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Your chance to weigh in

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* I told you about this late Friday afternoon, but you didn’t get a chance to comment, so

The governor collected more than $70,000 in uncashed paychecks held since last summer by Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at his request in a move originally intended to show his commitment toward solving the state’s $100 billion pension crisis.

And in one other bit of end-of-the-week housekeeping, Quinn dropped his appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court in his dispute with House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, over whether he had the authority as governor to withhold legislators’ paychecks to drive a legislative bargain on pensions.

“We are moving forward. Illinois is moving forward,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    Pat Quinn’s fridge now has 20% more V8 in it.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    It was a red-meat, faux populist stunt. If not outright unconstitutional, certainly a violation of the spirit of separation of powers.

    Obviously, not immensely damaging to the national economy like the federal government shutdown, but undemocratic and dumb just the same.

    How about a one-and-done here?

  3. - SAP - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    I don’t think Governor Quinn wanted to risk a Supreme Court decision upholding the plain meaning of the Illinois Constitution.

  4. - walkinfool - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:22 am:

    It does not have to be counter to specific language in the Constitution, to be in fact unconstitutional. The concept of separation of powers is such a fundamental underpinning of our government, that it ought not be messed with.

    I hope no other governor jumps on this sorry idea.

  5. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    He did the right thing on both counts. He withheld his pay longer than anyone else’s. Whether he should have done it at all?? Most would sympathize and appreciate it, but consider it an abuse of power. I’d work up a legislative remedy to this and make sure it passes with a Super size veto-proof majority and put it to rest…forever.

  6. - Tommydanger - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    Only in PQ’s mind does sideways equal forward.

  7. - Howard The Duck - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    The state is moving backwards.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Pat Quinn has done a huge disservice to this whole fiasco Pat Quinn created.

    What is/was needed was for the Supremes to rule that this “ploy” was in clear violation of the Seperation of Powers and that using such a “ploy” was dorectly threatening the Illinois Constitution and will be rebuffed by the Court.

    Well, Pat Quinn, having “won” on Pension Reform can not have a “loss” on the Glorious Leader side of the equation, when Pat Quinn can slink away, knowing this “ploy” worked for the short-term, without any damage to Pat Quinn in the long-term, that a possible decision by the Supremes would have done.

    This is by far one of the most disappointing chapter of Governor Pat Quinn’s tenure as the Executive of the Illinois Government, and it makes Rod’s move seem childish, while never threatening the balance of the equal partners in such a way that Pat Quinn attempted to do.

    Very disappointed. A ruling was needed to stop this as an option in the future, and 2 of the GOP canidates vying for the Big Chair have even said they may try this in the future.

    Adults govern, Glorious Leaders dictate the rule of law, until it gets to the Courts which might rule against you.

    “Friday news drops - Pat Quinn owns that day.”

  9. - Anyone Remember? - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    I thought all employees had to be paid by direct deposit. (AFSCME agreed all new hires effective July 1, 2004 would be paid via direct deposit - Article XXXII, Section 15 2004 - 2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement.) Public Act 97-0348 mandates direct deposit of employee travel reimbursement and vendor payments. Or is the fact the Governor receives paper paychecks another example of the judicial and legislative branches and the constitutional officers being exempt from laws the rank and file have to obey?

  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    ===2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement.===

    So, um, you think the governor is included under the union contract? That’s rich.

  11. - Anyone Remember? - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:42 am:

    How about Public Act 97-0348? Section (b) says:
    “(b) All State payments for an employee’s payroll or an employee’s expense reimbursement must be made through direct deposit.” The exemptions at the end, (g), only exempts the legislative and judicial branches, not constitutional officers.

  12. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:42 am:

    By withdrawing his appeal to SCOIL, I wonder if the Governor thinks he’s putting the arrow back in the quiver to be used again when he thinks it convenient…problem is that pesky lower court ruling.

  13. - Anyone Remember? - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:43 am:


  14. - Wensicia - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:43 am:

    Kinda makes you wonder what he’ll pul next or would he be foolish enough to try this again?

  15. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    Need a legal opinion here. If the appeal is dropped, it would seem the ruling would stand as decided. If anyone else tried this little maneuver, wouldn’t that mean the precedent set would likely render an immediate decision? I’m sure it could be appealed again, but probably not without a stay requiring the Comptroller to issue the pay checks. I seem to remember her reason for cooperating at all was legally based. Now it would seem she (or anyone else) would have a firm decision to point to. Am I being too simplistic about this legal dudes?

