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This might help explain some of the AVR glitch

Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Finke

Employees of Secretary of State Jesse White who are members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers have taken a strike authorization vote, but will continue negotiating for the time being. […]

The contract issue involves two locals of the IFT representing employees in White’s office. One is a group of 98 information systems employees and the other is a group of 157 workers with a variety of job titles in the state archives, state library, personnel, securities and elsewhere. […]

Taylor also said IT workers in the secretary of state’s office are paid less than comparable jobs in other areas of state government which leads to job turnover.

“We really don’t want the office to be the stepping ground for employees to move on to other offices or agencies,” she said.

Other job titles in the secretary of state’s office also pay less than comparable positions elsewhere, she said. Taylor said there is also an issue about not filling job vacancies which puts pressure on the remaining workers. She said the IT local has seen a 20 percent reduction in membership since 2010.

Underpaid and grumbling employees in woefully short-staffed offices. And we wonder why there was an undetected automatic voter registration programming glitch? I mean, what could possibly go wrong? [Hat tip to a commenter.]

       

29 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    The union does have a point. As far back as I can remember, about 1970, SOS employees have always been paid less than equivalent positions at agencies under the Governor.


  2. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    The union solution is always higher wages


  3. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    As opposed to . . . lower wages? lol

    If they are paid less than their counterparts in other parts of state government why wouldn’t you argue for a comparable wage?


  4. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    ===The union solution is always higher wages===

    Inflation is a thing. One shouldn’t assume that an effort to pay the lowest wages possible translates into the best employees possible.

    The labor market is a thing.

    This idea that unions only propose higher wages as a solution is also utter nonsense. All of the collective bargaining agreements the State has negotiated are available at the CMS website and most of the ink in those agreements aren’t on the wages section.


  5. - Tom - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    Whether you agree with the employees or not , after reading the comments in that sjr article, we should all be concerned that SOS is using applications that are 30 to 50 years old.


  6. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Seems to be about wages/benefits not infrastructure. So unless they are purposely glitching not really an excuse for the AVR problems.


  7. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:23 pm:

    RNUG

    ==As far back as I can remember, about 1970, SOS employees have always been paid less than equivalent positions at agencies under the Governor.== Other constitutionals also paid less - this was mentioned under Burris / Ryan when the courts “sanctioned” the AG’s office over the competence of their attorneys, and it came out the AG’s attorneys were the lowest paid government lawyers in the Chicago area.

    Several questions come to mind. First, what is the workday for the constitutionals? Employees under the Governor work 7.5 hours/day, whereas some constitutionals (at one point, if not currently) only work 7 hours/day (AG, IOC), or 6.7% fewer hours. And how many constitutionals did / do close down, with pay, for Christmas Eve / New Year’s Eve / Good Friday?

    Second, employees under the Governor, IF the law is followed (yes, I know, that can be a big IF), employees are hired under a civil service system, where the top ranked person is hired. IOC and SoS use a merit commission (the hiring authority can choose anyone rated A - there is a 1993/1994 AGs opinion that says that is how a merit system works, the opinion was about sheriff’s merit commission). And the Treasurer and AG have no such systems.

    Third, unions. If memory serves me correctly, pre Blago, AFSCME had minimal, if non-existent, presence in any of the constitutionals. While not as true now, how many unions represent SoS employees?


  8. - City Zen - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    ==Taylor also said IT workers in the secretary of state’s office are paid less than comparable jobs in other areas of state government which leads to job turnover.==

    You mean folks are leaving government IT jobs for…government IT jobs? The IT guys I worked with who started out in the public sector couldn’t get out fast enough. They did have great stories though.

    I’m with you, IT brothers and sisters. Let’s see Jesse try to find IT consultants willing to work on Y2K applications in this market. Bring them to their knees.


  9. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    Not sure how tier 2 works, but if it is you work 5 years and get retiree health benefits that could be a recruiting tool to get some older IT workers to work for the state/SoS.

    But in general, you get what you pay for when it comes to IT staffing.


  10. - RNUG - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 1:07 pm:

    == but if it is you work 5 years and get retiree health benefits ==

    You have to work at least 8 years to qualify for any retiree health benefits, and at that point the retiree has to pay a significant amount (50%, declining as years increase).
    mWith the State requiring everyone to be in a Medicare Advantage program, it may or may not be any better for an individual than just having regular Medicare and buying a supplemental. If you have a spouse / dependent, then it could be a little cheaper for the retiree.


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 1:22 pm:

    And yet every SOS office in the state had the time and resources to put up signs making sure every visitor knew it wasn’t Jesse White who raised their vehicle fees, it was those darned lawmakers.


  12. - May soon be required - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 1:23 pm:

    Tier2 have to work at least 10 years to qualify for a retirement benefit


  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    And yet every SOS office in the state had the time and resources to put up signs making sure every visitor knew it wasn’t Jesse White who raised their vehicle fees, it was those darned lawmakers.

    does not sound like an IT responsibility.


  14. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 1:38 pm:

    ==had the time and resources to put up signs ==

    Yeah, because printing a sign and taping it on the wall is the equivalent of a complicated IT sytem.


  15. - Tom - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    I just don’t see how the public’s data can be secure if it is true that these applications are that old. If they haven’t already been hacked, it is just a matter of time.


