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Noland and Clayborne ask judge to force release of back pay

Monday, Sep 9, 2019

* Last month

The state’s attorney general says two former lawmakers should not receive back pay for frozen cost-of-living increases and forced furlough days because they previously voted to approve the two laws and waited “for so long” to file a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.

Those laws, a Cook County judge ruled last month, violated an article of the state’s governing document that dictates legislators’ wages cannot be changed during the terms for which they were elected.

Judge Franklin Valderrama’s ruling was a partial win for two former senators — Democrats Michael Noland, from Elgin, and James Clayborne Jr., from Belleville — who sued for lost wages.

* Last week

Two former Democratic state senators are asking a Cook County judge to order Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza to pay back wages they and other lawmakers gave up when legislators voted repeatedly over a decade to freeze their salaries. […]

Noland, now a Kane County judge, originally filed the lawsuit in 2017, seeking back pay for himself and “all others impacted” by bills lawmakers passed to give up the annual cost-of-living raises they are automatically granted under state law. The lawsuit, which Clayborne joined as a plaintiff last year, also takes issue with unpaid furlough days lawmakers approved for themselves each year from 2009 through 2013.

Mendoza “has a clear, non-discretionary duty to pay the members of the General Assembly, including Plaintiffs, the salary unconstitutionally withheld for the furlough days and the (cost-of-living adjustments) for the relevant years,” Noland and Clayborne argue in their motion. […]

Clayborne, now an attorney in private practice, voted in favor of the measures each time. From 2009 to 2016, Noland only once voted against the legislation canceling cost-of-living raises and approving unpaid furlough days.

* From Comptroller Mendoza…

The judge has issued no order to pay any legislators raises they voted not to accept. I think the arguments have just begun over whether legislators can make big election-year speeches about voting to turn down a raise, issue re-election news releases touting their selflessness in turning down a raise; then years later, shamelessly file a lawsuit to force taxpayers to retroactively pay them $10 million for raises they turned down to get re-elected. These hypocrites don’t deserve a penny. How can it be more constitutional to hike salaries mid-term than to keep salaries the same?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments »
  1. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 9:54 am:

    “These hypocrites don’t deserve a penny”

    Any wonder why the legislature is incapable of reforming pensions?


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    ===Any wonder why the legislature is incapable of reforming pensions?===

    I don’t wonder, it’s the pesky constitution.

    You already know that.

    To the Post,

    If the goal is to win public opinion when, quite possibly, the constitution and law is against you, you release a statement like Mendoza’s Crew has done.


  3. - don the legend - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    LP, since you have this one track mind that is incapable of new thought, please tell us how you would “reform pensions”, constitutionally that is.


  4. - Nagidam - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    Just as those legislators took the expedient vote to reduce pay unconstitutionally, Comptroller Mendoza is making the expedient statement against the lawsuit. What do people expect the lawmaker do? Not vote to reduce the pay? Please. Same for Mendoza. She has to work against the lawsuit what ever she truly believes.


  5. - Fax Machine - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    Mike Noland is a judge now so he’s not hurting for money.


  6. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    Hey Don, there is a consideration bill proposed by Senator Cullerton that passed the supermajority Senate (with bipartisan support) that would save 1 billion dollars a year and was never brought up for a vote in the House.

    Once the bill was signed in to law the Supreme Court would most eventually most likely rule on whether it is constitutional or not.

    I would say your side -the side that resists all reforms, is more on the side of “incapable of new thought”


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    ===Hey Don, there is a consideration bill proposed by Senator Cullerton that passed the supermajority Senate (with bipartisan support) that would save 1 billion dollars a year and was never brought up for a vote in the House.===

    Hey - Lucky Pierre -

    If there was 60/71 for it in the House, why didn’t those 60/71 embarrass Dem leadership to call it?

    Sincerely, are you still trying the same failed trope?

    We’ve gone over this time and again.

    There wasn’t the votes. There were days and days they coulda proved the passage.

    No. One. Did.

    Please stop your phony.


  8. - don the legend - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    Maybe the Easternbloc can get that Cullerton bill voted on right after their secessionist bill gets voted on.


