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AFSCME national prez: “It’s time to make them pay”

Monday, Feb 11, 2013

* AFSCME International President Lee Saunders lit into Gov. Pat Quinn today during a speech to the AFSCME legislative conference in DC

I am sick and tired of the fair-weather Democrats. They date us, take us to the prom, marry us, and then divorce us right after the honeymoon. I am sick and tired of the so-called friends who commend us when they’re running for election, but condemn us after they’ve won. I am sick and tired of the politicians who stand with us behind closed doors, but kick us to the curb in front of the cameras. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit and we’re not gonna take it anymore.

Many of you know some of the people I’m talking about. Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia. Governor Pat Quinn in Illinois. We’ve come to expect union-busting, anti-worker tactics from ultra-conservatives like Scott Walker and John Kasich. But now, everybody’s on the bandwagon.

Look at Nutter. AFSCME members in Philadelphia haven’t had a contract in four years, and Sister Baylor knows it. What does the mayor do? He goes to the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court to get a legal decision that would let him shove his contract down our throats. He’s no different from Governor Snyder in Michigan, who went to his state’s Supreme Court to get legal cover for cutting school employees’ pay. Different political parties, same political games.

Look at Governor Quinn. He has waged a relentless war on state employees – slashing pensions, driving down incomes and wiping out jobs. Last year he took the unprecedented step of terminating our contract. He is the first and only Illinois governor, Republican or Democrat, to take such a blatantly aggressive action.

I have had enough of these turncoats, and it’s time to make them pay.

Ouch.

…Adding… From the governor’s office

“Bellicose rhetoric is not going to address Illinois’ financial challenges,” Anderson added in an emailed statement. “The governor respects the collective bargaining process and the right to organize. He’s been a lifelong ally of the labor community, leading the state’s largest capital construction program in history to put thousands of workers back on the job. He has long championed increasing the minimum wage and protecting workers’ rights.

“Governor Quinn inherited massive financial challenges from decades of mismanagement by previous governors and legislatures. He did not create these challenges, but he is committed to addressing them,” the statement read. “In these difficult economic times, trade unions have made concessions. Auto unions have made concessions. And the union of government employees will have to understand the importance of making concessions to acknowledge the fact that the current path of credit downgrades and debt is unsustainable.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


57 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    Saunders was preaching to the choir in friendly confines, but it sounds like he meant it.

    The proof will be if we see lots of national level involvement in the local dispute.


  2. - slow down - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:46 pm:

    How’s he going to make the “turncoats” pay? By electing the likes of Bill Brady as Gov?


  3. - Secret Square - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    “How’s he going to make the ‘turncoats’ pay? By electing the likes of Bill Brady as Gov?”

    More likely, by simply withholding ANY endorsements or campaign contributions in races that pit “turncoat” Dems against fiscally conservative Republicans. If I remember correctly AFSCME didn’t endorse either Blago or Topinka in 2006. Should Quinn survive a 2014 primary challenge and end up on the general election ballot, I would expect AFSCME to endorse “none of the above.”


  4. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    A resolution was introduced in AFSCME’s 2011 Illinois convention, to basically stop supporting Democrats. The resolution was voted down, because union members are not single-issue voters, and the Democrats support other things we like. I am also not a single-issue voter. When I look at how other parties beside the GOP and Democrats perform in the polls, I am very reluctant to support them. Example: Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party barely got more votes in Florida than Roseanne Barr, and she got around 1% of the total vote. If I vote for the other parties, I get nothing, but if I vote for Democrats, I get something once in a while.


  5. - Downstater - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    Blah! Blah? Blah! Does anyone really believe this guy or the union pac will support anyone other than democrats who say they will support the unions? Please.
    Millions of workers in the private sector wish they had half the pay and benefits these union folks have. And new polling shows most people think private sector workers work harder for less money.


  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:58 pm:

    Where you gonna go?


  7. - cassandra - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 12:58 pm:

    Driving down income? How’s that. I thought the Blago/Quinn years were the gravy years for Illinois state employees, with rich contracts both times and large salary increase over both contracts.

