The State of Illinois is broke because it is inherently incompetent in nearly every area of government. And one such area is when it comes to Paid Administrative Leaves, which according to the Chicago Tribune and the Governor's Office, is supposed to be an "expeditious process. But expeditious it is NOT. Especially when you consider how State Boxing Official Joel Campuzano KOED Illinois Taxpayers by staying on Paid Administrative Leave for a whopping 857 calendar days as investigators dilly-dallied about before losing their fight to dismiss him.
Now I am not even going to get into whether or not Joel Campuzano "allegedly used his position to further his wife's political campaigns in DuPage County and advance his brother's career as a boxing judge at the expense of others" but I will say this - everything about his investigation failed to live up to the "extraordinary nature" required for the Director of the Department of Central Management to permit any agency director to extend the length of Campuzano's Administrative Paid Leave.
Matter of fact, Joel Campuzano was placed on leave from his position as the state's No. 2 official at the Illinois State Professional Athletic Commission on March 8, 2011 and it wasn't until July of 2013 that he was dismissed. Campuzano immediately challenged the decision and an arbitrator ruled in December that he should have been suspended rather than fired.
As a result, Joel Campuzano returned to work on December 16th and is currently making $92,424 after earning 7 pay-raises during his long drawn out appeals process. In addition to the raises, he was also awarded three months' pay for the time he was out of work. Nice Payday!
But Campuzano isn't the only one who has benefited at the expense of Illinois Taxpayers. "The Chicago Tribune reported in October 2012 that more than 2,000 state employees had been put on paid leave in the previous five years, collecting $23 million in wages. Nearly 70 employees spent more than a year on paid leave to the tune of $5 million."
And guess what? These people will also eventually benefit again when it comes time to draw from their Illinois Public Pension System(s)!
Now, I absolutely have to agree with State Representative and Chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee Jack Franks (D - Marengo) when he says that the length of Joel Campuzano paid leave was appalling - but I have to ask - what in the hell are you going to do about it?
State Representative Jack Franks, in his role as Chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee, is in the right place to start putting the wheels into motion that would (1) stop the reactionary lip service taxpayers are routinely given whenever a scandal or government inefficiency is exposed and (2) begin the process of streamlining Illinois State Government.
But I have to suspect that it is much easier for Representative Franks to be publicly appalled than actually doing what is necessary to stop it. As I pretty much alluded to in my previous post regarding the "Retirement Means Retirement Act."
There are simply just too many agencies, boards and commissions in the State of Illinois. And rather than being instruments of transparency they have instead created a web of impediments and deterrents for taxpayers to get information via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). And all you need to do for an example of that is to look back at the recent METRA Scandal.
Speaking of METRA - exactly how many agencies and boards do the taxpayers need to administer and manage Transportation in this state anyhow? Seems to me that all these agencies should have been consolidated a long, long time ago.
As it is now - the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing.
But I can pretty much guarantee you that both those hands are in the pockets of Illinois Taxpayers! Unfortunately, that is exactly why Illinois Lawmakers do what they do because it gives them plenty of fodder for their rhetoric and outrage while quietly perpetuating the patronage, cronyism, nepotism and pay to play culture that has become a Trademark of Illinois Government while making us a national laughingstock.
Of course Illinois Voters haven't exactly risen to the challenge of ridding themselves of the Status Quo either. And that makes it all the easier for the few in the minority to govern the majority. And quite frankly it will remain that way until the good people of Illinois finally wake up and see that by supporting the same old, same old they will continue to get the same old, same old.
Which, of course, is by design!
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Tags: Chicago Political Commentary, Cronyism, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, Illinois, Illinois Public Pension System, Illinois State Professional Athletic Commission, Illinois Taxpayers, Jack Franks, Joel Campuzano, METRA Scandal, Nepotism, News and Opinion, Op Ed, Paid Administrative Leave, Patronage, Pay To Play, Politics, State Boxing Official Joel Campuzano, state of Illinois, State Representative Jack Franks