  16. - H-W - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    On The Other Hand…

    State employees in the same job classification who work in Macomb are paid differently that state employees with the same job classification in Springfield, Edwardsville, Mattoon and Dekalb (e.g., U of I West, South, East and North). If all have the same employer (or belong to IFT), should all faculty of the same rank be paid the same, regardless of which campus they call home?

    Just being a curmudgeon here.


  17. - RNUG - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    == State employees in the same job classification who work in Macomb are paid differently that state employees with the same job classification in Springfield, Edwardsville, Mattoon and Dekalb (e.g., U of I West, South, East and North). ==

    Not sure what system you are referring to. When I worked for the State under the Governor’s office for 30+ years, a given title had a fixed pay range regardless of work location, be it Springfield or Chicago.

    Now if you want to argue that some agencies gave higher titles in Chicago than in Springfield for doing, effectively, the same work or that people were hired at the middle or top of a range in Chicago and at the bottom of the range in Springfield … that is a different argument.


  18. - Union Dues - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    Tom the applications may have been written decades ago but the hardware and operating systems they run on are, for the most part, updated and modern with all appropriate security. Also, old does not imply they haven’t been updated functionally and still meet the needs of the agency.


  19. - Tom - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    If the systems met the needs of the agency, we wouldn’t be commenting on this story. I would love to see an independent agency come in and see just how secure my info is.


  20. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    “The union solution is always higher wages” So the if Cubs cut salaries, they’ll start winning again?


  21. - TimeServed - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 4:18 pm:

    ==Not sure how tier 2 works, but if it is you work 5 years and get retiree health benefits that could be a recruiting tool to get some older IT workers to work for the state/SoS.==

    20-years service to have health benefits paid 100% by the state. If you have under 20 years, the state pays 5% per year of service. So if you have 5 years creditable service and qualify for medicare, your out of pocket for QCHP is $349/ month, with the state paying the other $116.51 (25%) per month.

    For Tier 2, pension is accrued at 1.67% per year with a cliff vest at 10 years and retirement at age 67 (as opposed to tier 1 with 8 years vest and retirement age of 60 or Rule of 85), so if you work 10 years creditable service, in tier 2 you get 16.7% of your final average salary when you turn 67 (life expectancy in Cook County is 76 years), or, basically you get a few bucks a day for the last 9 years of your life.

    The final average salary calculation, itself, was much better under Tier 1 as well, as it was the highest 48 consecutive months of service over the past 10 years instead of the highest 96 months consecutive service like Tier 2.


  22. - Union Dues - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    Tom, these systems are updated as in this case. Rest easy as there are frequent audits.


  23. - Forthemostpart - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 5:09 pm:

    “For the most part”? Union Dues must be management.
    The last thing you want to hear when you ask your Security Admin if your data is secure.
    “Yes Sir…for the most part” Cant make this stuff up.


  24. - IT Guy - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 6:37 pm:

    Expanding beyond the SOS issue. The State’s salaries for IT are way below market. And Tier 2 doesn’t help compensate for that. Combine that with the requirement for new positions to be in the Springfield area (instead of the Chicago area where you have a vibrant technology community) it really makes sure what the State agencies and DoIT will always be behind in technology.


  25. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 8:11 pm:

    Responding to RUNG’s questions:

    1. Workday is 7.5 hrs/day for full-time SOS employees. Usually most people work 8-4:30. Intermittent employees (which there’s quite a bit of at SOS, especially in Drivers/Vehicle Services) work 5.5 hrs/day.

    2. SOS has the Merit Commission and letter grades.

    3. Not a single SOS employee is an AFSCME member. In addition to the IFPE members (which is an IFT affiliate), the vast majority of SOS employees are SEIU members. This includes nearly everyone in Vehicle Services, Drivers Services, Business Services, Accounting Revenue, etc. Custodians/Physical Services employees are mostly Teamsters. The SOS Police are Fraternal Order of Police members, IIRC.

    SEIU and Teamsters have already signed new contracts thru June 30, 2023–which does not include the demands that IFPE is wanting in their contract.

    Basically it sounds like IFPE is wanting the equivalent of the AFSCME contract that went into effect for the Governor’s agencies.


  26. - illinois_citizen - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 7:19 am:

    IT Wages are not the only area where SOS is not on the same page with other constitutional officers. Maternity/paternity leave for new parents at SOS is much less than other constitutional officers already have in place.


  27. - Leatherneck - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 8:18 am:

    Do you remember back in 2003, when Blago called for all state employees under his watch to not roll over more than 5 vacation days at the end of each year (IIRC)? Basically a “use it or lose it.”

    SOS (and I assume the other constitutionals with possible exception of the Lt. Gov.) never had to go to that extreme. However, you can’t have, at the beginning of a year, more than double the vacation time you earn on the books (e.g., you get 15 vacation days a year–you can’t keep more than 30 at that time at the most). Sick can roll over each year, however.

    Does CMS/Governor’s agencies still have that “no more than 5 vacation days roll over/use it or lose it” policy? Or did that get rescinded after Blago’s impeachment?


  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 9:01 am:

    Leatherneck- any idea how much more money IFPE is asking for? From the comptrollers website it appears some of the members are among the top 20 highest paid in SOS.


  29. - enterprise - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    Quality articles or reviews is the key to invite the viewers to go to see the site, that’s what this web site is providing.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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