Two Republican statewide officeholders who have criticized government spending and want to consolidate it have handed out pay raises to dozens of employees during a fiscal crisis.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has awarded 19 pay raises to staff members averaging 16 percent at the very time Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has threatened 1,900 layoffs and facilities closures, reneged on a negotiated pay increase for thousands of union workers in his administration and eliminated salaries for regional school administrators, who have been working for free since July.
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a former treasurer who returned to state government this year by declaring she’s “not going away” until the budget crisis is solved, gave raises of at least 3 percent to 56 staffers and up to 15 percent to a handful of employees after promotions or an “equity adjustment.”
The salary increases were discovered in an analysis of payroll records by the Better Government Association, a Chicago-based nonprofit group which showed the findings to The Associated Press.
BGA Executive Director Andy Shaw pointed out that Rutherford and Topinka were elected as fiscal conservatives. “These are tough economic times, so they should realize that this is not the time to hand out pay raises to political appointees who already enjoy generous salaries and benefits,” Shaw said.