Quinn gives staff big raises

July 6, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The governor says the salary increases are due to promotions in his office.

Pat Quinn likes to portray himself as a frugal governor but now he's catching heat for some hefty pay raises to several top staffers.

An Associated Press analysis finds Quinn doled out 43 salary increases since taking office. The average raise: 11.4 percent.

"The bottom line to me is outcome," said Quinn.

Quinn says he's actually doing more with less. His staff takes a dozen unpaid furlough days each year. Plus, Quinn says, the Governor's Office budget is almost 25 percent smaller than it was during Rod Blagojevich's final months running the state.

Among those seeing the biggest boost in their state paycheck is David Vaught. He snagged a 20 percent raise after Quinn promoted him from a deputy to the state's budget director. He now makes $144,000 a year.

"I think picking this person or that person and saying they got a raise. A lot of them got different assignments, they have a lot more to do," said Quinn.

The appearance of doling out raises while at the same time cuttings state services and battling a severely unbalanced budget could be a political problem for Quinn. He's locked in a tight race with state senator Bill Brady. But Quinn says his budget cutting credentials are superior to those of his opponent.

"He won't cut his own salary. He won't cut expenses but he wants to cut the minimum wage? And now he wants to cut teachers who are indispensible to the learning of our children," said Quinn.

Republican candidate for governor, Bill Brady just issued a statement saying the pay raises show Quinn is incapable of solving the state's fiscal problems.

ABC7 learned Tuesday that legislative leaders have set a date to return to Springfield to vote on billions of dollars worth of borrowing. It'll be November 4, two days after the election. If Quinn is elected, they'll likely approve the borrowing. If Brady wins, the Democratic-controlled General Assembly would likely wait and stick him with the bill and the political cost of drastic cuts.

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