about things like pay raises when they are being told they need to ante up more money because the state has none; or the fact that criminals happened to get released early by accident; or that parolees got misplaced because of a computer glitch . . .

    These ingrates just don’t know when government is trying to help them out, doing them a favor, giving them a hand up, asking them to lunch and then giving them the privilege of picking up the check!

    How dare they question that which their uninformed noodles cannot begin to fathom!


  53. - downstater - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 1:13 pm:

    It is obvious to me by reading these blogs that many Quinn staffers are trying to justify the hefty raises. GIVE IT UP! You can’t fix STUPID and Quinn’s action was a stupid move in these tough times for Illinois cititzens. It wouldn’t surpise me that Cohen wins the election. Geeezzzzz!


  54. - cassandra - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 1:24 pm:

    Whenever the bargaining unit gets a raise, there is upward pressure on non-union raises higher in the bureacracy. Otherwise, you get salary compression.

    In addition, as Ill Pundit points out and as I’ve been mentioning for months, when the PSA’s joined the bargaining unit courtesy of our Blago, many of them got huge extra raises as part of the equalization process. raises negotiated, I would note, not by gremlins but by CMS, a very large state agency full of very well paid state employees who are supposed to be working for the citezenry as a whole. Judging by their recent interactions with AFSCME, however, it appears that their sympathies lie with AFSCME, perhaps because so many of them are not represented by same.

    Anyway, given all these raises up and down the hierarchy, maybe salary compression woes were affecting our Pat, given those rising salaries throughout the bureaucracy. After all, it’s not his money he’s doling out, a factor which might make private sector “deciders” less likely to raise salaries in the middle of a recession. In the parallel universe of government employment, however, all the pots are full of ever bigger chickens, courtesy of the rest of us. Our Pat, a very longterm state employee, seems very happy with that.


  55. - cassandra - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 1:26 pm:

    Sorry, I mean perhaps because so many of them are represented by same.


  56. - chicago 7 - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 1:33 pm:

    The political hacks who Blago and Quinn brought into GOMB give themselves raises, and they have the gall to tell mid-level managers who haven’t received raises in years that there’s no money. Quinn and his people are no better than Blago and his people. And in many instances, they’re the same people.

    committed public servants

    eople who run GOMB give themselves raises, but say ‘no’


  57. - really?? - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 2:53 pm:

    @ loop lady-at HFS there is a written policy prohibtted use of the work PC for personal use like commenting on this blog. This is enforced on a regular basis. So if you think its ok just cause everyone else does it anyhow…you must be on Blago’s defense team, too because he claims he was just doing what everyone else does too. LOL

    on point-has Quinn forgotten that a good part of politics is perception? the raises were a bad idea.


  58. - Skeeter - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 2:58 pm:

    Apparently the only people who think they are entitled to raises right now are union construction workers and Quinn staffers.

    The fact that the dollars really don’t amount to anything is besides the point. Perception on this matters a lot. Between this and prisoner release, the only possible reason to vote for Quinn is “Brady is a right wing extemist.” Any argument that Quinn deserves a full term on the merits is laughable. He’s tone deaf to what the state is facing. He doesn’t have a clue. But his opponent might be even worse.


  59. - Vole - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 3:40 pm:

    “his opponent might be even worse”

    It fits our future of having to choose among increasingly bad options. This bad option route is cascading. Bad choices beget more bad options. The Illini are getting their revenge. Even the corn is having a sick year.


  60. - D.P. Gumby - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 3:47 pm:

    GOP so stupid…if they hadn’t nominated Brady, Quinn would be such dead meat. Now, as was said earlier, any vote for Quinn is just an anti-Brady vote. If only Whitney had a chance! This pay raise is just another example of Quinn’s wacky approach to governing and lack of concept of campaigning.


  61. - Sueann - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 4:56 pm:

    I hope all of you that are on break are not using Government computers to be here. My employer strictly prohibits company computers to be used on non business related websites. Oh well…


  62. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 5:27 pm:

    I would rather have a Governor who hires honest people and pays them what they are worth and actually cuts his budgets. What would you like him to do-hire more-less competant people and not cut his budget? If he truly is getting more done with less and better employees what’s the problem.

    I’ll take this over Daley’s furlough days which keep the payroll loaded and the tax payers on the hook for pensions and healthcare. Obviously, the city doesn’t need 1/12th of the workforce since everyone has to take a month off-so why not keep the good people and cut the hacks.


  63. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 6:14 pm:

    Loop Lady–I wish I had as long of lunches as you!

