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Simple solutions are usually neither

Friday, Sep 13, 2019

* NewsTribune

A Peru Republican is entering the 76th District primary for a chance to compete for the seat held by state Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, in the 2020 election.

Jason Haskell, a Peru resident who works as a project manager for a construction company, plans to vie for the Republican nomination against Travis Breeden, R-Utica, who announced his plans in August to run. […]

Haskell also believes the state needs to freeze public-sector hiring until the state workforce shrinks by 11.5%.

“Shrinking the payroll by 11.5% saves taxpayers at least $839 million in payroll cost, allowing Illinois to start working down the size of the unfunded pension liability,” Haskell said in a news release.

That all sounds nice until you actually look at what you’re cutting. Eliminating 313 current DCFS jobs can be done, of course, but the agency is already sorely under-staffed. So, if you think DCFS will be able to adequately perform its mission with even more payroll cuts, you’re dreaming.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments
  1. - Will Caskey - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    It’s one of those things, like “close corporate tax loopholes” from Democrats. The words technically form a sentence but have no underlying meaning.


  2. - Steve - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:00 am:

    Illinois is actually not a state with a big state government workforce.


  3. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Simple solutions for simple minds.


  4. - Former State Worker - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:04 am:

    You’re just putting more strain on Tier 2 employees who don’t get the same benefits as those who qualify for Tier 1 level pensions.

    This isn’t really much of a solution for the unfunded pension liability as opposed to helping manage the operating budget.


  5. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:04 am:

    He wants to cut how many State Troopers?

    He wants to cut how many prison guards at Sheridan?

    How many snowplow drivers?

    How many food and public health inspectors?

    This guy is a menace.


  6. - Perrid - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    Steve is correct, IL is usually ranked last or second to last when it comes to state worker FTEs per capita (Indiana also has very few), which excludes local government to be clear.

    The COST of state workers per capita is something else, I don’t know that I’ve seen data on that, but having less employees is not the answer.


  7. - efudd - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    Okay, what about 24/7 facilities like prisons, mental health centers, and veterans’ homes?
    How much less staff can they get by on? Please be specific.

    I’m constantly amazed by these private industry types who apparently can’t perform basic math.


  8. - Uncle Ernie - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:11 am:

    Haskell has no clue. State departments are under staffed now, programs are on hold due to no personal to run them, it’s easy to say but this guy obviously does his research at the local restaurant’s coffee click. I have worked with Lance and he is a good honest politician no airs, just concern for his constituents. What could be better for that district?


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    For the love of Pete…

    ===“Shrinking the payroll by 11.5% saves taxpayers at least $839 million in payroll cost…===

    … utterly clueless to the costs and damage to the state.

    I’m embarrassed for him, to be so ignorant to governing.


  10. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:21 am:

    “Shrinking the payroll by 11.5% saves taxpayers at least $839 million in payroll cost, allowing Illinois to start working down the size of the unfunded pension liability”

    Right wingers gonna right wing. We can get a lot more money in a moral way, to tax the rich more after not doing so for decades. Why should we make those cuts, to satisfy the sadistic privileged—the Raunerites, IPI, Todd and Joe Ricketts, Zell, Trib editorial board and the rest?


  11. - Earnest - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:24 am:

    His set of cookie-cutters seems to be one short–I didn’t see “waste, fraud and abuse” in the statement. Is anyone else bummed that “working together on a grand bargain” never made it into the standard talking points?


  12. - Reality Check - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:26 am:

    Jason Haskell should go to the La Salle Veterans Home, Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks and Sheridan Correctional Center in the district and tell the employees, veterans and their loved ones, and families in the parks how he the district would benefit from fewer public services and more unemployment.


  13. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    ==Shrinking the payroll by 11.5%==

    How did he settle on 11.5%? 10% sound too made up?

    Either way, Yednock’s employer has more than enough wealth to bury any and all challengers. Good luck.


  14. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    People like Mr. Haskell don’t respond to facts (before the 2002 ERI governor’s agency headcount was 65 thousand, end of FY 2018 was 50 thousand, a 23% reduction). Instead, let’s ask him how an 11.5% headcount reduction would affect the ICC unit mentioned in this article.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-comed-electrocution-oversight-illinois-20190912-vwb4r2isgnbs3coxc45ljjvmbu-story.html


  15. - Langhorne - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    There is a reason graduate schools teach courses in public budgeting, public finance, and public administration. I probably couldn’t go into a construction company and manage it very well, but I could do a hell of a lot better than he is proposing For state government.


  16. - NoGifts - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    My observation is that work still has to get done. When headcount is reduced, work is contracted out to vendors, which isn’t really cheaper in the short run. You’re still paying overhead and benefits for them.


  17. - PrairieDog - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    So, each and every state job has to be preserved and protected no matter what? Aren’t you claiming that each and every state job is vitally essential, and that no state position can ever be eliminated, no matter what?

    Illinois is in the financial condition that it is in because voters, legislators and pundits are unwilling to decide what functions of state government are/should be a priority. The default position is to pretend that the world will come to an end if state government is not funded at least at current level next year and in all succeeding years. That may be good for state employees, but it has gotten us where we are today.


  18. - DuPage - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    Shortage of employees means the remaining employees have to work overtime to cover critical areas. That ends up costing more at time and a half.


