After passing legislation that triggered a detailed audit of College of DuPage expenditures and limited the size and scope of community college buyout packages and severance agreements, State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) on Monday filed a bill that takes aim at administrative perks that are used to bolster pensionable income for community college administrators.

HB4256 would amend the State Universities Article of the Illinois Pension Code to restrict the definition of “basic compensation,” which is used in calculating pensions, to exclude perks such as car and house payment allowances and allowances for home maintenance, laundry and other items. “Most Illinoisans are not aware that these college presidents, who often make more than $300,000 per year, are also receiving tens of thousands in these additional perks,” said Ives. “The allowances for cars and house payments boost pensionable income and drive up the costs to Illinois taxpayers.”

According to Ives, the provisions would not apply to employees hired before the effective date of the bill. “For college or university employees hired after the effective date, pensionable income would be limited just to the gross basic rate of salary or wages paid by the employer,” said Ives. “These hidden perks have allowed our colleges to inflate pensions to ridiculous levels and my bill will remove the loophole that allows that to occur while providing clarity to just how much money these college and university administrators make.”

This spring the Illinois House of Representatives spent nearly $1 million giving stipends to 89 legislators, over half of the members, for their roles as chairperson or minority spokesperson for one of fifty house committees. Three out of the fifty committees never met - not once. And yet, the legislator received the stipend of $10,327. On average committees met only 9 times, a cost of $1,147 per meeting. The majority of the committees met 7 times or less, equal to $1475 per meeting. This stipend comes on top of regular legislator pay of $67,836 – the 5th highest in the nation for part-time work. In Illinois that work has given taxpayers unbalanced budgets for the last 13 years and the worst credit rating in the nation.

These stipends are excessive and unnecessary. Committee meetings are part of the lawmaking process. Therefore, service on a committee is a part of a lawmaker’s job. Even more significant is the fact that most important legislation, including budget bills, are pushed through at the last minute by the House Executive Committee with nary a discussion, making a mockery of the entire legislative process and fools of those who believe in it. 

Why is it that giving unionized government employees or elected officials additional duties without additional pay is treated as abuse of some sort? In the Army, positions similar to a committee chair but with actual responsibilities and real consequences, such as a company training officer or security officer, are an additional duty with no monetary remuneration. It is expected. It is part of being a leader. For almost a direct comparison, consider that police officers, per their union contracts, receive “Shooting Bonus Pay” for scores above average on a qualification test. While in the military, a soldier is motivated to improve his marksmanship because it is the difference between life and death – not only for him, but for the men in his company. 

It is difficult to see these stipends as anything other than one more Illinois patronage program. It matters not at all if the chairperson or spokesperson has any expertise in the subject matter considered by a committee. It matters not at all how long or often committees meet or what real work is accomplished. Illinois 2.0 is essentially Colonial America. The King’s Loyalists are rewarded handsomely.

Illinois has not even begun to cut expenses or consider necessary structural reforms. And yet these unnecessary stipends remain in place. When legislators are paid so well that they don't need outside employment they risk becoming isolated from the real-world economic climate. It is time for legislators to share the burden. The state needs to make budget cuts, and $1 million is a great start.
Mark your calendars for State Representative Jeanne Ives' Annual Kids' Health & Fitness Boot Camp, which will be held this year on Friday, August 14, at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

The free event will be held from 9:00 AM until noon and is open to children ages 7-12, who must be accompanied by an adult. Participants will take part in a variety of fun, physical activities, including an FTX Crossfit obstacle course, a climbing wall, a National Guard fitness test, a scavenger hunt, a one-mile challenge run through the park and aerobics with music. There will be healthy snacks and prizes for participants.

Cantigny Park is located at 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. For additional information about this event, please contact Representative Ives' office at (630) 384-1108.
Legislation sponsored by State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) that limits the size and scope of community college buyout packages and severance agreements, and limits the length of employment contracts has passed in the Illinois House and Senate and now moves to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

In response to the $763,000 contract buyout approved by College of DuPage Trustees for President Dr. Robert Breuder earlier this year, Ives carried HB3593, which would limit the amount of future agreements to no more than one year of salary and benefits. “The agreement that the majority of the COD trustees approved for their underperforming president was excessive and not in the best interest of the taxpayers who fund the college,” said Ives. “I would have liked to have been able to roll back his agreement, but at least moving forward there will be taxpayer protections in place.”

