Tuesday, August 19, 2008

 

Emil Jones Retires

And gets a 26% raise

Senate President Emil Jones has long been one of my favorite politicians. Not because of his political views, of course, but because he has put together a successful political career despite being probably the most inarticulate political leader I've ever seen. He looks every bit like the ward boss he is, which undoubtedly helped him.

Jones plans to install his son as his successor, which is, after all, a local tradition. So is enriching yourself and those close to you:
In recent years, Jones has had to defend himself amid questions about whether he's milked government to help people close to him. The Chicago Sun-Times and NBC5 last year, for example, disclosed that a technology firm owned by Jones' stepson, John Sterling, stood to make more than $700,000 as a subcontractor on a government-streamlining contract.

The Senate president also came under fire earlier this year for taking $120,000 in interest-free personal loans from his campaign fund over the years. Jones currently owes the fund $30,000.

But -- providing he stays out of politics -- Jones will have plenty of cash available to repay that debt. Jones had $577,605 in his campaign fund as of June 30, 1998, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political reform. State law allows contributions amassed until that date to be spent on personal items, provided income taxes on the campaign cash are paid.

As one of the longest-serving members of the General Assembly, Jones also is positioned for a healthy pension. If he does not take any other state positions and retires at the end of his term in January, he would begin drawing a state pension of $81,016 annually. A year later, he would see that total increase by 48 percent because he would be grandfathered in under an otherwise defunct retirement formula that rewarded service beyond 20 years.
These type of shenanigans go on all the time here. I think the public would be better served if elected officials were ineligible for pensions. Come to think of it, the public would be better served if public employees weren't given pension benefits.

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