Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker to double top staff pay out of his own pocket
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker to double top staff pay out of his own pocket

Friday, Jan 11, 2019

* I told subscribers about this earlier today. Tribune

Billionaire Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, who pumped more than $171 million of his own wealth into his campaign to defeat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in November, now will use his own money to bolster his top government aides’ salaries, his transition team reported Friday.

Pritzker’s incoming Chief of Staff Anne Caprara will be paid a salary of $298,000 — $148,000 in state money and $150,000 more from East Jackson Street LLC, an organization Pritzker set up to “enable the governor-elect to personally compensate some staff in addition to their government salary,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Rauner’s chief, by comparison, made $180,000 in 2018, according to state records. […]

Pritzker’s transition pointed to former New York City mayor and fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg supplementing his staff’s pay with his own money. The transition says Pritzker’s move means some aides will have lower taxpayer-funded salaries than Rauner’s, and they’ll have to report the supplemental income on ethics forms.

* Sun-Times

The double salary will be apply to Pritzker’s chief of staff Anne Caprara, his three deputy governors Dan Hynes, Christian Mitchell and Jesse Ruiz and their special assistants, deputy chiefs of staff and other high-level employees. It will apply to 20 positions, including some that have not been filled. […]

The deputy governors will make $278,000: $139,000 each from the state and the LLC. Senior adviser Nikki Budzinski will make the same.

His deputy chiefs of staff, including Emily Bittner, who will run his communications staff, will make $174,000 and Abudayyeh, his press secretary, will have her state salary of $75,000 doubled to $150,000. […]

Staff who receive the additional pay will be required to publicly report it in line with other public disclosures.

* Press release…

The Governor-Elect is committed to recruiting top talent to state government to best address the challenges Illinois faces. As a result, an LLC has been created that will enable the Governor-Elect to personally compensate some staff in addition to their government salary, reducing the cost to taxpayers. This process will take place in a transparent manner with requirements that information be reported publicly.

Subscribers know more, but the Pritzker transition claims he will not take any tax deductions on the supplemental payments.

* Two former Raunerites told me the same thing earlier today…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:38 am:

    It’s really going to (stink) when a regular person is elected Governor someday who can’t afford to pay for top talent out of his or her own pocket.

    I’m glad Pritzker (and Bloomberg) recognize that the labor market requires going the extra mile to get the best people, but really, when the taxpayers can’t afford to hire the best, what does that say about us? Maybe we’ve demonized teachers and public servants for so long why would any sane person get into this line of work? And yet, if we can’t get good and honest folks to teach and work for the public, our future isn’t too bright?

    Imagine when we elect another person like Pat Quinn, who doesn’t have two nickels to rub together. Who will take those jobs and all of the headaches that come with them, for the relative pittance the taxpayers are willing to pay?

    It’s a conundrum for sure.

  2. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    And what happens to those bonuses when J.D. Pritzker either does not get reelected or decides to move on?

  3. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    From my perspective, this is JB’s first bad move of the transition. I have deep concerns over the precedent this sets. While there may be justification for higher pay for senior level employees, paying supplements from non-government sources raises major conflict.

    Decisions by these staff members should be based on what’s good for the State of Illinois, not on what is good for the guy who is paying over half of the money they’re receiving.

    I can’t help but wonder whether there are some personnel laws out there that could create problems.

    In addition, it places Gov office employees in a special status not enjoyed by regular state employees. I hate to rain on folks’ big pay, but this must to be reversed before JB takes office.

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    I am absolutely against this. Is it legal under state law? If so, let’s change that.

    The people in question should be state employees that work for the governor of Illinois — not JB Pritzker. Their loyalties should be to the state and the office, not any individual.

    TII. I don’t want top state employees angling for bonuses from the boss’ personal kitty. I want them to do their jobs under the law.

    Can you imagine if Blago could have afforded such a scheme?

    Pritzker should withdraw the plan, or the GA should seek to block it. Horrible idea, terrible precedent.

  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    Louis, what sort of question is that?

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    Louis agrees with 47th that state employees should be paid more from the public purse, is what it seems.