The bill limits employment contracts with a set start and end date to no more than four years with no provision for any automatic rollover clauses. “First, I would like to thank College of DuPage Board President Kathy Hamilton for bringing this to my attention, and Senator Connelly for his help in getting this bill through the Senate,” said Ives.

“Long-term contracts have become problematic in instances where an employee is underperforming and a change needs to be made,” Ives said. “It is important to note that the Senate Democrat Caucus commissioned an investigative report on executive compensation in the State’s Higher Education system that clearly pointed out that compensation, total cost of severance, contract length and tenure needed to be addressed statewide. While more work needs to be done, this legislation is a step in the right direction.”

Ives has been the leading force in the House of Representatives in responding to allegations of malfeasance at the College of DuPage. In addition to HB3593, Ives was also the Chief Sponsor of the unanimously-approved HR55, which directs the Illinois Auditor General to conduct a thorough performance audit of all State moneys provided to the College of DuPage for fiscal years 2007-2014.

In addition to Ives’ HB3593 and HR55, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) also took aim at the College of DuPage this year by sponsoring HB303, which adds transparency to publicly-funded severance agreements by making them subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). “Given all that has come to light about the financial mismanagement at the College of DuPage and other government institutions, public trust has eroded,” said McDermed. “Taxpayers have the absolute right to know how their money is being spent, especially when that money accompanies the departure of a government employee.”

Shortly after the successful vote on HB3593, Ives spoke about the importance of the taxpayer protections included in her bill. You can listen to that interview here.
At a time when state government is telling taxpayers, state workers, businesses and organizations that they must - again - play a role in cleaning up the state's fiscal mess, legislators throughout the state should do the same. State Representative Jeanne Ives believes in leading by example. 

Since taking office in 2013, Representative Ives has given money back from her district allotment every fiscal year: FY 2013 she returned $6,152.16 to the state; in FY14 Ives gave back $11,533.76. And, in FY 2015 she will return about $12,000 which represents over 17% of her annual office allotment. Ives and her staff have worked deliberately to identify and implement efficiencies and cost saving measures that allowed them to end each fiscal year with a budget surplus. Additionally, she has co-sponsored legislation that would reduce all House district office allotments by 10 percent. Democrat leaders who control the General Assembly have refused to give that bill a vote.

Furthermore, Ives has refused a pension and pays for her own events out-of-pocket or by partnering with local businesses. Her office furniture and other equipment is either donated or purchased out of pocket.

"My commitment has always been to taxpayers and businesses, who are stuck funding a government that is isn't always respectful of their hard work," says Ives. "Every office of government, at every level of government needs to find ways to save money and operate more efficiently. We have asked families and businesses to bear the burden alone for far too long. The state has a long way to go in winning back the trust of taxpayers and businesses. Reducing office budgets is a small, but important first step."
State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) invites residents of Illinois’ 42nd Legislative House District to join her on July 15 for a Property Tax Town Hall Meeting.

The event, which will be held at 7:00 PM at the Wheaton Park District Community Center, 1777 S. Blanchard Road in Wheaton, is free and open to the public.

“This event is the latest in a series of informational forums I am sponsoring in the District 42 area,” said Ives. “There are a lot of important issues that affect Illinoisans right now, and in my role as the State Representative for this area I am bringing experts together to provide information for citizens.”

The meeting will begin with a short power point presentation, and an audience Question & Answer session will follow. In addition to Representative Ives, panelists will include District 200 Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler, Milton Township Assessor Chris LeVan, Naperville Township Assessor Warren Dixon, Wheaton City Manager Don Rose and Wheaton Finance Director Bob Lehnhardt.

“I have assembled a knowledgeable group of experts who will explain how tax rates are created, and they will spend as much time as needed to ensure everyone’s questions are answered,” Ives said. “I hope to see a large turnout for this informative and timely event.”

For additional information about the forum, please contact Ives’ office at (630) 384-1108, or at