Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gorman urges legislature to mandate posting of complete public employee wage listings

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Gorman urges legislature to mandate posting of complete public employee wage listings

Commissioner Gorman to introduce resolution asking the General Assembly to require all public employee salaries and benefits to posted online

For Immediate Release July 20, 2011
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Orland Park -- Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman Wednesday joined in calling for the Illinois Legislature to require all taxing bodies to publicly post detailed wages and benefits received by public employees.

The proposal was made this week by Orland Fire Protection District board President Jim Hickey who released a comprehensive list of all wages and benefits earned by the district's 112 public employees.

The disclosure, which was withheld by the unions and the former OFPD board, shows Orland firefighters are among the highest paid in the country with the average salary at more than $100,000 and more than $200,000 with salary and benefits.

"This is what we have been fighting for, to release basic information so that the public has an accurate understanding of how their tax dollars are spent by their local governments," Gorman said.
Gorman in fact was challenged by the former president of the OFPD Patrick Maher, who is related to the powerful Chicago 19th Ward union family of Tom Hynes.

"Now we know why they targeted me. The release of the data by the Orland Fire Protection District shows that Pat Maher failed in his duties to fight for the best interests of the taxpayers of the district, while Mayor Dan McLaughlin condoned this behavior." Gorman said, noting that past efforts to get the data released were blocked by Maher and his allies on the Fire Protection District.

"People are shocked by the wages that the data shows. It's not about whether or not we support firefighters. Of course we support firefighters. But their wages should be dictated by the needs of the community and the ability of the taxpayers to fund those services, not by a clout-heavy union that was used as an election army by their political sponsors."

Gorman noted that Maher received both political and financial backing from the fire union in his unsuccessful bid to unseat her from the County Board in 2010 and again in his failed bid to win re-election to the Orland Fire Protection District.

"I applaud the Orland Fire Protection District trustees for standing up for the interests of the taxpayers. Their new policies to create total transparency may have upset the powers that be, but they are helping to give the taxpayers the complete facts so they know how their money is being spent," Gorman said.

Gorman praised the Fire Districts new board majority, Hickey and newly elected trustees Blair Rhode and Christopher Evoy, for standing up to "those who want to dumb down the system, keep the taxpayers in the dark and maintain the status quo in Orland Park."

"Let's be clear. I am not against the unions. I am against those unions that form unholy alliances with government officials to manipulate and undermine the taxpayer's interests. And clearly in Orland Fire Protection District, as we have just seen, the interests of the taxpayers were subjugated to the needs of politics," Gorman said.

Gorman said she will introduce a resolution to the Cook County Board to push local governments to follow suit and make all their records public, and to use that to urge the Illinois General Assembly to do the same.

"The taxpayers in Illinois and Cook County need this legislation. Someone needs to stand up and defend their best interests when it comes to the spending of their hard-earned dollars," Gorman said.


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