    Wiping out jobs? They should be wiping out obsolete jobs, and there are still many of those in state government, especially in middle-management/administrative classifications. Hello. It’s the 21st century, Technology is changing everything. We don’t need hundreds of paper pushers writing reports and compiling figures in the back room. The important thing is there have been very real few layoffs under Blago/Quinn, although some employees may have been shifted to other positions (unions like to call those “layoffs” too). And few if any proposed. These are still lifetime jobs for most who choose to stay in them.

    It’s all political rhetoric, of course, probably a warning to those Democrats planning to get into the governor’s race, I mean, the Democratic primary. But the Dems already knew that.


  8. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    “Millions of workers in the private sector wish they had half the pay and benefits these union folks have.”

    And they don’t earn half of what union members earn because?


  9. - Responsa - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    ==But now, everybody’s on the bandwagon.==

    As polls increasingly show that national acceptance of gay marriage has become more prevalent across geography– and is smoothly incorporating into society and to an increasingly large degree into both sides of the political spectrum and age groups –people nod their heads say “well it’s the arc of history, society has grown and changed and moved on. It was inevitable and it’s about time”

    Lee Saunders and his union members might want to look at their strike votes and union pension issues and demands through a somewhat similar lens of “societal change” and arc of history. Society is changing in many ways. Work is changing. Many millions are unemployed and/or no longer have any pensions or top notch benefits through their employment. Unions simply do not pack the emotional punch in America they once did. Membership is down, citizens have less tolerance for strikes by well employed people (especially what they perceive as white collar strikes). The exploding pension crisis coupled with the threat of bankrupt states and weary taxpayers demand that both Democratic and Republican politicians look at the big picture. When they do, it’s not betrayal. It’s common sense. It’s recognizing reality. It’s about time.


  10. - Algonquin J. Calhoun - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    Cassandra avers - “Wiping out jobs? They should be wiping out obsolete jobs, and there are still many of those in state government, especially in middle-management/administrative classifications. Hello. It’s the 21st century, Technology is changing everything. We don’t need hundreds of paper pushers writing reports and compiling figures in the back room.”

    Must be nice to know everything, Cassandra, in order to make obviously ill-informed statements like that. I’m a middle manager (took a vacation day today and am writing from home), whose staff has gone down over 30% over the last four years, and whose non-paper pushing work has increased. Who are these “hundreds” you’re talking about? What are they not doing? My work hasn’t “gone away” in the 21st Century - far from it.


  11. - StayFree75 - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:23 pm:

    Yes I’m sure there are millions of accountants out there who wish they made the $61K this CPA makes with the State of Illinois after five years on the job with previous private industry experience.


  12. - Politics 101 - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    Governor Thompson and Governor Edgar were both much better to unions than Gov Quin. If the republicans get smart and nominate a moderate…. That’s where we will go. If not… Sit on our hands because a conservative republican would be better that an anti state worker democrat. Then maybe the state house and senate would become more like the Illinois President…. Instead of acting like an artificial damm and trying to block the right in and keeping the “state worker left ” prisoner. … Because they have no where else to go. To reiterate…. A republican gover will bust this wall down and once again everyone will go to their corners.


  13. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    @cassandra:

    Maybe someday you will get that state employees don’t just sit around doing nothing all day. Are there some bad apples? Sure. But most are doing the jobs of 2 or 3 people.

    As for your technology claims, you would be right if the state actually invested in technology. Until they do your argument has no merit.

    I’m frankly sick and tired of people making it their sport to bash state employees. I know it’s popular but it is really getting old. Either put up and do the job of a state employee and see how “easy” it is, or shut up.


  14. - Downstater - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    =And they don’t earn half of what union members earn because?=
    If they earned the same amount, with benefits, most of they products they make or services they provide would be priced out of the market and the company would go broke. Most companies don’t have the luxury to pass along a 67% increase in price and expect to remain competitive!


