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*** UPDATED x4 *** Attorney General goes to court

Thursday, Jul 2, 2015

*** UPDATE 3 *** The governor’s office points to this paragraph in the AG’s legal action

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff People of the State of Illinois respectfully prays for the following relief: […]

f. A declaration that the Comptroller, in the absence of an annual appropriation, is authorized to process payment vouchers for the payment of the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA, or in the alternative, a declaration that the Comptroller, in the absence of an annual appropriation and payroll vouchers that comply only with the minimum requirements of the FLSA, is not authorized to process payment vouchers for the state employee payroll;

Their response…

FYI, see paragraph 35f, the AG is seeking on two forms of declaration: 1) Comptroller can only pay minimum wage or 2) the Comptroller cannot pay anyone. The Attorney General is trying to block full employee pay.

Emphasis in original.

*** UPDATE 4 *** From Attorney General Lisa Madigan in response to the above claim…

“I have been working with the Comptroller’s office to identify what payments can continue without a State budget to ensure that people who rely on critical government services—kids in the foster care system, low-income families who can’t afford to pay for groceries, mentally disabled individuals who need residential support—aren’t punished by the Governor’s and Legislature’s inability to finalize a budget. I want State employees to be paid. I also want State service providers to be paid. They all deserve to be paid. But this problem can’t be solved through a lawsuit. The only way to ensure State employees and service providers are fully and legally paid is with an enacted budget.”

[End of updates.]

* An interesting and politically deft preemptive move. AG Madigan wants judicial clarification about payments that already don’t require legislative approval. And she gets ahead of the curve by asking the court to rule on the employee paycheck issue.

Press release with emphasis added…

Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she has filed an action in Cook County Circuit Court, seeking a court order clarifying that the State can continue to make legally authorized payments to fund critical government services in a timely manner.

Without a State budget in place, the Illinois Constitution and laws significantly limit the payments that the State can make. In preparation for the start of the new fiscal year, the Attorney General has been working with Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger to determine what payments can continue without a State budget in place. Based on those preparations, this action seeks clear court approval for the Comptroller to make payments that do not legally require an appropriation by the Legislature, including payments authorized by specific state statutes, payments for services required under court consent decrees and payments to continue participating in federal programs. These payments help fund critical government services, such as medical care for children in foster care, residential placements for mentally disabled individuals, food assistance for low-income families, and the operation of the state hotline to report child abuse and neglect.

The action also asks the court to clarify the State’s obligation to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by paying State employees the federal minimum wage until a budget is enacted and they can receive their full paychecks.

Statement from Attorney General Lisa Madigan

    “The Illinois Constitution clearly states that without a budget, the State’s authority to fund government operations and services is severely limited. I am bringing this action to ensure that legally supported expenditures can continue to be made and to address the question of how the state payroll is legally managed during the budget impasse.

    Our state’s most vulnerable residents deserve access to the critical services that their lives depend on. Taxpayers deserve to benefit from the government operations they help fund, and state employees deserve to be paid. Unfortunately, without a budget, it is difficult to ensure these payments are made. It is my job as the lawyer for the State to ensure that to the greatest extent possible under the law, we deliver on those promises. This action is the best approach to quickly and efficiently resolve these challenges.

    It is my hope that by securing a court order clarifying these expenditures, the Legislature and the Governor can enact a budget to fund State government for the new fiscal year. If not, I fear those who need the State’s services the most will suffer the greatest.”

Read the entire complaint by clicking here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** This letter was sent by the comptroller yesterday…

Dear Attorney General Madigan:

As you know, today marks the first day of fiscal year 2016. To date, the legislature has failed to adopt a balanced budget for the State, resulting in severe constraints on the Comptroller’s Office’s ability to fund essential State operations, including State employee payrolls. I note that while the rank and file State employees are at risk of delays in receiving paychecks due to the current budget impasse, the Legislators themselves passed a law last year which will ensure they are paid on time in the new fiscal year (PA 98-682).

My legal counsel has advised me that the inability to process payrolls for State employees due to the lack of an approved budget carries the potential for significant liability for the State under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (”FLSA”). As we understand it, that Act provides for treble damages calculated from the amount of missed payrolls.