    When I hear state employees say they are “on their break,” I always think of an SJR piece back in the early 90s when a reporter went to someone’s office to buy campaign fundraiser tickets…of course the man offered them then when confronted he said he was on his break, pointing to the coffee cup on his desk. (Before the “ethics reform” law was passed…)


  64. - Idot Pro - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 7:22 pm:

    Overtime…Overtime…..IDOT emergency traffic patrol…..drivers makin $$$$$$$100K!!!!!! No checks & balance here.


  65. - chi-town - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 7:29 pm:

    quinn claims he reduced headcount in govs office, but how many were shipped out to agencies to be babysitters for the election. consider idoc, gladys taylor was person in govs office who got a raise,then was made asst director at idoc most likely with a pay raises. there have been several from the govs office moved to idoc. its a shell game with no real staff reduction and only pay increases.


  66. - In the Sticks - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 8:00 pm:

    The governor’s Director of Workforce Diversity still receives $50,000 of his salary from CDB - more votes for the Governor.


  67. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 8:22 pm:

    I would love to have a conversation sometime with you, Cassandra. You seem to care a lot and know a lot, but many of the facts you cite are way out of line with my experience in the last 15 years as an SPSA.

    Since Blagojevich came to town, we’ve had four years of no raises, two years with small raises, and now two FY’s of furloughs amounting to 4.5% pay cuts.

    You are right that some of the PSAs now in the union got very large, indefensible pay increases. Many of them now earn far more than their supervisors. If that’s what you mean by salary compression, then it’s been achieved.


  68. - Park - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 8:26 pm:

    Funny how the CC dems who’ve pretty much ruined things keep trying to convince themselves that any R, especially any R not from the Chicago area, must be totally incompetent and dangerous. Funny stuff considerin’.

    I don’t know Brady, but I’m willing to try someone who has actually cashed paychecks not written by Dan Hynes, or the federal equivilant. Whatever.

    I really had hopes for old PQ….met him at some Du Page Cty. reform meetings (i.e. the anti-Pate Phillips Republican reformers). But he is constitutionally unable to keep from doing dumb things. This is nothing. DOC screwups are nothing. I really believe that he will do something so stupid between October 15th and the election as to make these mistakes seem like nothing. It’s just his karma.


  69. - justsickofit - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 8:29 pm:

    I will predict that if Quinn loses, this will be the issue that ultimately decides it. Every good campaign sticks to three issues and hammers them. Hammer this one, and there is real trouble. No excuses or justifications can take away how this is sticking with voters. One would have to be tone deaf not to understand this, or too far removed from the grassroots.


  70. - NRA associate - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 8:36 pm:

    Quinn’s staff got pay raises and I am still waiting for hundreds of $$ since April and may have to file time consuming back pay paperwork. They can’t pay regular state employees their basic pay, but can give raises to the undeserving hacks and blago holdovers….I see no light at the end of the tunnel. It will never get better because all politicians are so self serving.


  71. - Emily Booth - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 9:08 pm:

    What drove MC staff to AFSCME was Blago’s 4 years of no raises. This was the management decision that led to practically all MC staff being in the bargaining unit. A very strategic decision on the part of Blago.


  72. - Skirmisher - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 9:15 pm:

    This latest example of Quinn’s incompetence finally pushed me over the edge. I was so repelled by Brady’s complete inability to grasp the reality of our financial mess that I was prepared to hold my nose and vote for Quinn. Happily, he demonstrated once again that he is completely incompetent, and I would rather take a chance that Brady can awaken to reality than that Quinn will ever develop the backbone and capability to do what is right. However much he may have felt these people deserved these raises, he was an absolute fool to give them, and no one that stupid deserves to stay in office.


  73. - JaySepshey - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 9:22 pm:

    So let’s review. Do gooders and right-wing nuts prefer Quinn wait until after election to reward staff with pay-raises? People say they don’t want “politics as usual”, but here taxpayers are begging for more of the same.

    Brady is selling “crap” to anyone who is interested, sSo if you support cutting government and not raising taxes until well after election — Brady is your boy!


  74. - Festus Hagen - Tuesday, Jul 13, 10 @ 8:40 am:

    Pat Quinn knows that he is about to be voted out of office. What better time to show the people that you love and who stood by you “how much they matter to you”. I guess that Governor Quinn could have “done it with flowers” but flowers don’t pay your friends monthly bills.


  75. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jul 13, 10 @ 9:29 am:

    - JaySepshey - Monday, Jul 12, 10 @ 9:22 pm:

    “So let’s review. Do gooders and right-wing nuts prefer Quinn wait until after election to reward staff with pay-raises?”

    Perhaps the “do-gooders” want Quinn to do some good, and the liberals IN THIS THREAD speaking out against the raise are nuts too?


  76. - Concerned Voter - Tuesday, Jul 13, 10 @ 5:10 pm:

    Simply, very well put Rich.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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