  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:25 pm:

    === Does anyone really believe this guy or the union pac will support anyone other than democrats who say they will support the unions? Please.===

    AFSCME went neutral in 2006. Try taking a breath before posting here again. Thanks.


  16. - AFSCME Refugee - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    Ever wonder why AFSCME doesn’t have a strike fund? Probably because they used it all on campaign cash.

    Just sayin’


  17. - StayFree75 - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    Yes Demoralized, I have multiple performance evaluations that state I am doing the job duties “previously handled by at least two others.”


  18. - Anon - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    ==And they don’t earn half of what union members earn because?==

    Exactly. Google corporate profits vs. wages. Guess which one radically outpaced the other. And then look at union membership in the private sector.

    You will see why union members earn what they earn…because they fought for it and didn’t give up the union.


  19. - So. ILL - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    There is no money. I mean, how does he argue with that? Seems AFSCME bosses just don’t want to face the reality that there is no money to pay for their demands. I am sure its frustrating, but there is no money. So, get the net here man…no money means no money. Even the smallest minds among us understand that 0 minus 96 billion is negative 96 billion right? What am I missing? I wish there was more money too, but there is none.


  20. - Angry Chicagoan - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    If AFSCME wishes to go it alone, it will be to the detriment of working people everywhere. Unfortunately, they’re doubling down on an inflexible position without building broader support for that position. That’s a recipe for disaster, and evidence that AFSCME’s leadership is not politically savvy.


  21. - cassandra - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    I didn’t say state employees doing administrative support sit around doing nothing all day. I’m sure most have tasks to perform and they perform them. The question is, are those jobs needed and, if they are, could they be done more effectively and more cheaply by using computers and other technology.

    This is hardly a novel thought. There have been numerous press reports in recent years about the loss of not just factory but also administrative/clerical/middle management jobs to automation.


  22. - Norseman - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    “Bellicose rhetoric” - this Governor works night and day on his bellicose rhetoric.


  23. - Algonquin J. Calhoun - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    Cassandra states: “There have been numerous press reports in recent years about the loss of not just factory but also administrative/clerical/middle management jobs to automation.”

    Fine - where are your *specific* examples of the State of Illinois paper-pushers that could/should be replaced by technology? Can you name 3? 2? any?

    All too often blithe, ill-informed statements are made about “them” (in this case, the supposed legions of not-needed middle managers) without *any* hard facts to back them up. Instead, generalized, unsupported conclusions revealing only the commentator’s bias are offered up and presented to be intelligent discourse.


  24. - Adam Smith - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    It is time more independent voters took a hard look at statements like this.

    It is AFSCME vs. taxpayers, plain and simple.

    AFSCME will not give in any meaningful way, demanding only more tax dollars be squeezed out of the public to fund more government jobs and benefits.

    There is no corrolation at all between rich pensions, lifetime job protection and the other outrageously expensive perks of state jobs and the quality of service we receive.

    Individual state workers are fine people, by and large, just like other people trying to make a living. But their union leaders are on a myopic mission to grab only more and more resources from a sputtering economy. The union bosses don’t care at all about the economy, private sector jobs, or anything other than their single-minded belief that they have somehow earned a ‘right’ to have as much of the public’s money as they see fit.


  25. - Jeeper - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:00 pm:

    If Quinn and the Democrats in the Legislature are so concerned with the current fiscal mess WHY did they just authorize over $1B in NEW spending rather than pay backlogged bills?

    Do they have the money or not?

    If they do NOT have that cash in hand, authorizing new spending is folly at beat and criminal at worst. BUT, they want to buy some votes in the next election.

    If they DO have the money, they should be paying SOME of the backlogged bills.

    Oh… wait… The new spending will buy more votes than paying the bills would; I understand, now.

    Protecting their power is more important gthan fixing the mess.


  26. - StayFree75 - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    @ Adam Smith:

    “AFSCME will not give in any meaningful way”

    AFSCME saved the State $400 million by voluntarily agreeing to defer contractually promised raises.


