Governor’s office shrinking


by Norm Winick

The Zephyr, Galesburg, Ill.

Sept. 30, 2010


Despite near-universal outrage at reports that Governor Pat Quinn gave raises to some of his staffers and similar universal calls for cuts in government spending at the state level, information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act indicates that the Office of the Governor has significantly fewer employees and is spending far less on payroll than prior administrations.

The 2010 appropriation for personnel services in the Governor’s office is $4,589,400. That’s almost $3 million less than the 2002 appropriation of George Ryan which totaled $7,272,531. It’s been 21 years since the Governor’s personnel budget was consistently below $5 million.

Under James Thompson, there were 82 employees in the Governor’s office when he was inaugurated in 1977 and a personnel budget over $1 million for the first time ever — at $1,337,024.  By the time Thompson retired from the post in 1991, there were 182 such employees and a budget for them of $6,113,000.

When Jim Edgar succeeded him, the imperiousness decreased slightly. Edgar operated with an average of 142 employees over his eight years and personnel budgets that hovered just above $5 million annually. Edgar left office with a smaller staff than he inherited.

That trend reversed when George Ryan took office in 1999. He went from a staff of 126 to 134 when he left four years later, but he increased their pay dramatically. The appropriation for personnel services increased from $5,303,300 in 1999 to $7,272,531 in his last full year in office, 2003.

Despite his other problems, Rod Blagojevich gradually decreased both the number of employees and the related personnel costs in each of his six years in office.

Quinn, known throughout his career as a cheapskate, is continuing that trend by paying his employees less than his predecessors and employing fewer of them. Quinn has 99 staff positions on the Governor’s payroll, the lowest number since 1979. Additionally, not all the positions are currently filled; the average headcount for 2010 is 76.

Despite the fact that there is no Lieutenant Governor and some of those functions have been absorbed by the Governor’s office, Quinn’s personnel appropriation is 10 percent less than the budget he inherited.