  16. - Irish - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    So the Governor gets his checks. The GA already got theirs with interest. And the State Workers are still waiting for the rest of theirs. Even though a judge told the State to pay them.

  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    ===wouldn’t that mean the precedent set ===

    No precedent has been set because the case was heard at the lowest level.

  18. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:53 am:


  19. - Soccertease - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 10:55 am:

    I agree with OW about PQ being the king of Friday PM news drops. Wonder how much time and brainstorming went into that decision?

  20. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    This was all a big mistake by Quinn and he’s hoping everyone will forget about it. Which they no doubt will. His grandstanding urge sometimes gets him in trouble. This time he gets lucky.

  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    Amen Irish. Everybody gets full pay except those working for a living

  22. - Anon. - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    ==The concept of separation of powers is such a fundamental underpinning of our government, that it ought not be messed with.==

    Doesn’t anyone understand what “separation of powers” actually means? It means the legislature legislates, not the governor. It does not mean there are no “checks and balances,” which is also a hallmark of our constitutional form of government. One very important check on legislative power is the veto, which in Illinois and many other states includes the authority to veto line items. If not for the express constitutional prohibition against changing legislators’ pay in mid-term, what Governor Quinn did would be perfectly constitutional.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    ===If not for the express constitutional prohibition against changing legislators’ pay in mid-term, what Governor Quinn did would be perfectly constitutional.===

    “Yes …well, other than THAT, how was the play, Mrs. Lincioln?”

    It is/was, what it is/was, and rationalizing it favorably “if only” diminishes the very idea of what the Seperation of Powers is trying to stop, which is/was the active coercions of the Executive to deny the Legislative until a favorable response to what the Executive wanted was achieved.

    That is the crux of this, coersion. The pay checks were the instrument this time.

  24. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    ===I don’t think Governor Quinn wanted to risk a Supreme Court decision upholding the plain meaning of the Illinois Constitution.===

    Sometimes proper procedure dictates that things be done in a certain order. I think dropping the lawsuit needed to be done before he cashed his paychecks.

  25. - Anon. - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    Willy, it would be perfectly constitutional for the Governor to coerce the GA by threatening to use his constitutional authority to veto their pet corporate tax giveaways or (assuming there is no contract clause issue) by vetoing out the appropriation for their staffs, or saying mean things about them in the news. This one didn’t work because there is a constitutional prohibition against it.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    - Anon. -,

    Yeah, that pesky constitution seems to get in the way alot.

    Stop a project, horse-trade, whatever, all in the “gray” area, that even Rod’s lawyers were having some tread with in the appeal.

    To say, “Well besides that …” makes no sense.

    Denying the legailty of the move, to make the move seem ok, really defeats the purpose of the explanation.

  27. - Norseman - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    Too bad he dropped the appeal. This was an issue that needed to be resolved by the SC.

  28. - Anon. - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    Willy, I’m not even suggesting the Governor’s move was constitutional. I’m just suggesting that the right reasons be given because the constitution and its specific wording matter. The “separation of powers” argument against what he did is nonsense, and taken seriously would call for judicial interference with legitimate “horse trading.”

  29. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 1:30 pm:

    I think PQ is taking the pill swallowing and walking away. No need to lose in court and give another thing for the “hammer” to hit. Plus this way he can use it again during next summer on an issue that polls well just in time for the election. What do legislators need a salary for if it gives him a boost in the polls?

  30. - lovecraft - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    Moving forward all right. On the backs of state retirees.

  31. - Ruby - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    I agree with DuPage Bard @ 1:30 pm.

    Quinn dropped his appeal to the IL Supreme Court because it would be so embarrassing to lose.

    This was and is all about the 2014 election.

  32. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 16, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    I think if he didn’t get what he wanted, he’d still be going to the Supreme Court. He got it. Why bother.

  33. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Dec 17, 13 @ 5:03 pm:

    Been away for a couple days attending to some medical needs, so I regret the late Comment. Oh well–I suppose as Shakespeare so aptly put it as to this issue, “All’s well that ends well” on this one…!

    No legal precedents set (which suits the Governor just fine) and Pat Quinn gets his well-deserved, long-awaited big paycheck to expend a few extra dollars on some presents here in Illinois and enjoy a nice Christmas with his family and loved ones.

    Somehow, this is how I always expected this particular Super Land of Lincoln debacle to play out…!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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