  9. - HCMcB - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    One of the reasons that bill lacks support is that many or most who’ve read it think it is unconstitutional. Why vote for something that’s only going to be thrown out?


  10. - Strider - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    LP, will you provide some details of the “consideration” bill, along with how it might be considered either constitutional or unconstitutional?


  11. - don the legend - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    ==I would say your side -the side that resists all reforms, is more on the side of “incapable of new thought”==

    If by resisting all reforms you mean pushing a graduated income tax, passing a capital bill, passing marijuana legalization and correcting ruinous sentencing measures, increasing the minimum wage, eliminating salary history in job applications, and diversifying corporate boards. I guess that’s your definition of resisting.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    ===I would say your side -the side that resists all reforms, is more on the side of “incapable of new thought”===

    “If you vote to end prevailing wage and collective bargaining, I’ll let you vote to raise taxes” is not just a new thought, but utterly ignorant and the foundation of why Raunerism failed.

    Things you know - Lucky Pierre - and waste time trying to justify it.


  13. - Whatever - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    ==The state’s attorney general says two former lawmakers should not receive back pay for frozen cost-of-living increases and forced furlough days because they previously voted to approve the two laws==

    The bills were not effective because they were unconstitutional. Should we say that bills are effective against those who voted for them even though they were not effective because they didn’t pass or were vetoed?


  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    Let’s unpack this a bit;

    ===The state’s attorney general says two former lawmakers should not receive back pay for frozen cost-of-living increases and forced furlough days because they previously voted to approve the two laws and waited “for so long” to file a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.

    Those laws, a Cook County judge ruled last month, violated an article of the state’s governing document that dictates legislators’ wages cannot be changed during the terms for which they were elected.===

    “The state’s attorney general says two former lawmakers should not receive back pay for frozen cost-of-living increases and forced furlough days because they previously voted to approve the two laws and waited ‘for so long’ to file a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.”

    I am unaware of a constitutional “good by” date.

    I am also unaware that the voting history is indicative to constitutionality. So now how you vote, given the constitutional realities, you are bound by the move, even if that move itself is what’s unconstitutional?

    “Those laws, a Cook County judge ruled last month, violated an article of the state’s governing document that dictates legislators’ wages cannot be changed during the terms for which they were elected.”

    That seems quite clear to the ruling and it’s basis.

    Are not the AG and the Comptroller now saying that the vote for an unconstitutional move is grounds to still do something, to those who voted for it, unconstitutional?

    Yikes.


  15. - Say What? - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    Isn’t this the same Comptroller Mendoza who repeatedly said Legislators shouldn’t be paid because there was no budget? The IL Supreme Court slammed that nonsense back across the net like Serena Williams playing a Jr. High kid.

    How, exactly, would the enforcement of the any law work if how a Legislator voted was part of the calculation?

    Hypocrisy and unconstitutional are not related. The timeliness argument is diluted substantially when the current pension calculations of dozens of Legislators is negatively affected do to raises being withheld in an unconstitutional manner. How could this be more “timely” for that group?


  16. - muon - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    OW - To your point, a majority of the GA voted for SB 1, the pension reduction bill of 2013. It was declared unconstitutional in 2015. Most of those members who voted on SB 1 in 2013 were covered by Tier 1 benefits. Regardless of how they voted on SB 1, they were able to claim their Tier 1 benefits when they retired. That was even true for those who retired after it was passed and before the act was struck down by the court.

    If that was the case for SB 1, then your analysis should be equally valid in this case. (side note: the current AG was the chief sponsor of that same SB 1)


  17. - Flat Bed Ford - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    How a legislator voted has zero to do with how legal or illegal the underlying legislation is. We have three branches of government for a reason people. Even to most non-lawyers it is pretty clear that the GA cannot charge its compensation in the same term. From a legal standpoint it doesn’t matter if their pay went up or down, just that they changed it in the current term. Also, are the AG and Comptroller conflicted out as they were members of the GA during the time in question?


  18. - Chris Widger - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 4:00 pm:

    You get to write these things in advance. Why does Mendoza’s statement include a sentence with 58 words?


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