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* From Comptroller Mendoza…
I have consistently said that my office would continue to place elected officials’ paychecks at the back of the line to get paid unless a judge ordered me to stop.
A judge so ordered today.
As former Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka did in a 2013 legislator-pay case, I will release the back pay checks to all elected officials consistent with the judge’s order.
I have always argued that there is a sound policy reason, given the absence of a balanced state budget, to prioritize payments to the state’s most vulnerable – hospice care; child care; meals on wheels for seniors – ahead of paychecks for elected officials.
We will confer with the Attorney General and the consulting attorneys we retained from Holland and Knight, who advised us and the former Comptroller on this case, and ask them to appeal the judge’s ruling.
The brief filed this week by the attorneys for the legislative plaintiffs was pretty good. Click here to read it.
*** UPDATE 1 *** I just talked to one of the plaintiffs in the case, Rep. Chris Welch. Here’s what he had to say…
“It’s unfortunate that we had to do this. But we had to stand up for ourselves because we couldn’t allow one branch of government to hold another branch of government hostage. I hope that the governor will now turn his attention to getting a budget done.”
Legislators have been paid just once since last June.
*** UPDATE 2 *** From the ILGOP…
“Today’s decision by a Cook County judge to pay lawmakers before social service agencies and the vulnerable is a win for Mike Madigan and a loss for taxpayers and all those who want a balanced budget. Madigan’s long-time lawyer, Mike Kasper, led the lawsuit brought by Madigan-backed lawmakers. It’s outrageous that these politicians think they should be paid before the vulnerable, but that’s how the Madigan machine operates. This decision should be overturned on appeal.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe
*** UPDATE 3 *** Press release…
Deputy Governor Leslie Munger released the following statement on lawmaker pay, calling on Comptroller Susana Mendoza to ask for an immediate stay of the judge’s ruling pending appeal.
“Today, we witnessed the ultimate act of self interest - lawmakers putting their very own paychecks ahead of taxpayers, vital human services and those in need. For more than two years, lawmakers have failed to do their job and now believe they should be paid for doing nothing. As the judge said last week, if lawmakers did what they were sent to Springfield to do and passed a balanced budget this wouldn’t be an issue.
“Rather than immediately releasing all the back pay, the Comptroller should request independent counsel and ask for an immediate stay of the ruling pending her appeal. The fact the Comptroller didn’t immediately request a stay is further proof that the Comptroller, Attorney General and Speaker Madigan are engaged in a coordinated abuse of taxpayers.”
Maybe somebody should tell her she lost the election to Mendoza last year. Just sayin…
*** UPDATE 4 *** I just talked to the attorney general’s spokesperson…
We’re reviewing the decision and we’re talking with the comptroller’s office and we’re aware that they’re interested in appealing.
*** UPDATE 5 *** I asked the comptroller’s spokesman two questions. 1) Why no request for a stay pending appeal? The answer…
I would direct legal strategy questions to the AG.
I already did that.
2) Will statewides get paid now too?…
All elected officials.
I haven’t seen the order, but the lawsuit only covered legislators, even though statewide electeds were also not getting paid on time.
*** UPDATE 6 *** There’s not much to it, but the judge’s written order is here. There’s nothing in there about paying all elected officials, by the way.
*** UPDATE 7 *** A legal source told me that obtaining a stay would require proving irreparable harm to the state. So take this for whatever it’s worth…
“It’s mind-boggling that Susana Mendoza is refusing to call for an immediate stay and instead simply deferring to Madigan while also apparently seeking to expand the ruling so she also gets paid. An insult to taxpayers.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe
*** UPDATE 8 *** I asked Comptroller Mendoza’s office when the checks would be sent. I was told at 5:57 pm that they were “Processing now.”
posted by Rich Miller
Thursday, Mar 23, 17 @ 3:58 pm
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