* Dan Petrella at the Tribune…
Before he took the oath of office in January, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was paying out of his own pocket for a national search to find the next head of the long-troubled Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Pritzker’s transition team signed a $50,000 contract in early January with Massachusetts-based Koya Leadership Partners to conduct a nationwide search for a new leader for the child welfare agency, which has churned through 14 previous directors since 2003. “The governor wanted to get the search for key positions in his Cabinet underway as soon as possible so he covered the cost of the search as part of his transition,” spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said.
The move is another example of the first-term Democrat and billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune using his vast personal wealth to help fund functions of state government. Pritzker has also boosted salaries of some members of his administration with his own money. Because those payments aren’t coming from state coffers, they’re not subject to open records laws, raising potential transparency issues.
While the transition committee is not subject to the state Freedom of Information Act, the Pritzker administration provided a copy of the search contract to the Tribune. […]
“The blurring of the public and private spheres and public and private funds for government functions is problematic,” [Alisa Kaplan, policy director for Reform for Illinois, formerly the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform] said. “And the extent to which the governor — this governor — can engage in it is raising all kinds of questions policymakers will have to address at some point.”
Seems a bit harsh.