* I’m not sure how the AP interpreted this statement from Sen. Michael Frerichs as “confirming basic facts behind the allegations” made by the Tom Cross campaign yesterday, but that’s not how I read the Frerichs response…
Tom Cross’ media tour highlights exactly what is wrong with his run for Treasurer: loose with the facts and worried more about running against his opponent than running with a vision for the office.
Here are the facts:
On the Champaign County early retirement initiative, many financial experts missed the continued recession that occurred after those decisions were made, not by Mike Frerichs but by other county leaders. The Champaign News-Gazette correctly pointed this out in its 2004 endorsement of Frerichs for County Auditor.
Deb Busey, who has been the Champaign County Administrator since 1998, said, “I brought the ERI proposal to the County Auditor and the County Board. To say otherwise is not accurate.”
Republican Mike Graham, a former Champaign County Board member and CPA, said, “I served on the Champaign County Board when we passed the Early Retirement Incentive. It was brought to the board by the County Administrator, Deb Busey, and Mike Frerichs provided us with an analysis that showed both costs and potential savings. I don’t know why the Cross campaign is saying otherwise.”
Steve Beckett, former Democratic Champaign Board member added, “The ERI under question was never a Mike Frerichs proposal. It was brought to the County Administrator by county employees and the administrator asked Mike to review its advantages and disadvantages. Mike did so and presented his findings to the Board, who then adopted it in a bipartisan fashion. This attack by Tom Cross is ludicrous and typical of a 20-year Springfield insider who would rather sling mud than talk about the issues.”
The Champaign County Board changed its management of IMRF as part of a greater restructuring plan by the board, not a criticism of Frerichs’ work as Auditor. The Cross attack is revisionist history.
Deb Busey, who has been the Champaign County Administrator for 16 years, said, “The IMRF authorized agent was moved when the County reorganized to bring payroll into the same department as human resources, to say it was for any other reason is a fabrication.”
On allegations of patronage, Frerichs employed neither of the two men mentioned in their official capacity. Again, these hiring decisions were made by the Champaign County Board.
Tom Cross might want to look more closely at his own past while he’s revisiting the facts:
Rep. Tom Cross voted for the notorious $10 billion bond deal pushed by then-Gov. and now inmate Rod Blagojevich. Remember that deal? It provided more than $35 million in fees to big banks and more than $800,000 to Republican Springfield insider Bob Kjellander, whose ties to convicted felon Tony Rezko were a key part of the scandal that ultimately doomed Blagojevich.
That same $10 billion pension bond fiasco Cross supported followed the infamous 1995 pension payment ramp he supported that pushed billions of dollars in pension debt onto future generations. Both helped create a system today whose debt tops $100 billion and puts state finances in peril.
If Tom Cross wants to talk clout, then why did he appear on Blagojevich’s “clout list” 46 times?
Voters want more and deserve better than the distasteful politics shown here by party cronies for a 20-year Springfield insider who has shilled for corporate interests as House Republican Leader at the expense of working families. Mike Frerichs has a clear vision for reforming a Treasurer’s office swamped by scandal and using the tools in that office to better invest in Illinois’ success. Cross offers nothing new in commending the current Treasurer for doing a good job.