  7. - Sam Hall - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    Isn’t it a conflict of interest to work for a LLC when you are supposed to be working for State? And how does this play out with Pritzker’s “blind” trust if he can direct it to hire people?

  8. - lakeside - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    Yeah, this is a bad, bad precedent, and just reinforces my belief that we shouldn’t have billionaires for governor. These folks will work hard and deserve to be compensated for it, but they are state employees not Pritzker employees and their pay should reflect this.

    And unfortunately, the people who should be telling him this is a bad move are the ones that stand to benefit. Can’t blame them, but it’s also exactly why they shouldn’t be paid this money by him.

  9. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:47 am:

    Louis, are you going to get silly on us now that your hero has been humiliated because of his failure. C’mon man, you know what happens to that supplemental pay when JB leaves.

  10. - Peoples Republic of Oak Park - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:47 am:

    Love JB, but this is just bad form. As a state employee, I can not take a gift from a lobbyist, but I can take a bonus from my boss.

  11. - plainfield liberal - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:47 am:

    People should be paid what they are worth, although that rarely happens in government. I applaud JB’s action. How many people reading this that have worked for the state feel like they were not compensated according to their skill level and performance?

    I bet I am not alone here on this one. We could take a poll.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:48 am:

    This is a terrible precedent.

    Ok, let’s remember, at times, electeds will pay folks in their staff out of campaign funds, to supplement, and this practice is not at a scale of this, meaning the actual governing to the staff is now measured at a matrix other governors likely will never be able to match.

    Had I been successful with my write-in campaign, and I’m grateful to - Norseman - who ran a great campaign, how could I meet these benchmarks and pay - Norseman - at this level of pay? How could - Norseman - not ask for these “levels of equality”?

    The thing about public service is the service part of the job.

    That’s it.

    If the goal here is to make administration positions seem less attractive after Pritzker leaves, congratulations, it succeeded.

    This move will be seen going forward as the move that made public service in Illinois about “how much is in it for me?”

    The equity to selflessly work for a better Illinois is now about the matrix Pritzker has made what he values (which I have no problem with in the spirit of its intent) these positions, but the state and its own matrix see much different.

  13. - VerySmallRocks - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:48 am:

    As someone who supported Pritzker, I think this sets a bad precedent.any expedient reasons for doing this, like attracting “top talent”, erodes the concept of public service to the people. Maybe salaries have to be increased for those types of positions, though they have been generally stepping stones of no more than a few years to something way more lucrative. But it should be taxpayers footing the bill. This move further institutionalizes privatization and elective office being the purview of the wealthy.

  14. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    ==Louis, what sort of question is that?==

    My thought is towards the future. Pritzker is planning to fund these bonuses from some foundation he is creating. He will fund them out of his own pocket. That is my general understanding.

    So four/eight/twelve years later Pritzker is no longer governor. The incoming staff of the new governor get paid without those bonuses. (Assuming the replacement governor is not a generous billionaire). At that point, few or fewer will want to work for the State in those positions where those bonuses are designed to supplement salaries. I don’t get the long term solution here? Or do we keep on electing multi-millionaires or billionaires and kick that can down the road?

  15. - Fixer - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    My first thought was how is this legal? A pay bump was just approved for several positions. My second was this is going to cause issues with the ethics trainings employees are required to do annually.

  16. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    ===Louis agrees with 47th that state employees should be paid more from the public purse, is what it seems.===

    As a matter of fact, I do.

  17. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    I am with Word, is this legal? it shouldn’t be.

    I am not opposed to paying people commensurate with duties and qualification but this doesn’t seem right.

    =And what happens to those bonuses when J.D. Pritzker either does not get reelected or decides to move on?=

    I don’t know, but maybe you should ask Leslie Munger?

  18. - InterestedObserver - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    Is it possible that this is being somewhat influenced by the new ban on “off-shoring” Governor’s Office personnel to Agencies?

