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More news from Hinsdale. Extremist board members chasing good teachers out.

July 29, 2014


- Hinsdale High School Teachers Association

Imagine a top teaching candidate with a masters degree and seven years experience interviewing for a position at Hinsdale 86 and neighboring Lyons Township. How would the employment offers of each district compare?

In Hinsdale, the Board will tell such a candidate that her experience doesn’t matter, divide her seven years experience in half and round down to three years of experience credit. This candidate would earn $68,160. Because she will not earn more money for experience or advanced coursework, she will earn around $68,000 in inflation adjusted dollars, for the rest of her career because, unlike every other high school district in Illinois, step and lane will no longer exist in Hinsdale 86.

At Lyons Township the same top candidate would receive credit for all their seven years experience, and start on Step 8 of the salary schedule at $82,283. She will be able to see the salary schedule in use, and plan for her financial future earning step and earned lane advancement throughout her career.

If she does her due diligence, as all top candidates do, she will look beyond the first year salary and examine her earnings potential. Her research will show that a salary schedule like LT’s enables her to earn thousands of dollars a year more than Hinsdale. In Hinsdale 86 there will be no salary schedule, essentially freezing her salary in inflation adjusted dollars.

Finally as a top candidate, she’ll do a quick Google search to see how the Board of Education refers to the teachers in their district in public discourse.

Ultimately when this top teaching candidate makes the decision of which school district they want to be a part of they will quickly realize that if they accept a position in Hinsdale 86 they will:

  • Work for a Board that doesn’t value experience or advanced education.
  • Earn thousands less every year.
  • Earn a salary that never increases in real inflation adjusted dollars.
  • Never earn more money for having advanced degrees.
  • Have no salary schedule she can plan on.
  • Have much lower long-term earnings potential.
  • Work for a Board that is openly hostile to its teachers.

So when it comes to attracting and retaining high quality teachers, do you think this candidate will consider the Hinsdale 86 offer as “more than fair”? And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the health insurance cost increases of up to 229% in the Skoda/Corcoran offer.

So the question is: Does the Board’s offer make District 86 less competitive?

Yes. Immediately.

With the board’s latest offer, the four-year earnings for a new teacher in District 86 will be the lowest in the area – from Proviso to Downers, from Highland Park to New Lenox. Teachers in other districts will be earning thousands of dollars more per year and over their career. The best candidates will undoubtedly choose other districts. Teachers still in the early stages of their careers will leave for better paying opportunities elsewhere.

Is District 86 already losing high quality teachers?

Yes. Several candidates in several departments have not accepted offers from District 86 and the district has seen record number of resignations of existing staff members. At least a half dozen candidates have seen job offers rescinded by the Board.

Skoda keeps saying there are hundreds of good candidates available. But why are Department chairs still struggling to fill teaching positions in late July? It’s important to remember that candidates in the current pool have not been hired by any other school district so how is it that they are suddenly so qualified to teach in this district? Since when has “good enough” been acceptable for Hinsdale 86? There is a long tradition of “best of the best” as the hiring standard in District 86. Unfortunately that standard appears to be in danger due to the actions of board members like Skoda and Corcoran.

Ten minute drawing. Teens grill the mayor.

July 29, 2014


Chicago Tonight. In the pension discussion where were the Democratic Party pension thieves?

July 29, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.21.55 AM

Carol Marin with Republican state Rep. Thomas Morrison, University of Chicago professor of law Julie Roin, and president of Illinois Federation of Teachers Dan Montgomery.

I watched the pension discussion on Chicago Tonight.

I’m not sure anyone who was not really invested in the issue stayed with it. It was kind of dry.

What was interesting to me was who was not there.

No Democrat Elaine Nekritz. No Democrat Dan Biss. Or Democrat Don Harmon. Certainly no Mike Madigan or John Cullerton.

These are the leaders of the state House and Senate who led the charge on cutting public employee pension benefits.

And likely will again.

Republican Tom Morrison, who was there, simply repeated his party’s talking points: A constitutional amendment to erase the pension protection clause and changing our defined benefit pension to a 401K.

But Republican solutions are mostly irrelevant.

Unless those solutions get adopted by Democrats.

Morrison plays the useful idiot for Democrats. And, frankly, for our union leaders as well.

By having him as the only politician on the panel, his proposals appear to be the main threat.

And  they provide our leadership with a reason to compromise on our constitutional protection, as they did with SB2404.