In order to fulfill my constitutional and statutory duty to issue State payments only where such payments are “pursuant to law and authorized,” and to protect the state from potential excessive fines, I am formally requesting that your office represent my office in Court to seek an Agreed Order to allow the State to avoid fines and penalties under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

I have determined from detailed and extensive conversations with State agencies and my staff that the circumstances today are no different than the State faced in 2007, when your office agreed to entry of an Agreed Order to allow payment to all State employees at their regular rates of pay. Specifically, while the mandate of the FLSA is to pay “covered employees” at a rate at least equal to the federal minimum wage, the State’s payroll processing systems in place today are not set up such that the proper amounts could be calculated and paid to “covered employees.”

In order to prevent the State from incurring significant fines or penalties under the FLSA, the Agreed Order sought on our behalf should include a sentence, as follows:

    To the extent it is not feasible to limit the issuance of warrants or electronic payments only to those State employees and in such amounts necessary to comply with the FLSA, the Comptroller shall issue such other additional payroll warrants or electronic payments to ensure that the requirements of the FLSA have been satisfied, including payroll warrants or electronic payments to State employees that may not be covered by the FLSA.

This sentence is identical to the Agreed Order entered in 2007, copy attached.

The contribution of State employees to maintaining public services and public order is beyond dispute. Allowing these employees to be paid on time and at the correct rate of pay until the budget impasse is resolved will also promote the legitimate goals of government to maintain critical services.

Going forward, I believe it is imperative that the State be better prepared to establish compliance with the FLSA in the event of delays in adopting a budget in future fiscal years. I will initiate an effort to work with your office and the Governor’s state agencies to adopt procedures to promptly identify employees covered by the Act in the event of another budget impasse. At the same time, the state is moving toward implementation of a new accounting system that will allow us to better comply with the FLSA in future years.

In conclusion, I will appreciate your confirming at your earliest convenience your willingness to seek the Agreed Order as outlined in this letter. I thank you and your staff for working closely with, and providing information to, the state Constitutional Offices to navigate the challenges caused by this ongoing budget impasse. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Leslie Geissler Munger
Comptroller

It appears we have the AG’s response.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Two 2011 judicial consent decrees were the subject of these recently successful lawsuits…

Yesterday, the ACLU of Illinois, Equip for Equality and the pro bono law firm Dentons filed emergency motions seeking court orders to ensure that services for people with disabilities under the three community integration Consent Decrees continue despite the lack of a new state budget.

Federal judges entered orders requiring the State of Illinois to continue funding in Ligas v. Norwood and Colbert v. Rauner. (Copies of the court orders are attached.) The decree in Ligas covers people with developmental disabilities living in large state-funded facilities seeking to move into the community, as well as people with developmental disabilities living in the family home seeking community services. The decree in Colbert covers people with mental illness and/or physical disabilities living in nursing homes in Cook County who want to move into the community. A federal judge has been asked to enter a similar order in Williams v. Rauner, which covers people with mental illness living in large state-funded facilities who are seeking to move into the community. The motion in Williams will be heard on Thursday, July 2nd.

Click to review copies of the court orders: Compliance with Ligas Consent Decree & Compliance with Colbert Consent Decree

- Posted by Rich Miller        

81 Comments
  1. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    I can see the Rauner commercials about the Madigan family working together to make sure that 45,000 working families are not paid because Madigan will not work together to turn around Illinois.

    Throw in some “Chicago political machine” slogans in there and I think everyone sees what is coming (like it or not).


  2. - Snucka - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    A judicial ruling is certainly needed, as the current uncertainty is not good for anyone.


  3. - walker - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:23 am:

    No way Lisa was going to sit back and play the waiting game. She’s in first. We’ll see what creative legal arguments arise out of Team Rauner.


  4. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:23 am:

    As a Rauner bonus, he will likely tag Lisa Madigan as the one who interfered with paying state workers during the shutdown should she ever challenge him for gov. ==I wanted to pay them==.

    She opened the door to the option of not defending or enforcing certain laws of her own choosing during her failure to do so with the state’s marriage laws, and it is shameful she did not speak up with the same vigor during the pension theft discussions.

    No matter, the Constitution should be followed and it is the Constitution that would stop Rauner imho.