  19. - Earnest - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    On the one hand, the concerns raised are valid. On the other, he already has full hiring and firing authority over these positions, so the money doesn’t change the motivation of pleasing your boss so you get to keep your job. I can live with it. What I couldn’t tolerate would be using his money to undermine the independence of the legislative branch.

  20. - Earnest - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    On the one hand, the concerns raised are valid. On the other, he already has full hiring and firing authority over these positions, so the money doesn’t change the motivation of pleasing your boss so you get to keep your job. I can live with it. What I couldn’t tolerate would be using his money to undermine the independence of the legislative branch.

  21. - State Employee - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    Um couldn’t a future Rauner use this to funnel money to IPI to pay bonuses to his staff?

  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    This type of move, better, worse, good or bad, will have a lasting effect well after Pritzker leaves and damages future administrations by setting an unrealistic view of how one is measured financially to the position one might take with a governor not named Pritzker.

    It’s short sided and could lead to a diminished value of public service.

  23. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    Dear Anne,

    You and staff had been doing a great job thus far with the transition. While I’m sorry this will be financially painful to you, the supplemental pay issue is governmentally and ethically wrong. Practically, JB’s money can’t be used to address every issue. It can’t be used here.

    Make the case for a little more money (we still have money problems), but the supplement must be reversed. Quick action will prevent this from becoming the first black mark on JB’s administration.

  24. - Griffin - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    I’m not a comp consultant so can someone tell me if this is good.

    - 94% of workforce is paid according to a rigid schedule with no ability to incentivize performance with variable pay.
    - 6% responsible for all day-to-day management with little-to-no job protection have gotten sqaut for 10 years and are frequently paid less than subordinates.
    - Leadership received 100% bonuses, annually, before doing 1 day of work.

  25. - Responsa - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    Oh man. Somehow I doubt that JB himself came up with this very bad idea. But one would have hoped that he would have intuitively understood that it was a very bad idea. Whoever it was that convinced him that this would work and look OK must be identified (at least internally within the new administration ) and disallowed from advising the governor in the future.

  26. - Nick Name - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    Agree with pretty much everyone else here. If this is legal, it needs to be made illegal - and the GA should be prepared to override if Pritzker vetoes.

    Pritzker’s staff, like very other state employee and elected official, work for the people. Not for Pritzker.

  27. - Iggy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    I won’t expect the new AG to even think twice about this. So the question is who can check this move? Or does the love of JB blind all from common sense?

  28. - Duke of Normandy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    I understand well paid employees tend to be happier and work harder (generally). But the this makes me think, like others have mentioned, that this will further lead us down a path where we’re governed exclusively by the wealthy. Hopefully that’s not a little tin foil hat-ish.

  29. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    == is this legal? ==

    Been many years since I had to fill out the multiple financial disclosure and ethics forms for the various entities. And laws may have changed since then.

    But from what I remember, outside income of almost all types was legal unless your management objected … you just had to disclose it. And got the record, it was mostly rental property income, plus some royalities, that I had to list. No paid work for political organizations or lobbyists.

  30. - Sue - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:04 pm:

    If Pritzker isn’t taking deductions are these payments outright gifts for which the recipients need not pay taxes?

  31. - a drop in - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:04 pm:

    “Imagine when we elect another person like Pat Quinn, who doesn’t have two nickels to rub together.”

    They will probably use a Gofundme site. /s

  32. - lakeside - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    If this is the road we’re going down: why not let a non-profit sponsor government employees salaries, the point State Employee raises? How about corporate sponsorship? The United Airlines Chief of Staff?

    To Plainfield’s point - I was an underpaid state employee. I think we should pay people what they’re worth - but the state needs to pay it. This is just wrong.

  33. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===I won’t expect the new AG to even think twice about this.===

    I bet Kwame is wondering if he can get a Pritzker premium too. Lol.

  34. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    This is exactly the sort of bad idea that looks like a good idea to a political novice.

    The political pros on JB’s staff should never have let this plan see the light of day.

    – MrJM

  35. - Perrid - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    This seems questionable to me, ethically. JB might have the best intentions in the world, but the possible ways this could be abused, or lead to conflicts of interest, are very concerning.