  27. - geronimo - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    =trade unions and auto unions made concessions=

    Is the state of Illinois in the business of producing products for profit? Did the companies alluded to in that statement take their employees’ retirement savings and blow it to the wind and then say—its your fault we don’t have your money. This is not a fair comparison and it doesn’t wash.


  28. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    –Did the companies alluded to in that statement take their employees’ retirement savings and blow it to the wind and then say—its your fault we don’t have your money.–

    GM and Chrysler wanted to, but didn’t get the chance.

    Plenty of other corporations have raided their pension funds and cleansed themselves of liability in bankruptcy court. The state does not have that option.


  29. - Nickypiii - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    Nationwide compensation for all workers have declined in the last 20 years. This is a direct correlation to the decline in union membership during the same time period. Dividing workers by demonizing current union members is a technique used by “job creators” i.e. Republicans. If you wish you had the salaries/benefits of union workers…ORGANIZE and get union support of your plight. Unions are the only way workers can improve the conditions they toil under. STOP BEING JEALOUS AND GET ORGANIZED.


  30. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    @cassandra:

    I’ll make the point again. You can’t move to a reliance on technology if you don’t invest in it in the first place.

    Let me give you one example - the lack of a uniform financial system. There are multiple systems operating statewide. There is no uniform way of doing things from one agency to the next. Not to mention that the system some use is as old as dirt. It’s very labor intensive and requires knowledge that can only be gained by looking at the writings on cave walls from the days of cavemen. Additionally, there is still a reliance on a lot of paper. Original signatures are required on a lot of things. Electronic signatures or scanning of documents simply is not accepted. It would take tens of millions of dollars and many, many years to fix just this one technology issue. Sure, it may save staff time in the future but you better be willing to fork over some big bucks up front. And therin lies the conundrum. Who has tens of millions of dollars sitting around to do this. Multiply this a hundred times over statewide for other technology issues and you can see the scope of the problem and it will give you an indication that, while you may have a legitimate point, the implementation of your point is impossible.


  31. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:12 pm:

    ===AFSCME saved the State $400 million by voluntarily agreeing to defer contractually promised raises.==

    “Defer” does not mean “save.” It means “put off until the near future.”


  32. - Skeeter - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    “And they don’t earn half of what union members earn because?”

    Because companies need to generate enough revenue to pay them. Companies have CEOs who have to show a profit to stay employed. Companies just can’t raise taxes to support give-aways.

    I tend to vote for Dems and to support unions, but supporting unions also means supporting fair negotiating. If they don’t want to work for what the state can pay, let them walk. And if they do walk, bring in scabs as permanent replacements.

    If conditions are so horrible, nobody will take the jobs. But I suspect that people will be lining up.

    Right now though, the public unions are enough to make me vote for the GOP.


  33. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    - Yes I’m sure there are millions of accountants out there who wish they made the $61K this CPA makes with the State of Illinois after five years on the job with previous private industry experience. -

    If you can do so much better outside of state government, why stay? It’s not as if CPAs are having the worst time of it in the private sector.

    Saunders seems pretty misinformed. Quinn hasn’t slashed any pensions, driven down any wages, or wiped out jobs. He also didn’t terminate a contract, he just didn’t extend the expiration date that had been extended three times already.

    I’m really unclear on where AFSCME is looking to get sympathy.


  34. - Wumpus - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    Yeah, run a third prty person and teach them a lesson. I wish other minorities would do the same thing. A little pain now to show them that you mean business.


  35. - StayFree75 - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    STL, the reason to stay is the pension, and if pensions are changed for Tier 1 employees, the mass exodus from State government of professionals like me will only increase until only the bottom of the barrel is left to perform State work.


  36. - Original Rambler - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    It would be amusing to see AFSCME call a strike to see how many participate.


  37. - 47Chief - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    - Adam Smith - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    It is time more independent voters took a hard look at statements like this.

    It is AFSCME vs. taxpayers, plain and simple. -

    Funny, I thought AFSCME members were taxpayers, too.

    And while they may not have been many layoffs over the past 10 years or so, I believe that the headcount has had a substantial drop.


