Bernard Schoenburg: Short-term senator gets committee leadership pay

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A Republican state senator appointed to the legislature to fill a 45-day gap is getting not only his base pay, but $1,270 extra to be minority spokesperson on a committee that hasn’t met since months before he took office and has no meetings planned.

Sen. YADAV “NICK” NATHWANI of Glen Ellyn was sworn in Nov. 26 after being appointed to the vacancy left with the resignation of former Sen. CHRIS NYBO, R-Elmhurst, who lost the Nov. 6 election to Democrat SUZY GLOWIAK of Western Springs in the 24th Senate District. 

In addition to filling out Nybo’s term, Nathwani is listed as minority spokesman of the Senate’s financial institutions committee. That committee hasn’t met since May 23. Nathwani will be out of office when Glowiak is sworn in on Jan. 9.  

Base pay for legislators is $67,836 annually, and committee chairs and minority spokespeople get an extra $10,327 annually. For his 45 days, Nathwani will thus get about $8,360 in base pay and about $1,270 in pay for his committee position.

I asked JASON GERWIG, spokesman for Senate GOP Leader BILL BRADY, R-Bloomington, if it was right for Brady to name Nathwani to the leadership post for such a short stint in the Senate and when the committee is apparently not meeting.

“Unfortunately, we don’t control the scheduling process of when committees meet,” Gerwig responded. “Maybe if we get a fair map that’ll change someday.”

Gerwig noted that Nathwani served the last three days of the veto session and will be there for session on Jan. 7 and 8, before the swearing in on Jan. 9 of the new General Assembly.  

A message left for at Nathwani’s Senate office went unanswered. He is chief financial officer of Professional Paving & Concrete Co. in Glen Ellyn, a Milton Township trustee and vice-chair of the Milton Township GOP.

Nathwani came on my radar due to a something published on the Chicago Tribune website headlined: “From the community: New Senator seeks input from residents.”

The author of the piece, which quotes Nathwani encouraging constituents to “reach out to me during this time to discuss the state and local issues important to them,” was listed only as “Community Contributor tbryers.”

That would be TIM BRYERS of Elmhurst, who is on the Senate GOP communications staff. He said he is a community contributor to the Tribune, and said in this case, he posted a news release. He said other communications people, as well as representatives of local community groups, use that and similar sites to get out community information.

The Trib website says that community contributors are registered users of TribLocal.com and Chicagotribune.com who have photos, articles, announcements and local events to share. The site is not for advertisers.

Bryers also said that with many newspapers having fewer reporters than in the past, such openings for outside digital content allows information to get to the public.

The Tribune used to have two reporters based in Springfield and there was one in recent years, but since MONIQUE GARCIA left in August to join a public affairs firm, nobody from the Trib is based in the capital city. MARISA KOLLIAS, spokeswoman for the Tribune, had no comment on the status of the Springfield opening, but did say the Tribune “is committed to state government coverage.”

As to having a news release from a state staffer published on the Trib website as community news, Kollias had no comment.

 

Run, Durbin, run

U.S. Sen. TAMMY DUCKWORTH is urging her colleague from Illinois, Senate Democratic Whip DICK DURBIN, to seek another term in 2020.

Appearing on WCIA-TV’s Capitol Connection Sunday, Duckworth said Durbin, 74, should seek a fifth six-year term in the Senate.

“I don’t think he’s quite made up his mind yet,” Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, said of her efforts to convince Springfield resident Durbin to run again, “but I am working very hard, and that’s my main focus.”

“Previously, he thought about whether or not he should retire,” Duckworth added. “But my work is cut out for me. … I certainly could use his leadership here and his partnership here in the United States Senate.”

No word yet from the Durbin camp on his intentions.

 

Judicial opinion

Justice JAMES KNECHT of the 4th District Appellate Court, who on Facebook criticized Supreme Court Justice BRETT KAVANAUGH’s temperament and attitude before Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation, continues to express himself on social media.

Former New York Mayor RUDY GIULIANI was on TV programs last weekend defending his client, President DONALD TRUMP, as Trump associates including Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn have admitted wrongdoing.

“If Rudy Giuliani was my lawyer,” Knecht wrote this week on Facebook, “I would throw myself on the mercy of the court rather than go forward. With his help I would probably be convicted of crimes with which I was not even charged. The court would punish me for being so stupid as a client that I hired an idiot. All this is by way of saying I have never seen such a bumbling doofus in a courtroom.”

Knecht was a McLean County associate and circuit judge before running unopposed for the appellate court as a Republican in 1986. The Fourth District is comprised of 30 counties including Sangamon County.

“I remember stopping a trial and advising a defendant he was receiving ineffective assistance of counsel,” Knecht continued in this week’s Facebook post, “and that attorney was Clarence Darrow compared to Giuliani. If his television appearances mirror his performance in court, he should be barred from every courtroom in America.”

I contacted Knecht, and he noted that he is not commenting on specific pending cases, only on Giuliani’s effectiveness as a lawyer and spokesperson. He also noted that in comments following his original post, he gave Giuliani credit for his conduct and service as New York mayor in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But that comment also wasn’t all glowing.

“Credit him for that but being mayor and being the President’s lawyer require different skills — and that was 17 years ago — he is not the same man,” Knecht wrote.

Contact Bernard Schoenburg: bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,16-Econ,19-Legal,22-Talk,26-Delivered,E Trav

Columns,Region: Springfield,Feeds,Politics,Region: Central,City: Springfield

via Bernard Schoenburg, SJ-R political columnist – The State Journal-Register https://ift.tt/2EenmOV

December 19, 2018 at 08:17PM

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