  36. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    For those complaining about the look or the ethics, you’re right. But consider this, in a comparable position of responsibility in a private company, how much would Caprera, Mitchell, Hynes, etc. make? A lot, probably a lot more than this. We need to pay people for what they do fairly. If we did this in the upper echelon of government, maybe we’d see a little less or even a lot less of the revolving door. We’d also see good people continue to grow in their positions and be in a stronger position to make needed and critical reforms.

  37. - Flapdoodle - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    Wrong for many reasons — major misstep, whatever the motivation

  38. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    If JB is who I think and hope he is, he will soon issue a mea culpa and scrap this.

  39. - Bigtwich - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    Except for the first $15,000 or so, someone is going to have to pay gift tax.

  40. - Fav Human - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    You can give anyone roughly 15k tax free. After that it’s taxable.

  41. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    Good, I imagine Bernie Bros hate it though.

  42. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    This interesting tidbit from Mark Maxwell, @WCIA3Mark 40m 40 minutes ago

    Several sources with knowledge said Rauner had a similar arrangement with one of his deputy governors, and it created a minor rift among those who didn’t get the perk.

    This should help JB and Anne with their decision to reverse the pay plan. If it is a practice adopted by Rauner, it has to be bad. Reverse it now.

  43. - Keyrock - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    The key problem with the plan is it’s not outside income. It’s one thing if you help out in the family restaurant, or accounting practice, or whatever, get paid, and report it.

    It’s a different thing if you are being by an outside entity for your government work. Disclosure doesn’t eliminate the actual harm from having a dual loyalty, or the appearance problem.

    This is a terrible idea.

  44. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    Guess it salves his conscience a bit that the billionaire boss does not have to face his pauper- salaried staff every day. And that $400 neckties are not out of their reach. Oh well, more revenues for Illinois once they move on progressive taxes.

  45. - What's in a name? - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    I agree the move is concerning. That said, we have serious problems and will need serious people to solve them. If they solve the problems in a year or two or at least put us on that road, the tax payers should happily pay that amount. You Should get what you pay for.

  46. - Chris Widger - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    This feels like the wrong decision. If the Trump Organization gave an extra $200,000 a year to each Cabinet head, people would cry foul and rightfully so.

  47. - SinkingShip - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    So many clutched pearls. I fail to see how this sets bad precedent. Future governors are not bound to follow what J.B. does, since he’s not ordering that their pay be supplemented with state funds. No future administration official could seek to enforce a past practice. Assuming that–since no one has said anything to the contrary–that the supplemental payments are unconditional, there’s no loyalty question: as others have pointed out, several of those high-level employees serve at the pleasure of the governor and can leave anytime. The payments seem pretty transparent, since it’s clear where they’re coming from and for what purpose. One might even argue that the payments help deter those high-level employees from accepting payments for anything untoward. I agree with 47 that future governors will have to reckon with their predecessor’s choice, but that’s not very high on the list of problems that Illinois currently has.

    Paying them more money doesn’t exert any additional influence on them other than to encourage them to stick around. Businesses do this all the time. (Didn’t someone else say they wanted to run the state more like a business?) The additional payments come at no cost to the taxpayer, indirectly pump more of J.B.’s money into the economy and state coffers, and could (could) add stability to the administration by lowering the attrition rate of high-level employees. If that extra money helps create an atmosphere that will focus even harder on fixing some of Illinois’ problems, great. I just wish I was on the receiving end of some of that cash.

  48. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    So Christian Mitchell got Pritzker his 15% salary bump and now will receive personally from Pritzker over $500,000 total over the next 4 years.

  49. - Matt Vernau - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    We have been living in a Plutocracy for some time now. It is money that votes. Can any commenter here
    afford to run against a Billionaire?

  50. - Amalia - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    No. No. No. No. there should not be a personal monetary relationship between the staff and the elected. sure, you are hired by the guy, but, this is more, and strange. AND, sets a bad precedent. We want people who are not billionaires to be elected. billionaire, and different ability to pay, should not be the default. this makes it the default. government is service. pay is lower. accept it or don’t. salaries to suit the job but NOT the same pay as the private sector. this is a huge mistake.

