Throughout the year, Gov. Pat Quinn gave his staff members big raises. Now, he’s telling them they won’t actually be able to earn all of that money. He’s also telling a lot of state employees who weren’t graced with raises that they’re going to have to take a salary cut.
Today, Quinn issued an Administrative Order instructing his staff members and all other non-union state employees to take 24 unpaid days off this fiscal year. That’s double the 12 furlough days they were taking last year. There are 260 work days in a year, so Quinn just took back almost 5 percent of the raises he handed out. From the release:
So. “Which tone-deaf numb-nut OK’d raises in the governor's office during these times of ‘shared sacrifice’?”, Eric Zorn wondered .
Today’s Administrative Order #1 is an across-the-board salary reduction that will result in a 9.2 percent salary cut for the Governor’s staff and state managers and policymakers. This plan will save the state approximately $18 million in fiscal year 2011.
Exactly. And this raises the question, if the state can now do without its employees for 9 percent of their work days, wouldn’t it make just as much sense to cut 9 percent of the state’s jobs?
The most aggravating part of these cuts is that they allow Quinn to back off without technically cutting his employees’ salaries, and without cutting their pensions at all. It also allows him to grandstand by demanding Michael Madigan and John Cullerton force their employees to do the same. Quinn also asked the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to negotiate additional unpaid days off.
A friend of mine tells me her sister, who makes $45K a year and is not in a union, is just about at her wit’s end right now. She simply cannot afford this new furlough order and is not allowed to join a bargaining unit. The original Quinn plan was reportedly to apply this new furlough to those making over $50K a year. No such luck for my friend’s sister.
An extra 12 days off won’t cost the governor a thing -- he can spend the time campaigning.