03082018 Truth in Hiring Graphic 650

Measure sponsored by Manar requires governors to be accountable for their own payroll

SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 60 percent of employees currently working for the governor’s office are paid by state agencies with funds intended for priorities such as economic development, public safety and child protection.

The practice of “offshoring” governors’ payroll costs within state agencies would come to an end under a good-government measure sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) that already has garnered bipartisan support among lawmakers. The legislation, called the Truth in Hiring Act, is 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.”

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 of offshoring 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.

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.

“Offshoring is wrong. It was wrong when Gov. Quinn did it. It was wrong when Gov. Blagojevich did it. It was wrong when Gov. Ryan did it. And it’s still wrong when Gov. Rauner does it,” Mendoza said. “This deceptive practice needs to stop.”

The Truth in Hiring Act simply says that every employee who works in the governor’s office will be paid from the governor’s payroll. Their salary will be counted in the governor’s budget and will not be pulled from agencies that are supposed to protect vulnerable citizens or put state troopers out patrolling highways.

“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 (HB5121). “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.”

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