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Arduin heads for the exit door

Thursday, Aug 27, 2015

* Erickson with the scoop

She came to Illinois touted as a “superstar,” ready to provide a roadmap to fix the state’s budget mess using her high-profile experience working for other Republican governors.

On Friday, however, Donna Arduin’s contract as Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget guru expires while the state budget remains unfinished and mired in a divisive political fight.

Despite the lack of a spending plan two months into the state’s fiscal year, Rauner’s office is praising the controversial adviser as she heads back home to her job as a GOP consultant-for-hire. […]

State Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat who chairs a House appropriations committee, said he met with Arduin once and found the two agreed on little.

“If you look at what she did in other states, she recommended Draconian cuts, balancing the budget by cutting higher education and social services. It’s not a surprise that she tried to do that here. It’s been pretty consistent,” Harris said.

Arduin also helped train budget office employees and helped draft budget reforms, which also have been heavily criticized by Democrats because they will reduce state aid to the elderly, poor and disabled.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - How Ironic - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out “SuperStar”.

  2. - drew - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    Why don’t those disabled people stop whining all the time and get a job?

  3. - zatoichi - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:31 am:

    Nice gig to have for no results.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:31 am:

    I love that “ck” stated that Arduin had a hand in crafting the Governor’s lacking budget.

    Rauner could’ve taken the monies he paid Arduin and used the bills to light the fireplaces in the mansion. That would’ve been far more helpful.

    What are Arduin’s Illinois successes? I’ll just email the former Hawaii’ governor, she seems to have the time to find out those answers, and also being a Superstar and all…

    “Bruce Rauner has failed… ”

    … As Arduin did…

  5. - Mama - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:32 am:

    “Arduin also helped train budget office employees and helped draft budget reforms”
    Guess she trained the staff on how to hide the state’s money by charging expenses to the wrong funds.

  6. - Mama - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:32 am:

    Are you telling me you can train a person to be heart-less?

  7. - Huh? - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    Come on back when you can’t stay so long.

  8. - Slippin' Jimmy - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    Too lazy to Google. How much did we pay her for Nada?

  9. - Citizen A - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    Rich, how telling us this ?

  10. - Homer J. Quinn - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    her contract didn’t expire; somebody splashed water on her and she melted.

  11. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    In an alternate universe the story is:

    Illinois budget guru dumped as crisis continues. Courts forced to decide spending due to absence of state plan. No end in sight.


  12. - Frenchie Mendoza - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    The angle — my angle, at least — is to attempt to game how much damage this single person caused.

    How much political damage, how much partisan damage, and how human damage. The budget impasse is hurting people — most of whom have no voice or are ignored.

    For me, the question is whether her $165K payout is worth the turmoil and social damage. I suspect my answer — as I game this out in my head — is a resounding “no”.

  13. - Stones - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    A complete waste of money. Can someone please tell me what she brought to the table? Is there anything tangible that Donna Arduin can point to as an accomplishment?

    And here we sit on August 27 without a budget anywhere in sight. What an embarrassment.

  14. - Linus - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:37 am:

    Remember that story about Ms. Arduin, coolly observing that the homeless guy on the street should “get a job”?

    As she leaves Illinois for pricey contractual work elsewhere, she leaves behind many, many more folks who need to “get a job,” as a direct result of her policy recommendations. Providers of important services that are closing their doors, low-income and (formerly) working parents who’ve lost their child care assistance .. on and on, quite a litany.

    Farewell, Ms. Arduin. We’ve so pleased you’ve trained-up an army of administrative Arduinettes to continue to charm us right out of work in Illinois.

  15. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:38 am:

    Waste of money. The judges who have assumed the governor’s responsibilities in his absence were already on the payroll.

  16. - Dirty Red - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:38 am:

    “I think it’s back to Kansas, Toto.”

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:40 am:

    At least it’s not buried on a Friday…

    By the way, Governor…

    If Arduin is/was the most talented in state budgets in the country, and you still have… no budget… who owns that, you or her.

    (Sorry - 47th Ward -, this is Restraunt Quality. Well done, I’m borrowing with a h/t.)