  38. - just asking - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    shouldn’t they engage in a reality check to try and figure out why both parties treat them so poorly?


  39. - cassandra - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    Demoralized,

    I get that it’s expensive initially but how did the state get to the level of technology it currently has. After all, it’s not a totally paper system and computers already perform many functions in state government.

    Tens of millions actually isn’t much in a budget like Illinois, temporary budget problems (and they are temporary) notwithstanding.

    I don’t think this is a pro or con issue. We can’t hold it back. Examples abound. My ele school district just announced it’s moving to a paperless classroom. The work world those kids enter will probably be a lot more paperless than today.


  40. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:07 pm:

    - only the bottom of the barrel is left to perform State work. -

    That’s a nice thing to say about your AFSCME brethren.

    As a CPA, could you explain where the state could find the money to keep making the pension payments as currently scheduled? Are you comfortable with spending more on pensions than we do on education?

    I’m not saying the workers caused the problem, but what do you see as a solution?

    Tax increase? Not going to happen, no matter how sweet the rest of the state had it with low taxes, the GA is simply not going to pass a tax increase solely to pay for pensions.

    I think parts of Fortner’s plan, parts of the Nekritz-Biss plan, all should be included; but for the numbers to work, members are going to take some kind of hit.


  41. - tired of politics - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    Small Town Liberal
    Quinn has been trying to slash pensions in case you missed it.

    By Quinn choosing to ignore the contract and stiff state employees on their negotiated raises he is in effect “driving down wages”.

    Quinn has “wiped out jobs” by not filling critical positions. Front line staffing in the prison system would be one example.


  42. - Jeeper - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    Adam Smith: It is NOT AFSCME vs taxpayers.

    It IS state government vs taxpayers.

    Who has the power to raise your taxes then waste the money?

    Madigan and his sock puppets Cullerton and Quinn did EXACTLY that. AFSCME can agitate, but the Chicago Democrats have to actually DO it.

    Besides, I have to ask: did AFSCME members benefit from the recent tax increases? Perhaps a bit though I did not; my taxes went up but contractually promised pay raise was not honored.

    The bulk of the tax increase PLUS more went for new spending to buy votes for the next election.

    I retired because AFSCME’s “friends,” the Democrats, were making such loud noises about reducing the pension I paid into twice per month. I figured I should get out after 35 years and enjoy what I could before they took that, too.

    AFSCME, at least the local members, are NOT the enemy; that would be the Governor and the Legislature…


  43. - the Patriot - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    The problem for this posturing is you have to be willing to go all in with a Republican. The union won’t. Madigan knows it, Quinn knows it, and who ever runs as a democrat knows it. Your union would not endorse a republican to get rid of Blago.

    The other reality for the public sector union folks is they created the problem. For years they have negotiated contracts that put money “on the check” instead of on the pension. Member see their salaries going up so they love the union. It is now time to pay the piper. You let the state not make pension payments to your members for decades, now you want to blame the state. Blame yourself and the members who took the cash up front rather then demand the pensions be funded.


  44. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    tired - Quinn has been trying to push for a plan to fix the enormous pension debt. He’s also the first governor not to short the pension payments.

    As to the raises, the contract said “subject to appropriation”. Quinn proposed the funding in his budget, the GA refused to appropriate them. So take that one up with the legislators.

    Wiping out jobs is not the same as not filling positions, no matter how bad you want it to be. Also, I don’t recall any news about the governor not filling any critical positions, care to send me a link?


  45. - capncrunch - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:31 pm:

    “Did the companies alluded to in that statement take their employees’ retirement savings and blow it..”

    See Hostess Cupcake bankruptcy story.


  46. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:44 pm:

    ==You let the state not make pension payments to your members for decades, now you want to blame the state.==

    The union doesn’t appropriate any money. The General Assembly does. I’m not a fan of the union, but the union has no power to force the GA to make the required pension payments. The union didn’t negotiate raises in lieu of pension payments. The GA and past Governor’s failed to make those payments all on their own. Why you think the employees should be blamed is beyond me. But that’s always the easy thing for people to do. It’s in to blame state workers for all of the state’s ills.


