State lawmakers are poised to pass legislation in the lame duck session to give the incoming Pritzker administration the ability to increase the salaries of department directors and their assistants by at least 15 percent.
The 100th General Assembly wraps up its work before the 101st General Assembly takes its seat Wednesday. The outgoing class of lawmakers could pass legislation for the incoming administration to sign. Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker will be inaugurated Monday, Jan. 14.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said lawmakers were asked by the incoming Pritzker administration to increase spending already.
“He’s looking to attract good top talent where he can pay a little bit better than what the current directors are paid,” Durkin said of the incoming Democratic governor. “I think it’s not an unreasonable request to make at this point starting off with a new General Assembly and a new administration.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said that’s why a measure allowing such a move will come up before the end of lame duck.
“It would clearly help the recruitment of high quality agency directors if they could offer a higher salary so that’s why the bill is going to be offered and called,” Madigan said.
Outgoing Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe makes more than $133,000. A 15 percent increase would tack on nearly $20,000 more for Pritzker’s nominee John Sullivan. Former Department of Revenue Director Connie Beard made $142,000. A 15 percent increase there would tack on more than $21,000.
Another measure would be to reconstitute the Illinois Tollway Authority. Asked why now, Madigan said it should be obvious.
“I think you can answer that question yourself if you just go back and review all the reports,” Madigan said.
Media reports indicate a lack of transparency and alleged unethical behavior within the agency.
Durkin seems to put support behind both bills as a way to work cooperatively with the incoming administration.
“I don't see anything else coming,” Durkin said. “I’m seeing some posters here about a gas tax. There’s nothing about an infrastructure bill or anything regarding a gas tax or anything that’s going to be considered this week.”