  18. - The Captain - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    The Rauner administration proposed one budget that wasn’t balanced, vetoed a budget that wasn’t balanced, refused to negotiate on a budget at all to date and has had 90% of the state budget enacted via the judicial branch, a path that has put the state on a terribly unsustainable spending plan given expected revenues.

    Regardless of your ideology or preferred outcomes this person has achieved no measurable improvement in the state budget situation or the path to its resolution. Actually we’re all worse off than when she started taking $30,000/mo for her help, a lot worse.

  19. - Constituent - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    I live in his district and did not vote for him. If he continues to show his independence from Rauner and Raunerites he has my vote next time!

  20. - Constituent - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    Oops…wrong thread.

  21. - Tournaround Agenda - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:43 am:

    The only bad part about this news is that now some other state is going to have to deal with the damage she wreaks.

  22. - Aldyth - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    Who’s the next Superstar on the taxpayer nickel to pack it in? Dare I hope that all of them will head off to other states to consulting jobs where they can educate other governors on how to succeed in implementing a Turnaround Agenda?

  23. - Get a Job!! - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:46 am:

    Ah crap, now I need to think of a new name!

  24. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    I could only imagine how unpleasant it must be to work for this administration. Just miserable.

  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    Good riddance! Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if she resurfaces here.

  26. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    buh bye, Donna Arduous!

  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    That’s just the way it is, some things will never change

  28. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:01 am:

    I’ve been critical of the press office in the past for their lack of creativity. I have to say that this work of fiction about Arduin’s accomplishments was the most creative thing they have produced.

    Now Nuding can put a productive staffer in the office she took up.

  29. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:06 am:

    ===Now Nuding can put a productive staffer in the office she took up.===

    - Norseman -, I’ll go a step further;

    Will Nuding be helped with a pragmatist or will Nuding be saddled with another “Superstar”?

    Will Rauner be willing to help Nuding be successful with people around that understand the budget and have the institutional knowledge, or will Rauner be satisfied with someone to keep his (Rauner’s) goals at the forefront in the budgeting process, irregardless of its realities?

    Will we see… a budgetary Goldberg come next?

  30. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:06 am:

    Contract expires but do we know it won’t be renewed?

  31. - Under Influenced - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:09 am:

    So she was worth 1/4 of a Capitol copper door. At least the doors will be….hanging around for a while.

  32. - Cassandra - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    Sounds like she did what she was hired to do. Can we say that of all state contractors. I really doubt it. Remember the “nonviolence initiative?” Now where did that money go…

  33. - Buzzie - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    Wouldn’t you think that the Republican legislators are beginning to question the Governor’s ability to hire productive individuals?

  34. - illini - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    Another “superstar” bites the dust.

    Just wondering who will be the next to go - probably another with such an impressive record of accomplishment!

  35. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    I would tell her “Bye Felicia” but I highly doubt she even watches movies (let alone a movie with Ice Cube).

  36. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    - Cassandra -

    “Who”, “Who” got that money? “Who”?

    Even the Owl Sandack said it was mismanagement in the end.


  37. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    On a more serious note…

    I’m hopeful this “move” allows Tim Nuding to work his magic and smarts. He’s got both, and if he can convince Mike Z and Rich Goldberg to give him “space” then he might just be able to knock sense into some heads.

  38. - Honeybear - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    Bye Felicia

  39. - JoanP - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    “helped draft budget reforms”

    The word “reform” should be banned as a description of policy change. It’s lost all meaning. Webster says it means “to change into a new and improved form”, to “remove faults”. What a joke.

  40. - walker - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    Probably behind a lot of changes within the departments, which will take months to uncover. Like changing eligibility requirements, changing the meaning of “impartial” review, changing Medicaid processes, changing when payments are considered fully due.

    If Arduin was as effective as Rauner claims, and helped produce a budget proposal still short by $3Billion, then she helped prove there was no way to simply cut our way out of this mess.

    Still suspect her hiring was to boost credibility with some national campaign funders.