  5. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    Interesting.

    Not likely to happen, but would be even more interesting if the court punted it back, saying it was a choice of the Executive branch to not have a budget by failing to use the Amendatory Veto power granted by the Illinois Constitution, and that the issue should be resolved by the Legislative and Executive branches.


  6. - Snucka - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    If Munger can pay employees with no appropriation, can she also unilaterally choose to fund services that she deems critical?


  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    ===can she also unilaterally choose to fund services that she deems critical?===

    No.

    Impeachable offense.


  8. - Ben Franklin - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    Good move by our next Governor


  9. - And the Capitol is where??? - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    Why did the IAG file in Cook County when jurisdiction is in Sangamon where the Capitol is located and the general assembly conducts the business which is at the heart of the lawsuit??? Oh, silly me. Madigan anointed all those judges in Cook, what was I thinking??


  10. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:32 am:

    Even if she thinks stopping these payments would benefit Speaker Madigan’s leverage in his standoff with Rauner, Illinois’ laws are not arbitrary.

    Uphold the rules, whether you are a Governor trying to pay state workers, an Attorney General who did not like our marriage laws, or a State’s Attorney who did not like our concealed carry laws.


  11. - No Raise - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    Another pick-and-choose by the AG. Had she done the right thing with the pension litigation we would be one year ahead of the game already. It was one year ago tomorrow that the Ill. Supreme Court issued the retiree health care ruling that pretty much told anyone listening that the pension law was unconstitutional. Remember this, voters.


  12. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    Good move AG. Clarity is needed on the front end.


  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    === Had she done the right thing with the pension litigation we would be one year ahead of the game already===

    I don’t see how. If the AG bowed out, the governor would’ve demanded that she appoint a special deputy AG to do the work.


  14. - Snucka - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    =can she also unilaterally choose to fund services that she deems critical?=

    ===No.

    Impeachable offense.====

    Right… so what makes the governor think that employee salaries are OK to pay without an appropriation? Seems like an easy call for a judge.


  15. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    And the Capitol is where??? - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:31 am

    Fair question.


  16. - gopower - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:37 am:

    Serious question — the court system is not a game of “mother, may I?” How (or why) does the state ask a court to clarify something?

    The state is supposed to take action, then if someone files suit in opposition, the court gets involved.

    Or am I missing something?


  17. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:39 am:

    Little Birdie reports that it heard the frat boys cursing about AG Madigan’s move to preempt the pay issue. Among the profanity the phrase, “stole our thunder” was heard.


  18. - Austin Blvd - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    And Unes, one more thing…don’t twist in the wind like your cohort Adam Brown, who proposed a temporary budget one day and weaseled away from it the next day after being told what to do by Rauner.

    Remember, DONT BLOW IT next week.


  19. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    “Why did the IAG file in Cook County when jurisdiction is in Sangamon where the Capitol is located and the general assembly conducts the business which is at the heart of the lawsuit??? Oh, silly me. Madigan anointed all those judges in Cook, what was I thinking??”

    I had exactly the same reaction.


  20. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    Would the Raunerites defy a court order if it differs from what the Governor says he’s going to do? This will be interesting to watch unfold. I can see young Mr. Goldberg referring to the ’sham’ courts…


  21. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    === Sincerely,

    Leslie Geissler Munger
    Comptroller ===

    Little Birdie got the first draft of this letter and below Comptroller was the line, “Dictated by Gov. Rauner.”


  22. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:48 am:

    If the AG and others found a way to agree on paying employees once before, they can do it again with an amiable judge.

    Oops. We may have just found our answer to the odd choice of filing in Chicago over Springfield.


  23. - Bigtwich - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    +And the Capitol is where???+

    It seems to move around. I think similar law suits in the past were in Christian County and St. Clair County.


  24. - Macbeth - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    My question remains: is Rauner’s strategy to go as long as possible without any kind of budget? Not weeks — but months? Essentially, he’ll wait it out — wait until he gets what he wants. And until he gets what he wants, he’ll budget by EO and court order.


  25. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    If federal law requires the state to pay workers or face triple damages, and state law says you can’t pay people without an appropriation, it seems pretty clear to me that Rauner needs to either sign a budget or be prepared to pay triple damages.

