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No ruling in legislative pay case

Thursday, Mar 16, 2017

* No details yet, but the Cook County judge who’s presiding over the legislative pay case deferred a ruling in the matter until next week. The hearing began at 2 o’clock this afternoon.

As you surely know, former Comptroller Leslie Munger put legislator paychecks into the same waiting line as social service vendors, delaying those paychecks by as long as six months. That practice has continued under current Comptroller Susana Mendoza. A lawsuit was brought shortly after the election to end the practice.

The preliminary reports I’m hearing are that the judge was actually leaning against the legislators who brought the suit.

Briefs are due next Wednesday and there will be a hearing next Thursday the 22nd Friday the 23rd.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Moby - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:02 pm:

    The conspiracy theorist in me has always wondered if the Republican legislators are being helped financially by Uncle Bruce to make this painless to them.

  2. - Demoralized - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:03 pm:

    I still don’t think that paychecks should be held. I understand we are talking about legislator paychecks but they are paychecks nonetheless. This is just wrong.

  3. - Jaisen - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:06 pm:

    That’s some Trump thinking there Moby.

  4. - ejpp - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:08 pm:

    I would hope so. If delaying payments to suppliers/vendors is fine because the legislators have failed to do their jobs, then they should be effected the same way because of their failures. If they want to be paid promptly then pass a balanced budget.

  5. - Out Here In The Middle - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:13 pm:

    Wait. Are legislators working “inside” government or “outside”? Because I hear there are a lot of people working outside and apparently they don’t deserve to be paid.

  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:15 pm:

    Ejpp- pressure then through the polls, not the pocketbook. Unless you want more corruption.

  7. - tobias846 - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:18 pm:

    I feel a bit conflicted over this; people deserve to be paid promptly for their work. However, I don’t want Illinois politicians to be insulated from the consequences of their actions. Why should they be paid when state vendors and contractors aren’t?

    However, the current payment delay hasn’t seem to given the GA any sense of urgency. At this point I’m wondering if there is ANY catastrophe that would motivate them to act. The horror stories pile up by the day, and the prevailing attitude in Springfield still seems to be “meh, whaddaya gonna do.”

  8. - illini - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:21 pm:

    So let me understand this - Dentists, hospitals and clinics are waiting up to 2 years to be paid for their services to state employees. A local medical equipment supplier received some bad press recently for almost removing removing a life-saving breathing machine from a year old son of a state employee. The State was over 20 months behind in their reimbursement.

    Yet our members of the GA are only waiting 6 months to be paid!

    Does anyone else see a problem here?

  9. - justpeachy - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:24 pm:

    There are a lot of social service agencies who have done their job and not received their pay for months and months…why should legislators get their pay for NOT doing their job??

  10. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:28 pm:

    While I can get see the logic behind “make them wait like everyone else” we also have to realize that for many of these legislators this is a job that they rely on. Obviously the governor is in a very different economic position which is why he doesn’t take a salary. But do we really want a person who deems his pay inconsequential to be able to withhold pay from those that don’t go along with his demands?

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    Why should the judges be paid?

  12. - PJ - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:30 pm:

    Are all you “don’t pay em til they pass a budget” folks aware that the governor actually has to sign any budget they pass? And that the average GA member has little to no say on how things progress from here?

    Are you in favor of a legislature made up entirely of people rich enough to without pay for half a year or more? Is that the kind of representation you want?

  13. - walker - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:35 pm:

    This has come up more than once recently, in discussions with good, qualified people who were previously considering running for public office.

  14. - LTSW - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:41 pm:

    Legislators are not in an employee/employer relationship with the state. They should be in line with other vendors. But what we are now seeing, when cash is insufficient to pay all the bills, the Comptroller has the ability to decide who gets paid and when. I doubt the ConCon delegates thought about this situation when they spelled out the Comptroller’s duties.

  15. - Fixer - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:44 pm:

    I get the moral outrage that a lot of people have over this issue, but from a legal view I don’t see how this holds up.

  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 4:50 pm:

    ===I don’t want Illinois politicians to be insulated from the consequences of their actions===

    That’s supposed to be handled by the voters.

    And who gets to decide what is and is not a balanced budget? Mendoza? Really? Where exactly is that power vested in her?

  17. - P. - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 5:02 pm:

    Anyone with a handy dandy calculator can determine if a budget is balanced right? We all agree the newest one was not balanced? I mean everyone except Mr GOMB.

  18. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 5:04 pm:

    Not to be pedantic, but next Friday is the 24th.

