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After vetoing their salaries, Quinn expands duties of regional superintendents

Friday, Aug 26, 2011

* A bill signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday expands the duties of regional superintendents of schools. Yes, the same regional superintendents who haven’t been paid since the end of June because Quinn vetoed their salaries out of the state budget.

I kid you not.

SB 2170 takes county boards out of the equation when voters approve a sales tax increase for school construction. Up until now, the law gave county boards the option of imposing the sales tax even if voters approved it, and gave county boards the right to reject putting the questions onto the ballot.

The bill also does this

For all regular elections held on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly, the regional superintendent of schools for the county must, upon receipt of a resolution or resolutions of school district boards that represent more than 50% of the student enrollment within the county, certify the question to the proper election authority for submission to the electors of the county at the next regular election at which the question lawfully may be submitted to the electors, all in accordance with the Election Code. [Emphasis added.]

Sheesh. This summer has been a comedy of errors.

To be fair, Gov. Quinn hasn’t said that he wants to completely get rid of the regional offices of education. He’s said that locals ought to pay for them if they want them. But it is surely salting the wound by expanding their duties while they’re not getting paid.

* Meanwhile, Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt will decide at noon today what he will do about a lawsuit by the regional superintendents

A Sangamon County judge said Thursday that he’s aghast at the hardship caused by Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to cancel salaries for the state’s regional school superintendents.

But Circuit Judge John Schmidt also questioned the school officials’ attorney closely Thursday about whether the courts have the authority to interfere with the executive branch of government.

Schmidt said he’ll announce his decision in the case at noon today.

“There are no easy answers, and this case involves significant ramifications of constitutional law for the courts, the executive and the legislative branches,” Schmidt said after hearing arguments in court.


Terence Corrigan, an assistant attorney general representing the state, said courts have previously ruled that payments cannot be made without an appropriation.

“The issue is, ‘Can a court order payment without an appropriation?’ ” Corrigan said.

Schmidt asked if the governor could then just do away with an office created by state law by refusing to fund it.

Quoting a previous court opinion, Corrigan said, “because power can be abused doesn’t mean power doesn’t exist.”

Good question

Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt used the raspberry to punctuate a question about his power to order Gov. Pat Quinn to spend state money.

“What if I issue an order, and the governor says, ‘Plfftt’?,” Schmidt pondered in court Thursday.

Check back at noon for Schmidt’s decision.

* In related news, one regional superintendent is calling it quits

St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Brad Harriman said he plans to retire because of the state budget standoff that has left his position unfunded.

“This isn’t the way I wanted things to end,” Harriman said, “but because of circumstances, this is my best option.” […]

Harriman, 57, said he doesn’t see a quick end to the standoff between state lawmakers in favor of restoring the money — which they voted to approve — or the governor who vetoed them. And he doesn’t think any change in the situation would change his mind.

“Even if the funding is restored, frankly I don’t trust the governor,” Harriman said. “And I trust his advisors even less.”

Considering all that’s happened, I can’t blame him for thinking that way.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - One of the 35 - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 10:17 am:

    How can PQ possibly rationalize this one?????

  2. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    –“What if I issue an order, and the governor says, ‘Plfftt’?,” Schmidt pondered in court Thursday.–

    That’s the eternal Constitutional vexation. A judge rules on law, but the executive is charged with enforcing.

    But what about when a judge rules against the executive?

    When Nixon defied Judge Sirica’s orders to turn over the tapes, it made it’s way to the Supremes. If you read “The Brethren,” Brennan and Stewart were adamant they had to have a unanimous decision to turn over the tapes — and they were scared to death of the long-term consequences if Nixon defied them.

  3. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    Superintendants lost in course. Not a fun day in toyland.

  4. - Cassiopeia - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 10:39 am:

    Sometimes the continued incompetence of the governor and his staff leaves one speechless.

  5. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 10:39 am:

    That’s supposed to be “lost in court”

  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 10:46 am:

    The Regional Superintendents are being treated like the 17 year-old kid who is working minimum wage and comes in to work, on time, and the boss pulls them in the office and says…

    “I want you to work today, but realize I am not going to pay you. Wait, there’s more. Here is a list of the NEW duties I want you to do today. Remember, I am not going to pay you, AND you need to do your job, AND even though I don’t feel the need to pay you for the work you usually do, I am going to have you do even MORE work to NOT pay you. Now, get out.”

    WHO would work under those work rules?????

    If my son came home and told me of a conversation he had with his boss that was like the one I typed above, I would be more mad at him for staying and doing all that work, for nothing!

    What is Pat thinking?

  7. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 10:53 am:

    Here’s a history lesson: President Andrew Jackson was alleged to have said to Supreme Court Justice John Marshall after an unfavorable ruling on Native American rights: “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!” The real quote and issue was actually more complicated than that, but it was a memorable quote.

  8. - Poilitical Junkie - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    I am by no means agreeing with the governor, but these superintendents are very overpaid and he is not saying that they arent going to get paid anymore he is just saying that the state will not pay them anymore, having said that quite a low blow to give them more duties, but these superintendents can simply say if you arent the one paying us and the districts are then we dont have to do the duties that you have laid out for us

  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    Let’s move the court ruling discussion here…

  10. - soccermom - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 11:11 am:

    Do all of the supts get paid the same amount? (And yeah, Rich, I have the Google. But I’m guessing someone here knows for sure.)

  11. - JustMe - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 12:29 pm:

    Tune in next week, when you’ll hear the retirement board telling Harriman his pension is based in part on the $0 salary he received for however many months he works before he retires.

  12. - Nice kid - Friday, Aug 26, 11 @ 5:01 pm:

    This democrat thinks PQ is out to show everyone he is inept.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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