Alton, IL

Comptroller Questions Rauner's Hiring Practices

Story by WBGZ Radio

Illinois' comptroller says Gov. Bruce Rauner is spending twice what he should on workers in his office – even though on paper, the governor is holding the line on the budget. 

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza told reporters Thursday that the governor officially has a budget of just under $5 million a year. But Mendoza said Rauner is actually spending twice as much. Mendoza said the governor's budget is supposed to be $4.9 million a year. Thanks to off-shoring, she said, the governor is actually spending $10.2 million a year. 

"According to the budget that the governor presented, there's only 44 employees that work for the governor," Mendoza said. "When in reality that number is 102."

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Mendoza said most of those people are being paid from budgets in other state agencies. And that's not just state agencies that may have a connection to that worker's job. Mendoza pointed to the state's education czar getting $250,000 out of the  Department of Human Services' budget, and the governor's deputy chief of staff is getting $140,000 from the Illinois State Police’s budget as examples. 

That's why Mendoza said she is pushing what's being called the Truth In Hiring Act to stop payroll off-shoring.

"The act says if you work in the governor's office, you will be paid from the governor's payroll," Mendoza said. "Your salary will be counted in the governor's budget. Your salary will not be pulled from agencies that are supposed to protect the most vulnerable."

Rauner's office on Thursday issued a statement that said all state agencies report to the governor, and the governor has power over those agencies. The statement goes on to say that as part of the governor's administration, those agencies "carry out the necessary functions of state government."

Lawmakers in both political parties are supporting Mendoza's idea for slightly different reasons. 

Democratic State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said if Illinois is ever going to repair the broken image of state government, taxpayers have to be able to trust that government is being honest. 

"We use words like 'debt transparency' and 'off-shoring.' But when you go back home and you go to a town hall meeting or a block club, people will ask, 'What do you mean you have no idea how how much the state owes? Doesn't any one keep the books?'," Harris said. "People think of it as shenanigans and monkey business."

Republican David McSweeney, R-Barrington, said the Truth in Hiring Act is a way for the governor to lead by example, and actually cut spending. 

"We need to have accurate accounting, and we obviously don't have it in the governor's office. It's not just Governor Rauner, but other governors," McSweeny told reporters at the statehouse. "Why doesn't Gov. Rauner reduce his budget by 10 percent? Lead by example."

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /


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