January 13, 2020
SPRINGFIELD – Legislators who resign their seats in the General Assembly before the end of their term no longer would be paid for days they haven’t worked under a proposal by Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza.
Mendoza’s plan was prompted by recent cases involving State Sen. Martin Sandoval and State Rep. Luis Arroyo – each of whom are under federal investigation – who resigned their seats on the first day of the month but still received paychecks for the entire month. The practice is currently allowed under state law.
“It’s Jan. 13 – nearly two weeks since Marty Sandoval resigned his seat under federal investigation. Despite resigning on the first day of this month, my office must still pay him for the entire month. That’s ridiculous,” Mendoza said. “I can think of no other enterprise that pays an ex-employee for work they never performed. Each of these lawmakers left under a cloud but stayed just long enough – the first of the month – to collect an ‘exit bonus’ from state taxpayers for a month’s pay for no work.”
Under the proposal, lawmakers who resign before completing their entire term in office would be compensated on a prorated basis – meaning they would be paid based on the number of days they work in the Legislature. The same rule would apply to lawmakers appointed to complete the term of a vacancy.
In addition, legislators would be paid twice a month, just like all other state employees and constitutional officers. Currently, legislators are paid once a month. The Illinois Office of Comptroller issues paychecks to lawmakers, state employees and constitutional officers.
In some cases, taxpayers have been on the hook for two lawmaker salaries for the same position. Not only did the outgoing lawmaker get a check for a full month’s salary, their replacement did as well – even if the replacement began at the end of the month.
The proposal, Senate Bill 2456, is sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).
“In any other job, a person would not be compensated for an entire month if they only worked one day,” Castro said. “This is a glaring loophole that has been exploited far too many times at the taxpayers’ expense, and I look forward to working with Comptroller Mendoza to close it once and for all.”