  19. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 5:20 pm:

    If the Legislature passed a balanced budget and it was vetoed by the Governor then I would be sympathetic about their situation. What recently occurred though was that GOP and Democrats in the Senate reached agreement on a grand bargain. The Governor then told the GOP members to drop their support and they obeyed their master. Those GOP members who are not representing the best interests of their Districts but instead enabling Rauner and his hostage taking don’t deserve to be paid. I’d say the same thing if the Democrats were engaged in this same behavior. I’m not sure that it is legal to withhold their pay though. The ILSC can decide that. Maybe that would break the impasse if enough GOP members decided to buck Rauner and vote for a override so that they could get paid. One thing the Legislature has always been good at is putting their own interest above that of the average citizen so this should be doable for them.

  20. - Former hillrod - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 5:20 pm:

    On a related note regarding AG Madigan’s lawsuit to halt employee pay, the governor insists that state employees’ should be paid just like legislators. Hmmm.

  21. - A Jack - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 5:53 pm:

    My problem with this is that the Governor’s staff is still being paid. However, did they create a balanced budget proposal for the GA to pass?

  22. - Sue - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 5:56 pm:

    Let’s see if the Judge hangs tough with his “leanings”. With Kasper representing the plaintiffs the Judge knows full well who he will be ruling against

  23. - A Jack - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 6:13 pm:

    They should cut off GOMB’s Scott Harry’s pay. He hasn’t come up with any cuts.

  24. - Because I said so.... - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 6:16 pm:

    I get the anger. I’m angry too. But in this huge mess scenario, who is not doing there job? I would argue that is the governor, not the members of the GA.

  25. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 7:05 pm:

    – Why should the judges be paid.–

    Geez, do you want to go full Banana Republic? We’re embarrassingly close as it is.

    Do you want to go to court where a judge is not being paid, or whose pay is subject to be taken away by politicians? Confident you’ll get a fair shake? Think that might a breeding ground for corruption?

    It would be swell if we could get to the point where the three branches of government are doing their own jobs. Their roles are very muddled right now, with the executive trying to run the legislature and the judiciary writing most of the budget.

  26. - Deft Wing - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 7:19 pm:

    Preliminary “ruling” seems to be all about the legislature’s ability to avail themselves of some self-help …Like doing their job and passing a budget.

  27. - Living it daily - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 7:26 pm:

    A Jack is correct the gov. staff is still getting paid, of course from who’s agency and maybe we could start with that for cutbacks, I mean really paying Munger out of employees health payments that are not paid to the health providers of the employees. Bad policy begets bad policy, I also wonder how many of the superstars got the 1st tier vs the second tier, and now they want to make a third tier.

  28. - wondering - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 8:36 pm:

    I have to wonder why anyone would see withholding the legislator’s pay until they pass something the executive approves is anything but extortion. They are doing their job, they are reviewing and passing judgement on Rauner’s “budget”. Saying “no” is just as valid as saying “yes” in terms of legislation.

  29. - Deft Wing - Friday, Mar 17, 17 @ 8:17 am:

    Holy missing the point above, Batman! If you want to run with the “evil Gov./extortion stuff” shouldn’t the legislature pass a budget that the Gov. vetoes (in whole or in part) first?

    Yeah, yeah, I know he didn’t initially submit a balanced budget (ever). He submitted … budgets. None of which were balanced. That’s hardly worse than passing unbalanced budgets into law (see the past 20 or so years, as the never-ending Exhibit A). What’s comical, and sad really, is the suggestion that Rauner’s failure to propose a balanced budget renders the legislature a nullity. That’s right because the big, bad (goofy?) Gov. ain’t fully doing his job, that excuses, or requires, the feckless legislature to double-down on its fecklessness?! C’mon.

    That’s THE point of the Judge’s comments yesterday as to why he doesn’t seem interested in ruling that the Legislators should be paid first. The legislature can, and should, pass a budget and submit it to the Gov. If they persist (ha!) in their fecklessness, they will be paid similar to all creditors of the State — real slow.

  30. - A Jack - Friday, Mar 17, 17 @ 9:11 am:

    Well they could start by delaying all pay for pay codes starting with 01 which is the Governor’s Office and maybe 02, the Lt Gov. The Comptroller should be able to do that fairly easily.

  31. - A Jack - Friday, Mar 17, 17 @ 9:16 am:

    After all, if we want to inflict pain into the process it should be shared by the Governor’s office, if not the Governor himself. If GOMB was doing its job, they would have proposed a balanced budget and would be able to present a list of cuts.

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