  41. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:25 am:

    Her history of failure continues. Thanks Donna for trying to do to Illinois what you did to Kansas.


  42. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:25 am:

    Walker, her partner, Stephen Moore, wrote nice things about Rauner on the WSJ edit page and in the National Review, and promoted the governor at conservative conferences, without disclosing his firm’s financial interest.

    So in lieu of a budget, let’s just call it a p.r. contract.

  43. - Jack Stephens - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    I don’t recall her proposing draconian cut in Wealthy Welfare, Bruce?

  44. - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    Well, at least Brucie can point to one example of eliminating waste in government!

  45. - Anonin' - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    Could we ask the KansasKomet to chip in for WingMan’s Defense Fund before she checks out.BTW does she get paid for unused vacation time?
    Now we can focus on Lingle. After organizing that marvelous parade can we get an update? How about a ck confirm/deny she has a new job app in?

  46. - CharlieKratos - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    Maybe they’ll use Donna as a scapegoat for all the bad fiscal policy and come to the table with reasonable ideas “now that she’s out of the way”.

  47. - Century Club - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    She’s not a superstar - she’s a hatchet woman.

    Can someone list the innovative budget reforms she brought to Illinois?

    She makes her money because she’s cruel enough to recommend cuts that people actually invested in the State won’t.

  48. - Just Me - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    I’m noticing a lot of mean comments on here. Uncool guys. You can disagree with someone’s policies but calling her names is childish and beneath the dignity of this blog.

  49. - Tyrone - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    Stalemate in Illinois was bad for her resume. No accomplishments or bullet points to list. True marks of a careerist, not a public servant.

  50. - Wensicia - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    She may have decided how and what to cut, but Rauner didn’t like it when he was given the blame for the cruelest of actions. I’m not surprised her services are no longer appreciated.

  51. - From the 'Dale to HP - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    What a waste of taxpayer money.

  52. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    What will her final payout be? How is it prioritized versus other payments since she was a contractor?

    Maybe Nuding can flex some sensible muscles now.

  53. - From the 'Dale to HP - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    Trib ed board should rip Rauner for wasting taxpayer money and time with this hire who couldn’t get anything done. If they’re truly fair and objective, then I don’t know how the Ed Board doesn’t write something on the state/taxpayers spending at least over a hundred of thousand on someone who absolutely and completely failed at her job.

  54. - Juvenal - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:54 am:

    Mission Accomplished.

  55. - walker - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:58 am:

    She might not have had obvious positive impact on the budget, but she might have done some worthwhile things. God knows we needed improvements in a lot of areas.

    Would actually like to hear her take on it, minus partisan attacks, when she’s safely out of the state. Hope she’s not sworn to secrecy.

  56. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 11:03 am:

    You could have Harry Potter as budget director and it wouldn’t matter as long the governor refuses to engage.

    The buck starts and stops with him. But he appears paralyzed by the prospect of heavy lifting.

    It’s extraordinary to me that an Illinois governor has ceded his budget powers to a collection of state and federal judges. What did he think the gig was all about?

    Anyone want to tell the governor that the budget is not going away and that the fixes will only get harder as time goes on?

  57. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    We are experiencing her “solutions” to this fiscal crisis.

    Someone had to agree with Rauner that budget stalemate was a solution. That bankruptcy is a viable option. That destroying unions was how we build communities. Someone had to monitor the vital signs as Rauner tortured Illinois and tried euthanizing it.

    Donna and Bruce now know how low we can go before we pull back from the abyss. She knows how a state goes belly up. Illinois is now stuck through with an exhibit pin, in her “butterfly collection” of state governments.

    Big win for Donna and Bruce, big losses for everyone else. It will take years for Illinois to rebound from their business-sponsored and funded Tuskegee-styled government experiments.

  58. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    Walk - I would be curious to hear her side. I’m guessing she will pen something for the WS-J or Trib about a month or two after her last day. Why not? It can’t hurt, and she’ll still have demand for her services.

  59. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 11:42 am:

    A real superstar would’ve developed a solution that fits Illinois. She just tried the same meat axe solution she’s used elsewhere.