    Something tells me that if a judge gave that answer, those FLSA certifications could happen in about two days.


  26. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    When a state governor and the state legislator reach an impasse, it does not mean that the state shuts down. It means that the third branch of government gets involved. To the people who play politics as how the perceive the world, this isn’t fair. Yet - in the real world, an impasse isn’t a roadblock.

    Rauner is to blame for this. He is showing everyone that he cannot govern when confronted by opposing views. He would rather sacrifice you and I, than sacrifice one of his political beliefs.


  27. - zatoichi - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:08 am:

    Again state employees are the #1 focus. What about the hundreds of thousands of employees who work at NFPs and other vendors who do contractual work for the state? How is lack of money for paychecks due to no state budget in that world any different than the state employee world? The cause comes from the same basic source: GA Leadership and Admin cannot agree on a budget.


  28. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    Meh, If I were a judge and this nonsense came before me, I’d tell all parties to go home and get their shine boxes.

    Ample remedy resides in the executive and legislative branches. No judicial action necessary.


  29. - Elo Kiddies - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    Rich, it appears you’ ve posted the same (Colbert) consent decree twice. Can you check the Ligas link?


  30. - A Jack - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    The Comptroller specifically mentioned the inability of the payroll systems to cope with this. That’s another one for RNUG and I.


  31. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:25 am:

    Since this is more about being “politically right” than being legally right, is it not possible that the AG does not really care if a court rules that full paychecks have to be processed? That let’s her stake out her position against the Gov. while letting the courts do the dirty work.


  32. - chicon - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    Why is there an impasse?

    The Democrats have veto-proof majorities in both houses, which means they can save the masses from the evil Rauner any time they’d like. Just pass the budget you’d like, let Rauner veto it, then override said veto. What’s the problem here?

    What’s that you say? We need to raise taxes so we need the Republicans (including Rauner)to go along with it so we can blame them next election. Who’s playing politics with the lives of the poor people in Illinois?

    Democrats have the unilateral power to pass whatever budget they’d like. Today.


  33. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    ===Democrats have the unilateral power to pass whatever budget they’d like. Today.===

    Says someone who has never met Jack Franks.


  34. - A Jack - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    By the way, has the Governor introduced legislation to amend 820 ILSC 115 to include state employees? Or at least some level of state employee other than those elected or appointed. I would think that would be a top priority in his new role fighting to get state employees paid.


  35. - The view from a lawyer - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:35 am:

    Like it or not, this is the right thing for the attorney. The Rauner and Munger administrations want to ignore the law and the constitution. Their blatant disrespect for the rule of law is shocking.

    There has been a lot of talk about the need for grown ups and the Attorney General is proving she is one. Put the political backlash aside, she’s trying to do what the law proscribes.


  36. - walker - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    Have some suspicion Rauner Team atty’s would love to see this morph into a Federal FLSA case.


  37. - chicon - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:37 am:

    ===Says someone who has never met Jack Franks===

    And here I thought it was all Rauner’s fault. :)


  38. - Juice - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:38 am:

    chicon- Democrats is a term in the plural, meaning that can’t unilaterally do anything, but there would have to be a unanimous consensus in the House to get something done. And they have members who represent vast different constituencies from one another.

    On the other hand, the Governor is a single person, and he could have acted unilaterally to balance the budget with the power that the people have given him via Article IV Section 9 of the Illinois Constitution. He chose not to, because he knows he can’t balance the budget without new revenue, but doesn’t want to publicly accept that.


  39. - Me too - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:38 am:

    Chicon, tell that to Jack Franks, [banned word]


  40. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:38 am:

    ==
    Like it or not, this is the right thing for the attorney. The Rauner and Munger administrations want to ignore the law and the constitution. Their blatant disrespect for the rule of law is shocking.

    There has been a lot of talk about the need for grown ups and the Attorney General is proving she is one. Put the political backlash aside, she’s trying to do what the law proscribes.==

    Funny then that Lisa Madigan didn’t push it in this way in 2007 or 2009.


  41. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    All politics is local, and getting a paycheck on time is about as local as it gets. Smart political move by Rauner and Munger.

