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Not quite

Monday, Nov 29, 2004 - Posted by Rich Miller

From the AP today:

From 1998 to 2003, Illinois had the nation’s lowest average number of state employees compared with its population, U.S. Census Bureau data shows.

The average size of the state payroll during those years, roughly 161,000 employees, amounts to 130 employees for every 10,000 Illinois residents. That’s far below the national average of 175 employees for every 10,000 Americans and below levels in other large states, including California, Florida and Texas.

A watchdog group says the low numbers are a product of souring economic times that force everyone to cut back.

‘’It’s not unique to government by any means,'’ said Tim Bramlet, president of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois. ‘’There’s just less resources available, and people are being asked to do more with less.'’

Um, not quite.

The low state employee ratio began in 1998, or at the very least the study covers the ratio beginning in 1998. That was a very good budget year. Lots of extra money was coming in. George Ryan wasn’t even elected yet. I think we had a low ratio even before then.

But watch the current governor take credit for this.

Also, according to the article:

Illinois saw the nation’s smallest increase in the monthly cost of paying its government employees — 15 percent compared with a national average of 27.6 percent.

Governor Blagojevich just negotiated his first union contract this year, and it was described as the most generous in the nation.


  1. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 29, 04 @ 2:58 pm:

    Thanks, Rich, for posting this. However the Sun-Times truncated the AP story, leaving out the real meat. The point of the story was not a pat on the back to the administration for running such a tight ship, it was to illustrate that state services and the frontline headcount have been pared to such unprecedented low levels that they simply cannot sustain further cuts.

    To quote from Ryan Keith’s full article, as published in the Southern Illinoisan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Quad City Times and elsewhere:

    “Judy Beatty juggles hundreds of cases of people needing food stamps and medical benefits at the East Alton office of the State Department of Human Services. Staffing cutbacks have increased the workload, and a ban on overtime pay has forced further delays, she said.

    “‘It’s just beyond your imagination,’ Beatty said. ‘It’s so stressful here. We can’t keep up. No one could do it.’

    “Jill Lautemann, an investigator for the Department of Children and Family Services in Jacksonville, has had to push back vital paperwork to deal with the heavy workload of investigations that take priority. Pushing back the paperwork, though, delays other court intervention and inconveniences families, she said.

    “‘It’s so unbelievably hectic,’ Lautemann said. ‘You could not keep up with me for one day.’”

    Similar conditions exist not just in DHS and DCFS but the Department of Corrections (where prisons are not just dangerously understaffed but monumentally overcrowded), Department of Public Aid (down 17% of staff since 2001), the Department of Natural Resources (where, as you’ve mentioned, the governor is trying to throw another 87 employees out of work in our parks right now), and in just about every other state agency, department or program.

    The full AP story can be viewed here:

    Anders Lindall
    AFSCME Council 31

  2. - ILPundit - Monday, Nov 29, 04 @ 5:20 pm:

    Don’t forget that while the Gov negotiated the union contract with salary increases, he also continues to maintain a salary freeze on all non-union state employees.

    Past administrations would adjust non-union compensation in line with the contract — this isn’t happening anymore. Non-union employees in the past 2 years have been hit with a 4% raid for the pension pick up, without raises at all. This does not appear to change anytime soon.

    While it doesn’t balance things out, it will help keep the rate of salary growth for Illinois employees down.

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 30, 04 @ 9:26 am:

    to add: DCFS caseworkers continue to have cases dumped on them, but admininstrators work the numbers so the caseworkers appear to have the max. caseload alloted by fed. statute. Funny part: these administrators come down hard on the caseworkers for not keeping up with papework, but then the rub: the caseworker can’t get out to see the client. It is a mess.

    Also, as a non-union supervisor, who has taken an unpaid day off during the Ryan admin, and has not received a pay raise or COLA in over 3 years, AND continues to take on more responsibility and work because of retirement and layoffs…I supervise 11 PROFESSIONAL employees (all non-clerical) and every single one is union and make more money than me.

    Having said all that, I am happy to have a job and provide for my wife and kids. However, the morale is horrible and prospects for improvement in my Agency are bleak. But, all the top positions in the Agency continue to get filled at salaries in the triple digits.

    For rank and file employees, who support the state in everyday services, it is indeed a sad situation.

  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 30, 04 @ 3:29 pm:

    interesting study. as anyone who tried to drive I55 last wednesday knows, the state has not replaced retired snowplow drivers and the BOB doesn’t want DOT to use any salt. however it would be interesting to see how illinois stacks up with other states if one looks at all government employees (not including federal) per capita. since we have the greatest number of local government unitsm i suspect we are as underserved as the study would suggest.—publius

  5. - new york life insurance company life insurance no exam - Thursday, Jun 1, 06 @ 12:22 pm:

    materialized prospects situational Cobb pause:rumbling.leper ingrate

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