‘A Greater Deficit Of Trust’: State Lawmaker Proposes Closing Payroll Loophole Costing Taxpayers Thousands

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Weeks ago, CBS 2 exposed a state payroll loophole that’s costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.

It came to light when Mike Madigan resigned and was replaced by not one, but two people in the same month.

Making all three eligible for a full month’s pay.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov learned two of those three lawmakers will pocket the cash.

Madigan pocketed February’s full paycheck after resigning on the 18th.

Representative Anjelica Guerrero-Cuellar plans to do the same, for just a few days work. This, as a bill to stop these taxpayer hits continues to make  its way through the state capitol.

$5,788.66.

That’s how much new Illinois State Representative Anjelica Guerrero-Cuellar, Mike Madigan’s replacement, will get paid for the month of February. It’s the monthly salary for every Illinois lawmaker.  But Guerrero-Cuellar is pocketing those taxpayer dollars for only three and half days on the job.

“We had asked her to submit a waiver that would allow us not to have to pay her. But she declined,” said Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Guererro-Cuellar’s immediate predecessor, Edward Kodatt,  spent a mere two days in office before resigning and then declining the money. Mendoza said Guerrero-Cuellar was given ample opportunity to do the same.

“She was offered the opportunity once more to sign that waiver. One was delivered directly to her home as well,” Mendoza said.

She’s certainly not the first to take advantage of the state law, requiring lawmakers work only one day to get a full months pay. It’s why she’s pushing a law to change it.

“This need to get done. It’s long overdue.”

Springfield State Representative Mike Murphy is a co-sponsor. Murphy, a Republican, pushed similar legislation in the past. It will likely become part of a larger ethics reform package, now, he believes there’s support for.

“I think so. I think among the regular members. Now we got to see if there’s support among the leadership. Because that’s going to determine whether this bill moves forward,” Murphy said.

Currently, Illinois is facing a debt crisis. Mendoza said she is juggling a $5 billion bill backlog. Moody’s is predicting the state’s pension debt will top $300 billion dollars this year, the worst in the nation.

CBS 2 reached out to Guerrero-Cuellar, whose name isn’t even on her office door yet, for a response.  None immediately available.

“Of course, $6,000 is not going to solve the financial deficit. But it certainly causes a greater deficit of trust,” Mendoza said.

CBS 2 reached out to Illinoi House Speaker Chris Welch to ask if he supports changing the law tso prorate lawmakers pay – a day’s work for a day’s pay.

He said it has merit and is looking to caucus for further direction.

Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago

via Chicago News From CBS Channel 2, WBBM-TV
– CBS Chicago https://ift.tt/2FyVrp5

March 25, 2021 at 05:48PM

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