  47. - capncrunch - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 3:56 pm:

    There have been many comments like the following in this blog in the past.

    “Tax increase? Not going to happen, no matter how sweet the rest of the state had it with low taxes, the GA is simply not going to pass a tax increase solely to pay for pensions.”

    I don’t understand how people can be so certain. The reason the State cannot go bankrupt is that it has the power to levy taxes. If the proposed pension reform legislation does not pass legal muster and a tax increase is “not gonna happen”, then what is the remedy for our fiscal problem? Will education and social spending be cut? The latter seems unlikely given the lot in Springfield.


  48. - Anon - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    Sorry to burst your bubble Small Town Liberal but the contract signed with AFSCME did not and will not ever be “subject to appropriation.” All other contracts with the state may have that language but this one didn’t and neither did any of the other labor contracts for the very reason that happened here recently. Good luck trying to find that language in there because AFSCME would never agree and sign a contract with that phrase in there.


  49. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 4:37 pm:

    @Anon:

    Any contract the state signs is effectively subject to appropriation. The Governor doesn’t allocate the funds, he only agrees to spend them. Just because something like this had never been done before doesn’t mean that it could never have theoretically happened. You can’t spend money that the GA doesn’t give you. And people can say there was money elsewhere in the budget, but they would be wrong in assuming that it could just be spent at a whim. The money has to be put in the right line items. That also take GA action.

    The reality is that no matter what people say there’s not an agreement that the state has with anybody, with the exception of the moral obligation the state has on bonds, that isn’t subject to appropriation.


  50. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 4:39 pm:

    @Anon:

    Also, the GA has made it pretty clear with their resolution on raises that they have no intention of funding any in a union contract right now (at least for the next fiscal year). So if I were AFSCME I wouldn’t count on any raises even if the next contract included them for next year. You might eventually be entitled to them but you won’t be getting them right away and you would only get them after a court fight (maybe).


  51. - Rusty618 - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 5:38 pm:

    @Demo, what about the Gov and GA own raises and COLAs. Did they make it into the budget this year?


  52. - Seriously Annoyed - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 5:49 pm:

    There are so many reasons why Illinois is in the financial state it’s in. I have a great example. As a state employee if you need a new office chair, you find a great deal at office max, so you send in the paperwork to order it. done, oh wait !!!! NO, you have to order it from Prison Industries,at a cost of $ 500.00. But, why ? Because that’s what the Governor’s purchasing policy is ! There is also a little known, but terrible arm of the state government, CMS ! What a waste. When you find out what work they actually do, let us know. Charging other state agencies for work done by someone else. There is no way around this red tape of B.S. purchasing policy endorsed by the governor. Even by those who are fiscally responsible !


  53. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 6:50 pm:

    While we’re at it let’s mention CMS awarding a bid for HVAC from a vendor 300 miles from the work site. The vendor then sub-contracts out to a closer vendor and the state ends up paying double. Oh and fleet and phone bills - gotta give CMS their 10% cut first.


  54. - Lost in the Weeds - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 7:24 pm:

    Demoralized @ 4:37 pm

    “with the exception of the moral obligation the state has on bonds, that isn’t subject to appropriation”

    What moral obligation?

    I guess I wonder what happened to contract law.

    Anyway agreeing to a no layoff agreement with the Union before an election kind of ties your hand when the appropriation is not enough to pay the pay increases.


  55. - Just Thinkin' - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 8:54 pm:

    To those AFSCME folks who blame only the past governors and legislators for shorting the pension fund: do you think the union’s leaders didn’t know it was happening? Of course they did, and they didn’t object. They had a basic responsibility to demand that the pension funds for their members be fully funded, and to rally the troops to support the effort. They didn’t do that, so they’re not entirely blameless.


