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Report: Rutherford OK’d raises — some as high as 36 percent — for dozens

SPRINGFIELD — Outgoing Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford gave pay raises to dozens of employees — with increases ranging from 8 to 36 percent — over the past year, according to a newspaper report.

The Republican’s office also awarded nearly $90,000 in one-time payments to 35 non-union employees at the end of October, according to a story published in the (Springfield) State Journal-Register. The payments included one to his former his chief of staff, who received an extra $10,000 on top of an approximately $125,000 base salary,

Rutherford spokeswoman Mary Frances Bragiel defended the salary increases — given to more than 25 non-union employees — and one-time payments.

She said they were “all based on performance, job duty changes and more responsibility.”

Union officials criticized the move.

Frank Prochaska, a spokesman for Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said it amounted to “profiteering.” He said union employees received smaller pay bumps in recent negotiations.

“It is a disgrace to dedicated state employees and public servants,” he said.

Rutherford’s single term as treasurer ends next month. He ran for governor, but lost in the four-way Republican primary.

His office said some of the payments and raises were used to help retain people and reflected successful programs in the office. For example, Bragiel said the unclaimed property division returned assets over $100 million for the first time in 2011, and the total in 2013 was $139 million, according to the newspaper. She said some employees hadn’t ever received raises.

A spokesman for Democratic Treasurer-elect Mike Frerichs declined to comment.