SPRINGFIELD — Illinois senators wrapped up their 100th edition Wednesday by narrowly approving a bill to give incoming agency directors a pay raise.
The Senate voted 33-21 to approve the bill, which will be sent to Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker after he assumes office next week.
Pritzker had asked lawmakers to approve 15 percent raises for 49 agency directors and deputy directors as a way to help him lure talented administrators to state positions.
Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said salaries for agency heads haven’t increased since 2009. Moreover, state law limited salaries for those officials to be no more than 85 percent of what the governor earns. That meant the top cabinet official could make no more than $150,000.
Sen. William Haine, D-Alton, said Pritzker was “overwhelmingly elected, therefore he has a mandate.”
“We should give him deference,” Haine said. “These are people who should be paid a commensurate wage for their responsibilities.”
Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington and Sen. Dave Syverson of Rockford were the only Republicans to vote for the bill. Among Springfield-area senators, Sam McCann, R-Plainview, voted against the raises, while Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, voted for them. Further north, Sens. Chuck Weaver, a Peoria Republican, and Jason Barickman, a Bloomington Republican, voted no. Dave Koehler, a Democrat from Peoria, voted yes on the measure.
Senators also approved a bill requested by Pritzker to dissolve the current toll highway board which will allow him to appoint new members.