  51. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    Agree with all that say this is a bad idea/precedent - its a fly in the ointment for Pritzkers heretofore breezy introduction to the new job. Hopefully he reads these comments and takes corrective action (without blaming underlings). On the other hand, the comment “I worked for the wrong billionaire” was pretty good.

  52. - thoughts matter - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    We don’t let state employee do campaign work on state time, state facilities or with state resources. The idea of them collecting side money to do what is supposed to be their state job doesn’t seem right to me. Do they answer to the taxpayer or to that LLC? What about when campaign season starts up again? How will we know that LLC isn’t used to pay campaign work?
    I can’t get a raise because my personnel department thinks the staff in my department make too much money. We don’t, especially when compared to the private sector. I can bet taxpayers would be up in arms if I was getting money on the side and so would the personnel department, and the IG.

  53. - Anotheretiree - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    ==Sue which the recipients need not pay taxes? ==
    I wondered about the mechanics of this….but its the “gifter” who file and pays the tax.

  54. - Cadillac - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    Nice. Our very first real Pritzkerites have been born.

  55. - Pekin Pete - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    ==So Christian Mitchell got Pritzker his 15% salary bump and now will receive personally from Pritzker over $500,000 total over the next 4 years.==

    JB had been angling hard for that extra 15% bump. Very likely would not have taken the job without it.

  56. - Grandpa2 - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    An argument can be made that this concept originated when Rauner hired Purvis on contract for $250,000 as Secretary of Education. At least Pritzker is using his own money.

  57. - Roman - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    This is not necessary to get “good people” to work in the governors office.

    In a matter of minutes, I can think of a dozen Democratic political and government pros who would be happy to got to work as a deputy guv for 139k a year — and be really good at their jobs.

  58. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    This sounds nice but man, does it create some risks.

    Imagine this down the road.

    So was your decision not to report X driven in part by concern that it might impact the additional compensation you receive from the governor?

    No, I didn’t feel it was reportable.


    Did you feel that the person should not be treated the same because of the Governor did not deem them worthy of additional compensation?

    No, I did not.


    Also using a vague LLC name doesn’t do this whole thing any favors, why not just the LLC something like Governors Compensation Fund LLC or something. East Jackson Street LLC sounds like a legal entity created to buy a mall on East Jackson Street…

  59. - BraidwoodBilly - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    Wondering if this is legal? Even if it is, seems like a bad precedent to have half your salary coming from an LLC rather than the state. Seems like this situation is ripe for a conflict of interest. It also does nothing for public perception of Pritzker, this makes him seem out of touch because I cant imagine most Governors being able to dig into their own pockets to bump pay for their staff. I can also imagine how outrageous this would be viewed as if someone like Rauner tried it back in the day…

  60. - Peters Piece - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    Probably should have sought to solve a more pressing problem first. The states problems / solutions need deep thinking. This is not deep thinking.

  61. - don the legend - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    Are these supplemental salaries calculated in their pension?

  62. - anon - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    As a taxpayer and citizen, I am fine with this. I see it as a way to recruit and retain top talent who would otherwise forego public service for higher-paying jobs in the private sector. These are not independently wealthy people, at the tail end of previously lucrative careers — they are folks presently in their working prime. As an ultimate beneficiary of the work of good people, I am fine with this being a way to help secure top talent.

    On the question of where loyalties run, these folks all serve at the pleasure of the Governor…and so long as he puts the interests of the people first, everything aligns (I might feel differently if Blago set up something like this, but J.B. has caused me no concern about his motivations). In my mind, this is different than private interests, with self-serving policy interests, supplementing government worker pay (it’s a unique circumstance where the office-holder himself is the sole source of funding).

    I accept and respect that others here see things differently.

  63. - Former State emoloyee - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    When I worked for the state, took a $40k base salary reduction. No including stock options etc. no expense account. Just the cost of public service.

  64. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    You used to have to sell a boatload of fundraising tickets to get that kind of supplemental income in the governor’s office.

    See how far we’ve come?