    It’s funny to me how Rauner team think they can play both sides. Fight to get state worker paychecks on time, but at the same time reduce benefits, etc. Etc. Be interesting how long he can play this game with the media and general public.


  42. - zonz - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    walker what about the months CMS said were req’d to do the vetting needed to make FLSA payments?
    How does that fit here?
    ___________________
    - walker - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    Have some suspicion Rauner Team atty’s would love to see this morph into a Federal FLSA case.


  43. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    Just saw Update 3.

    The constant lying by this governor and his people is what is really beginning to fry me. Who was it who vetoed the budget bill?


  44. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    Huh. TRS received their approp, while SERS and SURS have to wait for the big brains to settle their grudge match. Nice.

    In fairness, none of them get the dough in a lump sum. (Or get asked to borrow most of it back the next day. Yet.)


  45. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    Chicon is of the breed of Illinois “conservatives” who do not wish to be held responsible or accountable for anything.

    But making the argument that any Illinois governor has no responsibility or accountability for the budget or the functioning of government is beyond dorm-room lunacy.


  46. - Chicago Publius - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:53 am:

    No matter how you spin it, AG Madigan’s office is indeed trying to block payment to state employees. And Madigan has put herself in this position on purpose. The Comptroller specifically asked that AG Madigan represent the Comptroller’s office in this matter. Instead, Madigan opted to sue the Comptroller. And because Madigan couldn’t bring suit herself, she brought the suit on behalf of ‘the People.’ However much Madigan wants to posture, she’s interjected herself into this dispute on her own, not as a lawyer for a State officer, but because she wants in on this fight. Highly questionable ethics on this one.


  47. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    === Huh. TRS received their approp, while SERS and SURS have to wait for the big brains to settle their grudge match. Nice. ===

    AA, I’m sorry am I missing some background on your point. I thought continuing approp covered the retirement systems.


  48. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    Putting aside the political spin on both sides, does it strike anybody else as pathetic that the State (CMS specifically) has not identified FSLA exempt employees since 2007, the first time this issue came up??


  49. - chicon - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    ===But making the argument that any Illinois governor has no responsibility or accountability for the budget or the functioning of government is beyond dorm-room lunacy===

    Wordslinger, eh? Anyway, nice effort to put words in my mouth. Where did I say this? Seems more like an attempted deflection of the issue I raised. Here it is again….why don’t the Democrats simply pass the budget they want and then override Rauner’s veto? You mentioned accountability; wouldn’t doing what I suggest make the Democrats accountable? How is trying to get the governor to do your dirty work (raising taxes) beging accountable? Sorry, just using your own words, Mr. Slinger….


  50. - Grousou - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:00 pm:

    When it comes to the two consent decrees from Equip for Equality and the ACLU, re Herald-News Joliet article:

    “The order does provide the state comptrollers’ office the legal authority to provide funding for these services without a budget intact … […]

    But only a small fraction of the population is protected by the judge’s order. […]

    Rauner’s proposed fiscal 2016 budget includes $1.287 billion for state services relating to people with developmental disabilities, while only $113 million – or about 8.7 percent – has been set aside for those protected under the Ligas lawsuit.”

    In other words, there’s thousands of others who are not protected.

    http://www.theherald-news.com/2015/07/01/a-devastating-domino-effect-people-with-disabilities-impacted-by-state-government-shutdown/ak5vcq2/?page=2


  51. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    ===….why don’t the Democrats simply pass the budget they want and then override Rauner’s veto?===

    Have. You. Met. Jack. Franks?

    You are utterly clueless to the interworkings of the GA…

    If you can’t learn that the Dems are autonomous in their caucuses on issues, you can’t really speak to how things “work”


  52. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:15 pm:

    As a couple of you have mentioned, Rauner didn’t have to veto the appropriation that deals with worker’s salaries but he did. Now he’s playing the good guy who’s fighting to make sure the employees are paid. All this chaos because of the “turnaround agenda”.


  53. - Just a lawyer - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:16 pm:

    Could it be that Mike and Lisa are working together to oppose Rauner on every possible front? Naaaa.


  54. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:18 pm:

    “- Just a lawyer - ”

    Is that you John Kass? @TribTowerChick?

    Ugh.

    Follow the case, counselor.