  56. - steve schnorf - Monday, Feb 11, 13 @ 11:18 pm:

    You know, it’s bad enough to have to put up with duplicate programs, but expecting us to tolerate duplicitous programs is just too much to ask (I think the last time I saw that in a state government document was ‘78 or so, but I’ve probably missed a few.


  57. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 12, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    –”with the exception of the moral obligation the state has on bonds, that isn’t subject to appropriation”–

    Careful, you’re starting to take liberties with the language.

    There is a debt instrument known as a “moral obligation” bond. It is very different than General Obligation debt.

    Back when he was governor of New York, Rocky ran into a state legislature that wouldn’t let him issue more GO debt.

    His buddy, John Mitchell, the biggest swingin’ thing bond lawyer in lower Manhattan, came up with the concept of a moral obligation bond.

    Basically, it’s a revenue bond, say, issued to build university dormitories and backed by room and board fees. But to get a better rating, contract language is included that says the state has a “moral obligation” to service the debt if dedicated revenues fall short.

    That promise is neither truly moral, nor truly an obligation, but the rating agencies played ball with Rocky and Mitchell and they commenced to go to town with moral obligation bonds. As did many states and municipalities.

    Just another example of the absurdity of viewing rating agency judgements as anything other than political. Those boys will play ball, for a price.


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* "The Governor’s Axe"
* *** UPDATED x1 - Former aide says report coming *** Quinn shirked final constitutional duty
* Question of the day
* Umm... Huh?
* Unclear on the concept
* Rauner roundup
* Another possible Kirk foe emerges
* *** UPDATED x2 - ACLU responds *** Calm down
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
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        * Anti-bailout party the favorite as Greeks cast .....
        * Erickson: Rauner can't cut his way out of state.....
        * Day of reckoning?..
        * Tom Kacich: Plenty of reform bills already file.....
        * Rauner can't cut his way out of state's financi.....
        * Editorial: Chicago politicians need to visit Ce.....


        * Airlines cancel 85 flights at Chicago's O'Hare amid wet snow
        * Chicago's mayoral candidates address women's issues at forum
        * Chicago mayoral candidates discuss elected school board
        * Ex-Major League Baseball player Ted Lilly accused of fraud
        * 'Deadheads' ask to camp out during band's Chicago concerts
        * Logan County rejects wind farm plan
        * Authorities say 1 dead in suburban Chicago house fire
        * Proposed Illinois legislation would ban powdered alcohol
        * Banks remembered as ambassador of baseball and Chicago
        * Rose, Butler score 20 each as Bulls top Mavericks 102-98

        * Statehouse Insider: Gov. Rauner sounding a lot like primary candidate Rauner
        * Veterans voice opinions about future of Oak Ridge war memorial site
        * 85,000 temporary driver's licenses issued to immigrants
        * Proposed Illinois legislation would ban powdered alcohol
        * Quinn leaves office without writing final statement
        * AG Madigan blocks Lottery termination agreement
        * Number of Illinois households on food stamps still rising
        * Numbers of Illinois households on food stamps still rising
        * U of I president concerned about future of higher ed
        * Rauner previews 1st-year priorities: Cut taxes, Medicaid

        * 'Mr. Cub' Ernie Banks dies at 83
        * How CME is looking to buy its way into foreign markets
        * Need to furnish your new office? Look no further
        * Hospitals full of empty beds
        * This hospital system plans radical surgery to solve its vacancy problem


          * Woman hurt after car slams into bus stop, rolls over on Northwest Side
          * 4 cops injured after 2 squad cars collide in Little Village
          * 2 hurt in crash on Lake Shore Drive
          * Man fatally shot in Gary
          * 7 hurt in shootings Saturday
          * Man injured in shooting in Elgin
          * Police seize over $1 million worth of marijuana
          * No bombs on planes in Atlanta after threats, which prompt response by Chicago police
          * Mother, daughter charged with attacking school officials
          * Man charged with assaulting boy, 10


