Governor Pat Quinn has been forced to defend his decision to give pay raises to top-staffers in the midst of a historic fiscal crisis.
It’s proved to be a difficult position to defend.
Quinn said he cut his office's spending despite huge challenges but still needed the best employees he could find and that many workers took on more responsibilities even when they didn't get a formal promotion or new title, he said. (Read the Pay Raise Documention Here and Here.)
"They may have a different assignment from the governor's office to carry out," Quinn, a Democrat from Chicago, said during a news conference at the Governor's Mansion.
Many are calling his logic hypocritical – including fellow Democrats.
"Apparently the best way to make it through one of the worst economic downturns in our nation's history is to get a job working for the governor of the state of Illinois," a statement from State Senator Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) read.
Quinn mostly lives what he preaches. And it’s admirable that, as an employer, he wants to take care of “his people.” Plus, the amount of money we’re talking about is just a drop in the ocean of red ink flooding the state.
But the governor needs to somehow come to the realization that the pain he is inflicting via his budget and his other actions is all too real for hundreds of thousands of people who aren’t privileged enough to reside within his inner circle.
All told, Quinn has given 43 raises averaging 11.4 percent to members of his staff since he became governor, despite the state budget crisis. Most went to people who were given promotions or new jobs, but more than one-third of the raises were not linked to new duties.