As they did with their endorsement of ALEC Chair Kirk Dillard for governor and now Pat Quinn.

If, as expected, the Supreme Court rules that Senate Bill 1 is unconstitutional, Plan B will not be coming from Tom Morrison and the Republicans.

It will come from the Democratic Party leadership in the state.

So far, they have been the pension thieves.

What is their Plan B?

They’re not saying.

IPACE endorsements and pension thieves. Corrected.

July 29, 2014

Thief running with a stolen purse

IEA’s IPACE endorsements for state House and Senate elections are done by local IPACE committees. The recommendations must be approved by the state IPACE committee.

I compiled the list of IPACE recommended candidates and their votes on Senate Bill 1, the pension theft. Some of those recommended are not incumbents, so they did not have an opportunity to vote.

The list does not include candidates who did not seek IEA/IPACE recommendation, which includes some Democrats and many Republicans.

Some of the non-incumbents opposed SB1. I don’t have that information on all of them. Comment if you do.

Not all local IPACE committees have met yet.

Where the committee voted not to recommend anyone, I noted it.

Of course, the state IPACE and IEA have endorsed Governor Quinn who supported SB1 and signed it.

When further recommendation action by IPACE is released, I will post it.

SD 3 Hunter, Mattie D   Pension thief

SD 9 No recommendation

SD 13 Harris, Napoleon D   Pension thief

SD 21 Connelly, Michael R Pension thief

SD 30 Link, Terry D Pension thief

SD 42 Holmes, Linda D

SD 45 Bivins, Tim R

SD 51 Rose, Chapin R


HD 5 Dunkin, Ken

HD 11 Williams Ann D Pension thief

HD 12 Feigenholtz Sara D Pension thief

HD 14 Cassidy, Kelly D Pension thief

HD 17 No recommendation

HD 18 No recommendation

HD 26 Mitchell, Christian D Pension thief

HD 27 Davis, Monique D Pension thief

HD 28 Rita, Bob D Pension thief  corrected

HD 29 No recommendation

HD 30 Davis, Will D

HD 33 Evans, Marcus D

HD 34 Sims, Elgie D

HD 37 No recommendation

HD 38 Riely, Al D

HD 39 Guzzardi, Will D

HD 41 No recommendation

HD 47 No recommendation

HD 49 Fortner, Mike R

HD 50 No recommendation

HD 55 No recommendation

HD 56 Moynihan, Jim R

HD 57 No recommendation

HD 58 Drury, Scott D Pension thief

HD 59 Sente, Carol D Pension thief

HD 60 Karner, Loren D

HD 63 Franks, Jack D

Ten minute drawing. What’s that noise?

July 28, 2014


Madigan’s Iron Dome.

July 28, 2014

Mike Madigan has been Speaker since 1983. Remember Lee Elia?

All this debate about whether we should vote for Quinn or not.

Save your breath.

When November’s election rolls around, the most powerful man in Illinois will be re-elected to office.

And you won’t be voting for him.

That would be the State Rep from the 22nd House District.

He will get the votes of a few thousand people, out of couple million in the state that will vote that day.

Michael Madigan.

He has been Speaker for all but two years since 1983.

The year Cub’s manager Lee Elia explained Chicago to the press.

Madigan is protected by an Iron Dome.

His daughter is the state’s Attorney General.

It is a relationship that will surely torpedo any further political ambitions she may have.

And he has appointed a legislative Investigator General who is nothing more than his golfing partner.

Roberts, 72, is a past Sangamon County state’s attorney, U.S. attorney for central Illinois and chief legal counsel to Edgar. Since 1997, he has worked for Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, a law firm based in Chicago with about 500 lawyers working in offices in 11 states. Roberts is the firm’s managing partner.

Roberts was a registered lobbyist from 2000 to 2013, state records show, but says he never lobbied the General Assembly.

His law firm, though, has financial and political ties to Madigan, other Democrats and also Republican legislators, records show. Among them:

Political committees controlled by Madigan paid Hinshaw & Culbertson more than $40,000 between 2002 and 2008, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Roberts represented Madigan during an investigation by federal authorities in Springfield into the possible misuse of state resources that ended in early 2005 with no charges filed.

Hinshaw has contributed to the campaign funds of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago; Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne, D-East St. Louis; Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont; and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs. Roberts personally donated $500 last year to the campaign fund of state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission that approved Roberts’ appointment on May 30. Other members of that committee include Clayborne, who until recently worked for the law firm run by Roberts in its downstate Belleville office.

