By CARL GREEN
Springfield, IL – More than half the employees working for the Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s office are paid by state agencies with funds intended for other priorities such as economic development, public safety and child protection, state Senator Andy Manar reports.
But this practice of “offshoring” the governor’s payroll costs within state agencies would end under a measure sponsored by Manar (D-Bunker Hill) called the Truth in Hiring Act, an initiative of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.
“Every time a governor shifts a new, unexpected six-figure salary onto a state agency’s plate, dollars that had been prioritized for important purposes are being diverted to a paycheck instead,” Manar said.
“Governors should understand the importance of being transparent about their expenses. Taxpayers who foot the bill for government, and frankly the lawmakers who determine the appropriations for state agencies, deserve that accountability.”
Such offshoring has been utilized by Illinois governors, Democratic and Republican, for years to make it appear their office budgets are smaller than they actually are. Examples include paying an education advisor to the governor $250,000 from the Department of Human Services budget or a deputy chief of staff to the governor $140,000 from the Illinois State Police budget.
ONLY 44 OF 102 WORKERS
The most recent payroll data for the state shows that only 44 of 102 employees in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office are paid from the governor’s budget. The rest – 58 staffers – are hidden in other agencies’ payrolls. If the governor were accurately reporting all the people working in his office, he would have to disclose his office budget is more than $10 million, instead of the $4.9 million budgeted for the current fiscal year.
The Truth in Hiring Act simply says every employee who works in the governor’s office will be paid from the governor’s payroll. Their salaries will be counted in the governor’s budget and will not be pulled from agencies.
“This practice subverts the appropriations process. It takes money away from state agencies that protect children, the environment and public safety,” said Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago), who is sponsoring the legislation in the House with one Republican among its co-sponsors. “This governor, and any future governors, should present the true cost of their staff in their office’s budget and make the case for why they need that level of funding.”
Both the Senate and House versions have been referred to State Government committees.