Now that Pat Quinn has vacated the lieutenant governor's office for the top job in the state, you might think that the office of the second banana was just shut down. After all, what does the lieutenant governor do anyway besides sit around and wait for the governor to be impeached, indicted, or otherwise thrown out of office?
But Fox News Chicago's Dane Placko reports that the lights are still on and 13 employees are still reporting to work every day in the lieutenant governor's office - even though they theoretically have no boss. And that means taxpayers are still footing the $2 million annual bill for a job that sort of doesn't exist anymore.
"We should just put [the office] in mothballs," state Rep. Jack Franks tells Placko. "We can do away with that staff right now."
But Quinn begs to differ; he says he's still doing his old job as well as his new one.
"I have to do two jobs," Quinn says. "There are a number of missions and responsibilites and duties in the law for the lieutenant governor."
Perhaps, but the only constitutional reponsibility is to replace the governor. And the job is deemed so unimportant by the state constitution that it makes no provision for replacing the lieutenant governor should the office become vacant - at least until the next election.
Many states don't have a lieutenant governor, Placko reports. Someone like the attorney general could easily become next in line should the governor, say, be sent to the pokey.
Quinn argues that he worked on issues like veteran's affairs and the environment in office, but that was his choice. Other lieutentant governor's probably played tiddlywinks all day. And what's to prevent a lieutenant governor from devoting their time to, say, state UFO policy or trying to remove flouride from our water?
If the vice president's job isn't worth, as once famously said, a warm bucket of spit, what does that make the job of lieutenant governor of Illinois worth? Besides $2 million a year?