          * Study projects Illinois deficit growing to $14 billion by 2026
          * Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, 1st black player in team history, dies
          * M.E.R.C.Y. Celebrates 15 Years Amid Financial Challenge
          * Springfield Airport Will Make Another Attempt To Add Gambling
          * Potential Pension Case Holdup
          * Listen to State Week - January 23, 2015
          * Art Beat: Pirates, Local Tunes & Movies Galore
          * Speaker Madigan: How Can Illinois Prevent A Sandy Hook?
          * Frerichs Keeping Rutherford Investigation Under Wraps
          * Collecting On Line Sales Tax & A Springfield Manufacturer Expands On WUIS/SJR Business Report


          * Our Opinion: Vision should be a key theme in Springfield mayor's race
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Campaign contribution gets them talking in Ward 7
          * Angie Muhs: SJ-R, WMAY want to involve readers in Springfield primary
          * Andy Shaw: Settle in for a dramatic first act at the Illinois Capitol
          * Quote of the Day: Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015
          * Statehouse Insider: Gov. Rauner sounding a lot like primary candidate Rauner
          * Statehouse Insider: Gov. Rauner sounding a lot like primary candidate Rauner
          * Veterans voice opinions about future of Oak Ridge war memorial site
          * 85,000 temporary driver's licenses issued to immigrants
          * Proposed Illinois legislation would ban powdered alcohol


          * Employers get creative to find skilled workers
          * Idea to tax college savings plans draws fire
          * Storm system moving into Central Illinois; some snow expected
          * Crime blotter 1/26/15
          * SIC to offer virtual training for miners
          * Flick: Lucca, Beningo's ... Mother Murphy's
          * Neighborhood watch: Crimes of the week
          * Off the beat: Hotshots has a new metro-east location
          * Erickson: Rauner can't cut his way out of state's financial mess
          * Immigrant driver's licenses top 85,000


          * Former COD trustee: Breuder was offered $2 million buyout in 2009
          * Neighbors mourn woman killed in Barrington-area fire
          * Heroin recovery treatment 'a partnership, a collaboration,' counselors say
          * Families warm to ice carving demonstrations in downtown Wheaton
          * Man shot while walking along Elgin street

          * Rep. Schakowsky Introduces Bill to Impose ...
          * Rep. Jan Schakowsky Statement in Support o...
          * Rep. Jan Schakowsky Statement in Oppositio...
          * House votes to undo Obama immigration acti...
          * Rep. Schakowsky Introduces Bill to Establi...
          * Schakowsky Introduces the Public Option De...
          * Rep. Jan Schakowsky Statement on Vote Agai...
          * Rep. Jan Schakowsky Statement Against the ...
          * Renewed Voting Rights effort urged - San D...
          * Rep. Jan Schakowsky Statement on Martin Lu...

          * Feinstein, Durbin, Gillibrand Applaud New ......
          * GOP drops ‘civil rights and human rights’ ......
          * Obama Endorses Emanuel in Forthcoming Radi......
          * Senate Subcommittee Nixes ‘Civil Rights an......

          * Why are Republicans attempting to thread t......
          * 'Likud politicians instructed to emphasize......
          * Playing politics with climate change in th......
          * Ex-Obama aide says president not tough eno......

          * John Dillon: 2015: The more things change.
          * Sunday morning in Florida.
          * Mailer In the 6th Ward Aldermanic Race
          * State Lawmaker Proposes Red Light Camera Ban
          * We’ve moved!
          * In The Lyons Of Fire
          * BGA Backs New State Disclosure Effort
          * Budget Crisis Task Force Examines Illinois’ Debt Woes
          * To Cut Costs, Suburbs Eye Police Dept. Merger
          * State’s High Court Hears IG’s Case


          * Rauner announces “Turnaround Team” - Stellar team to help turn Illinois around
          * Commerce Department to Review Proposals for Enterprise Zones - Program Promotes Job Growth in Communities Across the State
          * Governor Rauner signs Executive Order for Minority and Veteran Empowerment
          * Governor Rauner Announces Second Round of Appointments
          * Representative Duckworth, US Army Iraq Veteran Honored With The Abraham Lincoln Veteran Champion Award




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