  65. - Pyrman - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    I don’t have a problem with the supplemental payments, it is being done openly and it appears it is legal.

  66. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:41 pm:

    “I don’t have a problem with the supplemental payments, it is being done openly and it appears it is legal.” Agreeed

  67. - Generic Drone - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    Ethics 101 says this is wrong.

  68. - JB13 - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    And would JB’s supplemental pay count against their future pensions?

  69. - S of I 70 - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    Is this a gift taxable to the governor, or are these wages subject to SS and Medicare taxes?

    What is the interplay with the state pension system?

    Is the governor contractually bound to pay these amounts or can he revoke them at any time?

  70. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    I wish I was top talent. :-(

  71. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    I worked for 4 different Cook County States Attorneys in my career as an ASA. My loyalty was always to The Office, rather than to the office holder, regardless of political party. If you’re working for someone who is doubling your salary you might be more concerned over what’s best for that person, rather than what’s best for the State.

  72. - pool boy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    A billionaire that is out of touch with reality, how can this be?

  73. - WizardOfOzzie - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    This is an awful idea. Awful. Awful. Awful.

    There is a difference between missionaries and mercenaries. I get that JB paid Anne a lot on the campaign. And Jesse is taking a pay cut from his law firm and Dan from his investment banking job… but they should be able to afford to work for a few years at a pay cut if they actually care about the State. Is Anne twice as valuable as the agency directors? This will be demoralizing. It’s short sighted and will cause all sorts of resentment and problems for those with the “superstar” salaries.

    This is offensive. It’s also the first commercial of the 2020 general election campaign. Nice work Anne.

  74. - thunderspirit - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    This is a terrible idea, and absolutely sets a bad precedent. All future administrations are going to need to be self-financing billionaires themselves.

  75. - California Guy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    @Oswego Willy

    ==This move will be seen going forward as the move that made public service in Illinois about “how much is in it for me?”==

    Was there a time when this was not the case?

  76. - ryan - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    Looks to me like this violates the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. From the exceptions to the Gift Ban (5 ILCS 430/10-15):

    Anything provided by an individual on the basis of a personal friendship unless the member, officer, or employee has reason to believe that, under the circumstances, the gift was provided because of the official position or employment of the member, officer, or employee and not because of the personal friendship.

    Gift definition:

    “Gift” means any gratuity, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other tangible or intangible item having monetary value including, but not limited to, cash, food and drink, and honoraria for speaking engagements related to or attributable to government employment or the official position of an employee, member, or officer. The value of a gift may be further defined by rules adopted by the appropriate ethics commission or by the Auditor General for the Auditor General and for employees of the office of the Auditor General.

  77. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    ===Was there a time when this was not the case?===

    Your cynicism overlooks public precedent to the move of salaries and value and job pay.

    I’m sure it felt good to type.

  78. - Token Conservative - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    $150,000 is quite the pay raise coming from WICS.

  79. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    My understanding is that State employees can now receive extra pay, gifts and benefits as long as the donor reports it. If I am wrong, I don’t see the difference.

  80. - SSL - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    Good intentions but awful in every way. Give the new Governor a chance to fix this. Hopefully he see why it was wrong.

  81. - Honeybear - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    “Was there a time when this was not the case?”

    I can only speak for me. Working as a DHS Caseworker is a calling that I left ministry for. I get to daily serve good people, who are poor, disabled or elderly.
    To me, there is no greater compensation than helping folks who are doing their best to overcome the barriers to self-sufficiency. I daily feel that “I made a difference” in a way more profound than when I was a hospice chaplain.
    And yes, I do feel that I am paid fairly and have good benefits. I am not paycheck to paycheck but I am not able to save for retirement at this point. Two daughters going to college next year have me locked up for a bit. So the 22k a year I will receive at age 67 when I retire will be a great help.
    No California Guy, there are so many like me in public service. Many more than the “what’s in it for me” person.

  82. - Griffin - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    I see a lot of campaign, city, former local politicos. etc. cashing in here. That is, the usual crowd. And that is not meant as a pejorative. Who could they not have gotten otherwise? I’d rather he just be open and say, I like these people, and I want to give them a bunch of my money because I can, so I will. Spare us the rationale for #BTIAv2.

