Quick Hits – April 20,2016

Goddam Republicans!

Last week Larry and I lauded Treasurer Michael Frerichs for pushing a bill that would force life insurance companies to pay out on policies whether the heirs made a claim or not. And HB4633 passed the House by a resounding 75 to 34 vote.

General Assembly

Taking a cue from the Treasurer’s press release, I too used the phrase “bi-partisan effort” only to discover that ain’t exactly the truth. In fact, a local legislative aide told me that vote broke down perfectly along party lines.

All the Democrats voted for it, and all the Republicans didn’t.

If you also recall, as we discussed this topic, Larry remarked, “I can’t imagine why anyone would vote against this bill. It forces the insurance companies to do the right thing.”

The unsurprising answer to Larry’s question is, the Republicans voted against it because the insurance companies line their state capitol pockets. And if something comes up that might hurt those insurers’ bottom line, they’ll do their damndest to derail it.

So! To all my righteous Republicans friends ECC Trustee Jeff Meyer and County Board member Kurt Kozjarek, who regularly denigrate the Democrats while holding the Springfield GOP up as the guardians of all things holy, the only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that there are less of them.

If the Republicans enjoyed a Springfield supermajority, they’d be doing exactly what the Democrats have been doing. I rest my case!

Sometimes elected officials really do deserve raises

Before we get started, in order to bring some balance to The Force, let me clearly state that seven years ago, I wrote that then County Chairman Karen McConnaughay deserved at least $150,000 a year.

I may not have always agreed with her efforts, but considering the effort that job requires, that amount should be the low end of the pay scale.

kane countyComing back to 2016, and given the brief window in which county boards can discuss elected official salaries, someone just distributed a spreadsheet with suggested raises. Of course, that piece of paper provided board member and general snitch Mark Davoust with the perfect opportunity to run to the Daily Herald’s Jim Fuller while repeatedly shrieking, “See! The Chairman sucks!”

You may remember Mark Davoust as the board member who never manages to accomplish anything because his wife Melody keeps certain body parts locked up in a cabinet. He’s also running for County Clerk again and fervently hopes his insistent tattling will curry favor with the press

First of all, Chairman Lauzen had nothing to do with that spreadsheet. And second, the Kane County electeds are paid well below their collar county counterparts and there isn’t a person on the planet whom, upon discovering that kind of salary disparity, wouldn’t run to their boss or start updating their resume.

County Board member John Hoscheit put it perfectly:

“The difficulty becomes, if you wait too long, the salaries become so far out of reality that trying to adjust them to be competitive becomes very difficult. We want to attract and keep competent people. But with the desire to keep the (property tax) levy frozen, any increase in expenses needs to be considered very carefully.”

Might I also point out that, the elected officials who’ve worked so hard to keep the County tax levy flat have actually earned a raise.

Mandate? What mandate?

It’s been a really bad week for the Longmeadow Loons.

First, after they managed to hijack the Algonquin Village Board meeting, President Ed Ritter released a statement that included this powerful paragraph:

“I hear some say, ‘the people have spoken, look at the advisory referendum’, but I reject the premise of the advisory question outright. The question was purposely worded in a confusing, false and leading manner. The question was designed as a campaign slogan, devoid and ignorant to the facts, with the purpose of creating public fear to elicit a specific response. The question is disrespectful to the citizens who participated in the hundreds of public meetings throughout the years, engaging with engineers, planners and elected officials based on the facts. The advisory question tried to hijack twenty years of public discourse, which is frustrating and unfortunate.’

Exactly! And then he went on to debunk the Loon’s wackiest contentions.

Then, in a move that forced our undaunted citizen activists to turn to Prozac, the East Dundee Village Board handily defeated a resolution denouncing the bridge.

Ouch!

But alas dear friends, these setbacks will not deter these nutty folks in the least. To quote the great philosopher Bruce Springsteen, “Wounded deep in battle, they stand stuffed like some soldiers undaunted.” In other words, we haven’t heard the last of the Loons.

The right thing to say!

In regards to Comptroller Leslie Munger’s decision to put legislators’ paychecks in the queue with all the other overdue State of Illinois payments, State Sen Jim Oberweis said,

“I think she’s doing the right thing. I don’t know what the law is, the court will determine that. But for heaven’s sake, when we’re not helping those most in need in our state, legislators shouldn’t be getting paid either.”

That was exactly the right thing to say!

3 thoughts on “Quick Hits – April 20,2016

  1. The problem with comparing salaries against neighboring communities is they never say we need to lower our wages to be more like ___, it’s always we need to raise wages to be competitive to keep our employees. But if an employee wants to leave, they’ll leave. A better way is to advertise an opening at say $70,000 and chose the best candidate from the hundreds of applicants who don’t have a chance at a salary like that in the private sector. Only in government service can you do a mediocre job, be paid well and have benefits that are the envy of almost everyone (like that pension no one else has). Plus you have great hours with lots of paid holidays.

    There are no checks and balances with these boards. No incentive to hold down these out of control costs. And with pensions, the costs continue long after the employee stops being productive.

    Plus with wages so high, when it comes time for budget cuts, the solution is layoffs. Now you have less people doing the same amount of work. For instance you may have two teachers making $90k instead of three making $60k. Or two teachers for 30 students instead of three with 20 students. What classroom has a better chance of success?

    The era of the statesman has passed. Now we have professional politicians who spend more time campaigning than governing. For many it is the best job they’ve ever had (see above for pay and benefits). And they’ll do anything to keep that job (including following their party line even when they disagree as you don’t want to lose those campaign funds).

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any solutions, just gripes.

  2. Dear What,

    Actually I’ve done just that in the city of Geneva. I found lower salaries for certain folks and demanded they reduce that pay accordingly. The end result is that Geneva doesn’t make that claim anymore.

    But, without exception, the Kane County electeds salaries are far too low.

    Jeff

  3. Wasn’t Lauzen The Great’s pre-Primary traveling dog-and-pony show all about how the Kane County Government has “Frozen” it’s tax levy? Now, AFTER the Primary, we see a proposal to RAISE
    salaries of county officials?

    I can’t cry tears for any Kane County official. They are all incumbents, running for another term, and because of this they know full well what the financial benefits are. If they believe they deserve MORE, and have the skills, I am sure private industry will welcome their expertise.

    If this is NOT the case, well….I guess we’re stuck with them, at least for a few more years, but at the CURRENT price, despite what such officials in other counties are paid.

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