  55. - A Jack - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    To update 3: That is the FLSA law, to pay minimum wage. If you want full wages, either you will have to get a judge to agree that it would be too much of a burden to just pay minimum wages, or you can change state law.


  56. - chicon - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:21 pm:

    Willy, could you be any more condescending? Actually, you probably could….

    Anyway, I already answered your point about Mr. Franks. Seems the answer is that not all the Dems believe in the sanctimony of the MJM playbook, and Rauner needs to save them from themselves.

    Since you are the smartest person in the room, perhaps you could enlighten the unwashed such as myself on these inner workings? Make sure to use small words, so the rest of the class will catch on.


  57. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:22 pm:

    - Chicago Publius - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:53 am:

    No matter how you spin it, AG Madigan’s office is indeed trying to block payment to state employees. And Madigan has put herself in this position on purpose. The Comptroller specifically asked that AG Madigan represent the Comptroller’s office in this matter. Instead, Madigan opted to sue the Comptroller. And because Madigan couldn’t bring suit herself, she brought the suit on behalf of ‘the People.’ However much Madigan wants to posture, she’s interjected herself into this dispute on her own, not as a lawyer for a State officer, but because she wants in on this fight. Highly questionable ethics on this one.

    Umm, what??? No, General Madigan is asking the Court for guidance on which law(s) are on point here. Rauner is in a scorched earth mode right now. Will he back off, I don’t think so. 2016 is going to be a referendum on his leadership. He’ll get his answer about how he’s doing then. Until Nov. 2016, we, the citizens of Illinois will pay for his hubris.


  58. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:22 pm:

    To the goofs who keep posting about “Lisa’s Daddy”: You’re being automatically deleted. Stop being such sexist jerks, or just go somewhere else. This ain’t the Tribune.


  59. - Nobody important - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:25 pm:

    Will the 60,000 some State employees, plus their spouses and friends remember this partisan political move when Lisa Runs for Governor? When you mess with people’s paychecks….they tend to remember it. Kiss them votes good bye!


  60. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:25 pm:

    - chicon -,

    ===Seems the answer is that not all the Dems believe in the sanctimony of the MJM playbook, and Rauner needs to save them from themselves.===

    I’d like to help, but what does that above this mean? What’s your point? You maybe making all this more difficult while thinking you’re simplifying…


  61. - Dave - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:28 pm:

    I have a feeling, just a feeling anyhow, the state really doesn’t want to know just who is FLSA exempt and who isn’t.

    Why? Because as soon as employees find out they are covered by the FLSA, the rules change. That isn’t necessarily a good thing for the state. The number of suits being filed (after the Union Grievance is lost, if applicable) for “off the clock” work the employer was aware of, which benefited the employer, and the employer did not attempt to stop will be astronomical.

    FLSA protection and employees knowing they fall under it is going to cost the state tremendous amounts of money in back pay, fines and litigation down the road. That’s just one small portion of the FLSA. There are lots more parts of the FLSA Illinois doesn’t follow. No one wants to be the pawn, but sadly, in Illinois politics, pawns have replaced all the other chess pieces except for the kings.


  62. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:31 pm:

    Chicon, it’s not condescending to point out the obvious to the oblivious.

    If spending within available revenues was the issue, the governor missed a golden opportunity with his formidable veto powers to bring those 20 approp bills into line.

    But he wants more money, too, as his proposed budget demonstrated.


  63. - Ghostbusters - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:35 pm:

    @ No Raise - “Remember this, voters.”

    LOL.

    Voters not only re-elected Blago knowing what they knew about him but also gave Blago a quasi-third term in the form of Rauner.

    Like Blago, Rauner is all spin and no governor.


  64. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:38 pm:

    - Nobody important - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:25 pm:

    Will the 60,000 some State employees, plus their spouses and friends remember this partisan political move when Lisa Runs for Governor? When you mess with people’s paychecks….they tend to remember it. Kiss them votes good bye!

    OH… MY…. (expletive deleted)… GOD

    So, here is what has happened. The Gov. vetoes approp. bills, says “But, hey, let’s pay the state employees”, the Comptroller (who has the check book, by the way) asks the AG to be her legal counsel on the issue, the AG asks the courts for guidance, and then poof, the AG is trying to stop employees paychecks. Is that what I’m hearing. Is that what you want to go with? Am I missing something?