  83. - Team America - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    If Governor JB backs away from this or it’s otherwise blocked, let’s see how many of his named appointees currently in the private sector find some reason not to take the job after all.

  84. - atbat - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:52 pm:

    There is a gift ban in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. It is unclear if any of the exceptions apply. The Executive Ethics Commission should weigh in on this proposal.

  85. - Centennial - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    Man. I have been on cloud nine with every step this Administration has made up to this point. So disappointed with this move. I was all for the 15% bump to directors and even paying staff a bit more money as well, but this goes way too far. JB can’t/shouldn’t be buying his staff. There are times they will need to (or should) say no to him. The likelihood of that, in my opinion, decreases dramatically with this scheme. This set up may benefit the high level staff and the politician, but it certainly is not in the best interest of the people.

  86. - Centennial - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    I also have great respect for few people at the top there. Most I don’t know, but the few I do are great. I’m surprised they advised him that this was a wise move.

  87. - None - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    Now will he put rank and file workers at their proper step and pay the backpay?

  88. - Sue - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    Assuming JB’s team reviews these comments- do yourselves a big favor. Figure out the total cost of this and make an annual contribution to the Dept of Revenue. The employees total salary should come from Illinois along with the benefit costs. If JB wants to do this avoid the headache and simply reimburse the State thru an annual gift to the States general fund

  89. - Fiormer state employee - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    The political class continues to separate itself from the governed. It’s not just the billionaires.

  90. - LTSW - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    One Man I think the East Hackson Street LLC name comes from the address of the Governor’s mansion.

  91. - CPS Eagle - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    Ardent JB supporter here. My reaction: ummmmm.

    Potential upsides: recruiting top political talent, securing loyalty among senior staff, ensuring little to no turnover.

    Downsides: sounds shady at best and unlawful at worst to the public, will no-doubt create HIGHLY competitive & potentially toxic environment among low/mid-level staff looking to move up and cash in, expectation for the Gov to use personal funds to support other state initiatives.

    I hope people *outside* his hired inner circle had input in this decision. (insert dollar sign emoji here please, k thanks)

  92. - LTSW - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    Jackson. Touché from AFSCME.

  93. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    The priority should be to lower the cost of government. Too bad the unions don’t get that.

  94. - Golffanatc - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    How will one know who’s money supports East Jackson LLC? How do we know it is 100% Pritzker’s money? What prevents special interest groups from being part of the funding of this LLC and then each of those being paid half their compensation feeling the need to act on behalf of those interests and not necessarily what’s best for Illinois?

  95. - Honeybear - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    To the update, Thank you Anders Lindall for saying what is on the minds and hearts of loyal, hardworking, frontline state employees. I’m proud that my union stands up for me and gives voice to our needs.

  96. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    == Are these supplemental salaries calculated in their pension? ==

    Don’t know for sure, but short of some financial shenanigans, it should not be part of the earnings used to calculate a pension.

  97. - A Jack - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    These bonuses won’t affect pensions since the bonuses are outside of the system that tracks compensation and contributions. An employee has to be paid by the Comptroller for that pay to be considered in the pension calculation.

  98. - Chicagonk - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    Are we sure that it’s just JB’s money in the LLC or do we just take him at his word. Even if done with good intentions, this is surely something with a lot of potential for abuse.

  99. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    Anonymous @ 2:38 pm was I.

    == Figure out the total cost of this and make an annual contribution to the Dept of Revenue. The employees total salary should come from Illinois along with the benefit costs. ==

    If you do it this way, then yes, it would be the basis for their pensions limited by any possible Tier 2 restrictions.

  100. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    ===calculated in their pension?===


  101. - Centennial - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    Well played, AFCME.

  102. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    JB doing what JB does—writes checks.

    His definition of leadership.

  103. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    I don’t really follow Decatur / Macon County politics but I do know Howard Buffet dumped a ton of money into the local economy. I know at least some of it went for tangible items like buildings and supplies.