State agencies have hired Hinshaw and paid the firm more than $1.8 million over the past five years, state records show. That includes $2,339 from the Cullerton-led Senate Democrats in the 2012 budget year and $1,950 from the Madigan-led House Democrats in 2014.
Roberts says he worked directly with the Senate Democratic leaders but couldn’t recall if he personally worked with the House leadership. He says he also has counseled House Republican leaders.

Roberts says those connections won’t get in the way of him doing his job, which pays him on a case-by-case basis at a rate of $215 an hour to investigate misconduct complaints against lawmakers.

“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I thought there were conflicts,” says Roberts, who started in the post July 1, replacing Tom Homer, a Naperville attorney and former judge and Democratic state representative.

Right. Of course there aren’t any conflicts.

As for Rauner and Quinn?

In the words of the immortal Lee Elia, “They can kiss my f*ckin’ ass right downtown and PRINT IT.”

John Dillon. A Bitter Pill: Illinois Supreme Court’s decision and Chicago corporate media.

July 28, 2014


- John Dillon is a retired teacher, pension activist and blogs at Pension Vocabulary.

Bitter Pill is an idiom that arises from usage nearly a century ago or in some lexicons even earlier.  Imagine a time when medicine was less than palatable or manageable, and you have a start.  Later on, during the malaria infestations of the Panama Canal  (1880 – 1920) project, “bitter” became the operative adjective.    “Bark of the cinchona tree was effective in fighting malaria, but the quinine it contained was extremely bitter. Since medications weren’t coated, cinchona pellets caused any disagreeable thing to be termed a bitter pill to swallow”  ( – ixzz38im70gX7) .  Thus, we have the term “bitter pill” for any unpleasant fact that perforce must be accepted.

And, let’s be honest, the recent blitz-ink of the editorial members of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times on July 25th indicate their chiefs’ directions to criticize the recent Illinois Supreme Court findings in Kanerva v. Weems that “we have concluded that the provision was aimed at protecting the right to receive the promised retirement benefits, not the adequacy of funding to pay for them.”

In the Tribune, Jon McCarron blamed an expansive group of people for the probable failure of SB1 given the recent ISC decision for benefits: eligibility for all of the benefits is limited to, conditioned upon, and flows directly from membership in one of the State’s various public pension systems.  Giving the language of article XIII, section 5, its plain and ordinary meaning, all of these benefits, including subsidized health care must be considered to be benefits of membership in a pension or retirement system of the State and, therefore, within that provision’s protections.”

In McCarron’s opine, the fault lies in Madigan, the Commercial Club, and – in a brief moment – the media.  Of course as SB1 competed with SB2404, the Tribune was quick in their editorial board to oppose any lesser package of pension theft than SB1; but now this member/writer of opinion pieces of the board seems confused by not only who is to blame, but what to do next.  “So, where do we go from here?”

So, McCarron suggests in his title that we all need to return to the “Drawing Board.”  But we all need to remember that the Tribune and other corporate media has never really looked at anything resembling a real answer to two items in order to reduce the pension obligations the State of Illinois owes now and will always owe to those from which it diverted (stole) required money for retirement.

Using a literary puppet like I use Ernesto or Klonsky uses Tony at the Red Line Tap, McCarron suggests his good friend Cullerton proposes that the COLA would be scaled back for current workers unless they agree to no longer receiving raises while they work in the public sector.

Are you serious?

Even local graduates – superb graduates – in education would flee the state for real professions in other intelligent climes.

If not that, McCarron suggests “savants might seek instead a constitutional amendment that removes the pension protection clause.”  McCarron does imply there would be difficulty due to numbers needed (3/5th vote by both legislative chambers and a 60% approval of those voting).   Ignoring thornier issues, McCarron does not ponder problems of ex post facto, bills of attainder, or grandfathering of the current retirees –  not to mention the status of those who are stopped where they currently reside in earnings.  Oops, not to mention those who would file suit for a currently un-provided Social Security.

An IEA friend wrote to me that he found little to cringe about in McCarron’s piece.  Really?  I imagine if you read the title of the piece, things seem better; but the ideas offered in the second column assure me that McCarron and the Tribune are still trying to find an ultimate/negative solution to the pensions, not a actual way out.

Read the entire post here.


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