  65. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:38 pm:

    I am amazed at how the gov’s office is trying to turn this whole mess against the AG. Dude, the AG will be needed in the future to fight for whatever you do that gets challenged in court! What are you doing?!


  66. - Egg Zempt - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    Do the Governor’s dim bulbs not see the “in the absence of an appropriation” qualifiers?


  67. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    Norse, they do, but read the letter.


  68. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 1:01 pm:

    I would feel much more confidence in the governor’s staff and our ability to reach a solution if they spent much less time trying to figure out whom to blame and much more time solving problems.

    Hopefully, the holiday will provide time for reflection.


  69. - Careful what you wish for... - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    On the FLSA discussion. All state employees are covered by FLSA by definition. Under normal conditions, many employees are exempted from the overtime rules of FLSA based on job duties, pay, etc. However, in a scenario where all employees are paid minimum wage, all employees are also eligible for overtime due to the wage limit for exemption. No determination needed. There may be an argument to be made that the effort to convert all employees to minimum wage and not exempt and to track their actual hours is too burdensome with the available systems, but the argument that not all employees are accurately classified doesn’t hold water.


  70. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    Norse, sorry, I meant read the complaint. The AG states that the Comptroller has the authority to issue vouchers for non-appropriated and continuing approp funds, but then asks the Court for judgment on these matters.


  71. - nadia - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 1:22 pm:

    Veto the funds for paying state employees and then blame someone else for not allowing you to pay them even though you vetoed the funding. C’mon man, that’s ridiculous or however one wants to describe it. Astonished and amazed by what this gang tries to do while staying on the turn around, sham, political boss message. I guess he believes he can take and he can give back regardless of the law.


  72. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    == he’ll budget by EO and court order. ==

    In response to a court order or consent decree, yes.

    By executive order, no, not without appropriations authority … as the courts will be quick to tell him.


  73. - DDR - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 1:43 pm:

    When is everyone going to learn AG Madigan is not running for governor. She’s being the attorney general.


  74. - SAP - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    that world any different than the state employee world? The cause comes from the same basic source: GA Leadership and Admin cannot agree on a budget.

    - Wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    Meh, If I were a judge and this nonsense came before me, I’d tell all parties to go home and get their shine boxes.

    Billy Batts is in the house. Well played


  75. - LCG - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 2:17 pm:

    Both consent decree court order links are pulling up the Colbert order on my computer. Is the Ligas order available?


  76. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 2:35 pm:

    Whew, AA, I thought I was losing it. Read the letter several times and then looked up the PA thinking the relevant info was there.


  77. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    ===Democrats have the unilateral power to pass whatever budget they’d like. Today.===

    *** Says someone who has never met Jack Franks. ***

    Forget about Franks. Forget about overriding the governor’s veto.

    Unless the governor is committed to actually spending the money, passing a budget is meaningless.

    Appropriations are a permission slip, not a directive.

    The system was designed to prevent the governor from spending money that has not been appropriated by lawmakers and preventing money from being spent on anything unless the governor agrees to it.

    In cases like this, the system is designed to bring pretty much everything to a grinding halt until there is consensus.

    We should applaud the AG for ensuring the system continues to work as it is designed, in this case, applying the emergency brake before we smack into a Constitutional crisis.


  78. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 2:48 pm:

    “No matter how you spin it, AG Madigan’s office is indeed trying to block payment to state employees.”

    No, the AG is trying to block illegal payments to state employees.


  79. - Tasty Grouper - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 2:52 pm:

    Careful @ 1:14

    I think your reading FLSA wrong. Only covered employees are guaranteed min wage on regularly scheduled pay date. Management and supervisory staff is exempt and therefore not a covered employee. The classification problem is very real


  80. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 3:30 pm:

    From Comptroller: “To date, the legislature has failed to adopt a balanced budget for the State”

    From Atty General: “…aren’t punished by the Governor’s and Legislature’s inability to finalize a budget.”

    Classy of Atty General to blame both rather than being partisan.


  81. - Concerned Observer - Thursday, Jul 2, 15 @ 3:31 pm:

    I miss “Bill” today. That is all.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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