    Does anybody know if some it went for salaries / bonuses; how that was handled and if there were any issues?

  104. - Reserved - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    What about the Lt. Gov, will she be able to get more pay since her salary is set by law?

  105. - City Zen - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    AFSCME state employees will be paid by West Jackson Street LLC.

  106. - don the legend - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    I agree that all the concerns and objections are valid.

    ButlLet’s fast forward four years and imagine the state has made tangible strides and is in an improved position and all can see that.

    Then raise these subsidized salaries to the current level, remove the subsidy and no more “conflict”.

  107. - Shevek - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Re Gift Ban: As someone who has had to interpret the gift ban on many occasions for the agency I work for, I can tell you that even if this is considered a gift, it would not be a gift from a “prohibited source”. Gifts are only banned from a prohibited source:

    “Prohibited source” means any person or entity who:
    (1) is seeking official action (i) by the member or officer or (ii) in the case of an employee, by the employee or by the member, officer, State agency, or other employee directing the employee;
    (2) does business or seeks to do business (i) with the member or officer or (ii) in the case of an employee, with the employee or with the member, officer, State agency, or other employee directing the employee;
    (3) conducts activities regulated (i) by the member or officer or (ii) in the case of an employee, by the employee or by the member, officer, State agency, or other employee directing the employee;
    (4) has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the official duties of the member, officer, or employee;
    (5) is registered or required to be registered with the Secretary of State under the Lobbyist Registration Act, except that an entity not otherwise a prohibited source does not become a prohibited source merely because a registered lobbyist is one of its members or serves on its board of directors; or
    (6) is an agent of, a spouse of, or an immediate family member who is living with a “prohibited source”.

  108. - Shevek - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    Now if the additional income is seen as outside employment (which is apparently how JB’s attorneys are looking at it), as long as the outside employment does not pose a conflict of interest in the State employee’s duties and does not interfere with the employee’s duties, it is permitted. The only requirement, as was indicated, is that the income be reported on the individual’s Statement of Economic Interest.

  109. - Soccermom - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    State employees work for the people, not the Governor. I think they should be paid by the people as well.

    And it is appropriate to ask what happens in future administrations. Suppose a governor does not have a large personal fortune. Would it be acceptable to open up an LLC and ask for donations for salary boosters from “fans of good government”? This opens up an ethical quagmire.

    I am sure JB had the best of intentions in creating this system. But the road to Springfield is paved with good intentions…

  110. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Dumb, and I’m frankly amazed Ms. Caprara didn’t see this problem for what it was beforehand. Or maybe she did and doesn’t care now that the election is over? An extra 150K sure helps to fasten those ethical blinders in place.

    This raises a whole bunch of questions, and hopefully some diligent journalist out there will work to get this on to citizens radars. I don’t think anyone in Illinois wants executive staff disregarding something because they’d have to stand up to the boss paying them huge bonus salaries that they can’t get anywhere else in gov’t.

  111. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    Another thing, I wonder how this is going to go over with the rest of his staff when you’ve got 20 higher-ups making 100-200K more than they do? Last I remember gov’s office has about 100 staffers. So now 80% of them doing the actual work of making the govs office function will get paid a relative pittance. What is this, Amazon or Walmart? JB starting off his administration like a Walton, not a good look for someone who’s supposed to be a dem.

  112. - Team Warwick - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    This is giving me “pause”.
    To have a second job it must be approved on paperwork and must NOT interfere with your state job.
    This arrangement might not pass the “appearance of” test.
    I’d slow down first and have it legally reviewed before
    implementation. I suspect it has some conflicts snags in it.
    Im not against it, it just has that “pause” thing about it

  113. - City Zen - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    What would Minnesota do?

  114. - Original Rambler - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    Good luck drawing that line between the bonus babies and the unworthy staffers. This is a mistake for many reasons, all of which have already been articulated here.

  115. - Yiddishcowboy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    My guess is that JB’s lawyers have already reviewed and approved this additional compensation plan as kosher. Will it be challenged somehow? No idea.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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