* I didn’t know Bill Brady moonlighted as a comedian…
And all along I thought the longest running comedy show in the Midwest was Illinois government. He doesn’t run that yet.
* Three pensions? Yep…
“Yes, it’s unusual,” says Robert Rita, a Democratic state representative from Blue Island. “But it’s not like we’re doing this because of the pensions.” “I’m from a family that’s dedicated to public service.”
The Ritas are like Blue Island’s version of the Daleys. The brothers’ father, John Rita Sr., was Blue Island’s mayor, while their mother, Rose Rita, was an alderman and supervisor of Calumet Township. Both parents are now deceased.
Sister Nancy Rita, 49, also is a Blue Island alderman, in addition to working as an administrative assistant in the office of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans. The $62,695-a-year county job comes with a pension.
As a state lawmaker, Robert Rita, 44, was paid $74,569 last year. His township supervisor salary is $67,000 a year – after a 23 percent raise that took effect in June, according to interviews and public records.
Up until last February he also worked as an administrative analyst for the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways, and is vested in Cook County’s government pension plan, as well as the retirement plans covering the General Assembly and townships. His annual county salary was $93,423, though he wasn’t paid when he took time off to handle legislative matters.
If Robert Rita waits until age 60 to collect his lawmaker, township and county pensions, his total benefit could exceed $118,000 a year, according to a Better Government Association analysis.
* A case of premature tweeting earlier this week…
That “earthquake” turned out to be a quarry blast. But it was a big one…
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski has asked for a federal investigation into a quarry blast this week in suburban Chicago.
Lipinski has asked the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to investigate the blast. It happened Monday at a company in McCook.
The congressman says he was in his Western Springs kitchen when his house shook for five seconds.
* Sen. Mark Kirk doesn’t want to loosen restrictions on marijuana…
He said he was worried about young people’s academic achievement.
“In my own life, there were kids that in the ’70s we would call the ‘burnouts’ who were heavily smoking,” Kirk said. “Those kids, as they got to their 50s, were generally much lower performing in their careers and their lives.”
Or they became president.
* From an e-mail blast…
I wanted to make sure you saw this week’s story. In response to Sheila’s campaign proposals to strengthen oversight of local government, Judy Baar Topinka decided to revamp her local government website. Some Illinois reporters don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Here’s what columnist Kurt Erickson had to say about it:
“…it wasn’t without irony that Topinka last week launched a seven-stop statewide blitz on the taxpayer’s dime to announce a new feature of her office that compiles information and records from, surprise, local governments.” (Bloomington Pantagraph, 11/3/13)
It shouldn’t take the attention of an election for public officials to do their job properly. Sheila has already helped change the way the comptroller’s office does business; imagine what she will be able to do if she is elected.
Sheila Simon for Comptroller
* Topinka’s response in that same story quoted above…
Topinka told skeptical reporters that the new website was not created in response to Simon’s allegations.
“I think it’s nonsense, because we started working on this when Sheila Simon was still dreaming of becoming attorney general,” Topinka quipped.
* And LG Simon offered no praise at the time for Topinka “doing her job properly.” Quite the opposite…
Simon criticized the site as a simple “repurposing” of information that was already available, saying the move was “too little and too late.”
* Simon, by the way, played a recent duet with Dan Ponce…