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Today’s quotable

Monday, May 3, 2021

* Deep within a Tribune story about the Senate’s new ethics bill (subscribers were given more details last week) is a little nugget

While the bill wouldn’t give the legislative inspector general the full level of autonomy those who’ve held the office say is necessary, it would make the position a full-time job with posted office hours — which [Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope] said would be a waste of taxpayer money. She now works on an as-needed basis.

“Even if you had office hours, there would be a person sitting in the office with nothing to do,” Pope said at a recent Senate hearing “The demand for hours is just simply not there, which is a good thing in my opinion.”

Lawmakers argue that having a full-time inspector general would an important signal to the public.

“While it may not be a good perception to have an office of people that aren’t working full time, I also don’t think it’s a good perception, visual, to have an office that’s closed, that the lights are out, that nobody knows when it’s open either,” Gillespie said at the hearing. “I think it’s important for our residents of Illinois to start to establish trust in their legislature if they know that this is something we’re taking this seriously.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 10:34 am:

    I don’t know. Maybe if there was a deeper look, there might be enough to justify full time.
    Seems to be several Fed investigations, that have something to do.

  2. - Ok - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 10:39 am:

    Maybe also put the office in a location not very visible to legislators…

  3. - Norseman - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 10:48 am:

    Every public servant in management or decision making capacities has hear the trope “perception is reality.” The question has always been how to deal with that perception. Do you do something that wastes taxpayer money to deal with a perception or do you try and change that perception? Obviously, the specific approach varies depending on the facts involved. All to often when politicians are involved the easy answer is to make it look like you are doing something regardless of efficacy.

    We are now seeing “perception” used in a malevolent manner by the GQP. They have introduced and passed voter suppression laws using the perception excuse. A perception they created through the Big Lie.

  4. - Back to the Future - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 10:49 am:

    On ethics legislation, I found HB 2523 that amends the Police Officers law interesting. The Bill would remove specifically the provision that would prohibit a registered lobbyist from serving on the Police Investment Board if they represent the Illinois Municipal League.
    Seems Team Pritzker appointed a board member who is meeting with and voting on the Board who is a lobbyist for IML.
    Not sure where folks were in going in this direction.
    It might have been a better decision to respect, honor and obey the law as it is written. Instead Team Pritzker wants to take a stop backwards on ethics and take care of the “problem” by making an exception to the current law.
    In terms of ethics, we should talk the talk and also walk the walk.

  5. - Candy Dogood - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    I think this would be best addressed by granting the office authority to initiate it’s own investigations instead of waiting for people to come to them.

    Just generally speaking, though, a full time presence would make me feel better about it.

  6. - Dotnonymous - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    I prefer the concept of “someone on the job” over the ad hoc approach…for the predictability… personally.

  7. - Anyone Remember - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 11:19 am:

    ===I think this would be best addressed by granting the office authority to initiate it’s own investigations instead of waiting for people to come to them.===

    OEIG has enough Col. Flagg wannabes. Giving that level of discretion to someone investigating legislators, their support staff, etc., would require extreme pre-hiring vetting I don’t think is possible.

  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    It would be fun if the Tribune and BGA teamed up on an expose showing how a full-time LIG office person played solitaire or posted snarky comments on Capitolfax.Com while “working.”

    The Legislative Inspector General is (IN) (NOT IN).

  9. - Sir Reel - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 11:54 am:

    Gee, I dunno. I worked in State government for a long time and I noticed lots of offices with people sitting in them with nothing to do. Nothing new here.

  10. - Bourbon Street - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    Is the push for a full-time LIG with posted office hours a solution in search of a problem? I expect that the current LIG and whatever staff she has can be reached by email or phone 24/7. The GA should listen to the person who actually has worked the job when deciding whether to expand the position as proposed instead of creating window dressing where none is needed.

  11. - thisjustinagain - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 12:40 pm:

    While the head of the LIG may (or may not) need to be full-time at this point, there should be an full-time and easily-contacted office during State business hours year around. The office staff will receive complaints and inquiries, provide a public presence, and assist with filing complaint to include some type of 1st-level screening to ensure the matter belongs at the LIG’s office. The Director shall write the screening criteria to ensure compliance with the applicable laws and rules. This will not require more than 1 Full time equivalent position to staff, and the staffer need not be a lawyer; a good legal secretary/paralegal with proper training by the LIG can handle these routine duties. We spend far more money for worse reasons in Illinois government; this is an important office to begin working on the integrity issues of the Legislature.

  12. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, May 3, 21 @ 1:24 pm:

    Has there ever been a full-time office open to folks with concerns? If not, how does anyone know there won’t be a demand? Furthermore, I’m guessing that there would be some kind of work for a person in the office to do such as collecting and summarizing relevant data and maybe looking over required ethics submissions and looking over Dept of Elections filings, etc.

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