    The next Republican Governor who hires her will waste his/her money. They could just repeat what’s she’s done again and again.

  60. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 11:59 am:

    There are so many state workers who’ve earned so much less than Arduin in a year or two of their jobs, and whose work has been so much more beneficial to the state. It redefines who is a tax eater.

  61. - Not the "A" Team - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    Another A-teamer abandoning ship.

    Either can’t navigate in these waters and jumping ship, or thrown overboard for being ineffective.

    Who’s in charge and making these decisions on who to bring in? The short timer list keeps growing!

  62. - Austin Blvd - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:10 pm:

    She helped create the “Rauner Mess.”
    Thanks Donna.
    Thanks Bruce.

  63. - jacketpotato - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    On to the next biz conservative Guv elected. This consultant/”guru” thing is a good con. Work a election cycle, declare victory (if you won or not), take a year off, repeat.

  64. - Cheswick - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:15 pm:

    @FakeRauner to @FakeSchrimpf: when I said doing a budget is easy, I didn’t know it would be this easy, right? (apologies to @RaunerChicken for ripping his style.)

  65. - Jocko - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:22 pm:

    I’m surprised ck or Lance hasn’t blamed Arduin’s departure on “Madigan and the legislators he controls!”

  66. - Amazing - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    maybe bruce via prompting by the first lady figured out who recommended the changes @dhs?

  67. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    She won’t be the last of the Governors inner circle to leave or get shown the door. All these outsiders with little or no knowledge of Illinois politics bring zero value to the table. Rauner eventually will have to bring aboard people who can get results and not looking for Twitter wars

  68. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 12:56 pm:

    It’s been a long time com in’ It’s goin’ to be a long time gone

    don’t know if it’s darkest before the dawn, but I’ll take her leaving any way I can get it!

  69. - Juvenal - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    === Rauner eventually will have to bring aboard people who can get results and not looking for Twitter wars ===

    Who, exactly, do you think wants to join Team Rauner at this point?

    Knowing how they treat not just Democrats but also members of their own party, not to mention every public interest in the state, working for Team Rauner is a long walk off of a short pier.

    Not many people want that gig on their resume if they are planning on remaining in Illinois.

  70. - burbanite - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    So she finally did something to save the State money!

  71. - jt - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 2:47 pm:

    Did she or will she pay Illinois state taxes?

  72. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 2:48 pm:

    12:49 - not sure if that’s always the best answer, either. Just because someone has knowledge and experience in “Illinois politics” doesn’t mean much when the state’s in a precarious shape. Sometimes, new ideas and approaches are a good thing. But, as you noted, you also have to bring something real and palatable to the table if you’re going to also bring new ideas or a different manner of running the state.

  73. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    Oh geez. From the Twitterverse;

    @natashakorecki: Rauner’s big-salaried budget expert may get second contract extension even as state faces “cash shortage”

  74. - Ghost - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    Since there is no budget do we get the 30k a month back we paid her?

    Cut money to those in need, cut worker salaries and benefits, reduce the minimium wage… For all but her… She gets pay that is the highest salary ever earned by a state worker…. Hmmmm

  75. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 4:34 pm:

    What possible reason could there be to keep Arduin on now?

    You already have a budget director. The judges have assumed the governor’s budget responsibilities. And the governor won’t negotiate on the budget, anyway.

    What would you say…… she does there?

    Maybe there’s some nice WSJ op-eds about the governor from her business partners, Laffer and Moore, in the pipeline.

  76. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 4:42 pm:

    The only reason I can think to keep Arduin on now is the inevitable hard cut choices and someone “outside, yet inside” saying the governor needs more revenue, as a recommendation.

    Rauner needs an in-house scape goat sometime soon for both revelations. Rauner can’t and won’t own them on his own…

  77. - Anonymous Redux - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:43 am:

    Thanks Donna for trying to do to Illinois what you did to Kansas. - Chicago Cynic

    I’m glad she failed to do it to Illinoisans…I was afraid to TurnAround…now I can rest assured I will be able to sit easy.

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