  19. - SpfdNewb - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    “Penny wise, pound foolish”


  20. - Moe Berg - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    Should be possible to do an analysis of how many state employees are in the 76th district, as well as counties in the region of which the 76th district is a part.

    Would just hammer him non-stop for all the local people he’s trying to put out of work. What would that do for the local economy?


  21. - Annonin' - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    Did he pick 11% because Menards give storm11% off? How abow we just plow every other snow storm. That will save some moolah


  22. - SpfdNewb - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Here’s another idea that will save some money, get rid of all state owned snowplows and just hand out shovels. (Mind you that the employment costs at minimum wage will likely be higher than the costs of operating a plow. But hey, its an idea./s)


  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    ===So, each and every state job has to be preserved and protected no matter what?===

    Don’t argue like a child here. Also, this https://capitolfax.com/2019/09/13/pritzker-wants-actionable-scenario-from-agencies-on-potential-cuts-other-reductions/


  24. - JuMP - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    Cutting DCFS workers is irresponsible and damaging to those they serve, KIDS! Heavy caseloads ultimately results in burnout and critical mistakes. We need to invest $$ not cut…


  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    ===The default position is to pretend that the world will come to an end if state government is not funded at least at current level next year and in all succeeding years.===

    Not one person has said that.

    For me, I’d like to see the specific cuts and the rationale.

    For example, given all that has and continues to transpire at DCFS, is cutting headcount going to hamper the mission even more?

    ===That may be good for state employees, but it has gotten us where we are today.===

    You’re not helping


  26. - Token Conservative - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    ==sorely under-staffed==

    by what standards?


  27. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    If we don’t elect him does it count as cutting a government employee?


  28. - Norseman - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    === The default position is to pretend that the world will come to an end if state government is not funded at least at current level next year and in all succeeding years. ===

    It does for a child who dies because of the lack of sufficient staff to respond to abuse and neglect.


  29. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    I’m not going to go overboard criticizing this. But I do want to know the “where.” Where can we cut that is not going to have a bad effect on the state and society? There certainly is some room for eliminating redundancy in state government and making the current workforce more productive. It is an idea that has some merit, but there are a whole lot of details needed to even begin to guess if this is feasible.


  30. - thoughts matter - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    So reducing the size of the work force will reduce the pension shortfall? Reducing the size of the work force means less money going into then pension funds now. Reducing the money into the fund now means less available for investment compounding.
    Those people that wouldn’t be hired would be tier 2, which is meant to help shore up the tier 1 pension shortfall. Which means this freeze would increase the shortfall, not decrease it. RNUG would be able to explain all this better.

    Perhaps he’d like to introduce an early retirement program for tier 1 people eligible to retire now to speed up this payroll reduction?
    I’d be all for it, but I am also sure flipping a lot of us from paying into the system to taking out of the system wouldn’t be all that helpful to the bottom line of anyone but the people taking the offer.


  31. - @misterjayem - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    ==sorely under-staffed==

    by what standards?

    The threshold standard of preventing the deaths of children in their care.

    – MrJM


  32. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:37 am:

    Local man says if elected to state government job he will reduce state government jobs.


  33. - Southern_Dawg - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    Raunerism lives on.


  34. - Token Conservative - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    ==The threshold standard of preventing the deaths of children in their care.==

    They’re doing a great job of that now, aren’t they. Maybe the answer is better people, not more people.


  35. - don the legend - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    ==Jason Haskell, a Peru resident who works as a project manager for a construction company,==

    I have a crazy idea for Mr. Haskell’s employer on how it might reduce costs. It involves head count reduction of project managers.


  36. - JS Mill - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    Jason Haskell, 2004 called and they want their scapegoat back.


  37. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    ==It involves head count reduction of project managers.==

    They’re always the first to go.


  38. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    I suppose we should ask him how many dead children it takes for DCFS to “meet expectations.”


  39. - Graduated College Student - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===They’re doing a great job of that now, aren’t they. Maybe the answer is better people, not more people.===

    1) I thought your goal was to CUT workforce costs, not increase them
    2) Only so many hours in a day dude.


  40. - Honeybear - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    People don’t know what they don’t know.
    Haskell doesn’t know what the State Agency workers do in his district.
    He should visit them.
    He could visit my “Aid Office” as my customers call it.
    Customer to Caseworker Ratio 812-1
    If he went to any State Agency office
    He’d see folks working hard and long
    for the good of Illinoisans.
    The slackers have long been driven off.
    Every state job is overworked
    because we’re understaffed.

    Look, I get that we’re an easy target.
    But is hitting us
    Really going to help
    Serve the needs of our fellow Illinoisans?

    No, it’s not.
    How about you go visit any office.
    And feel the pride and commitment we have.
    It will make you feel better.
    I dare say you’ll apologize
    for saying what you said.


  41. - Honeybear - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    I also think we should scrap the whole EDGE program. Hundreds of millions of dollars would go into our coffers if we eliminated the program. It’s Never been independently audited
    That’s right
    Never been independently audited
    We have no idea
    and I mean
    no idea
    If we’ve ever gotten the jobs or investment
    we made the incentives deals for

    It’s corporate welfare
    that should be cut.


  42. - The Way I See It - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    If the 50,000 state employee number quoted above is right, and 11.5% reduction is 5,750 positions.

    $839 million divided into 5750 comes out to roughly $145K in payroll costs per year.

    Think the math needs to be redone.


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