State legislators, by law, enjoy annual cost-of-living pay raises unless they vote against them. | AP/Seth Perlman

If you think state lawmakers are overpaid, get a load of the Chicago City Council

SHARE If you think state lawmakers are overpaid, get a load of the Chicago City Council
SHARE If you think state lawmakers are overpaid, get a load of the Chicago City Council

An editorial over the weekend objecting to Illinois legislators getting automatic pay raises brings to mind a related matter. State legislators are paid $67,836, not including various add-ons — such as extra paying for chairing committees. Now let’s look at pay for Chicago aldermen, which is in excess of $100,000 even before add-ons. And there are 50 aldermen.

Not only are Chicago’s aldermen overpaid, but we’ve got too many — maybe twice as many as necessary — and they just rubber-stamp the mayor’s legislation. Our city and state are top-heavy with pols and various hangers-on. It’s time we cleaned house.

Donald J. Lazo, Gage Park

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A single state university board makes sense

Illinois Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, has introduced a bill for the creation of a single state board with responsibility for higher education (SB 2597). I believe it outlines a positive means toward a stronger administrative structure for facilitating useful action steps to address priorities for Illinois’ higher education system. I urge members of the Illinois General Assembly to join with Senator Rose in reviewing this proposal further.

As a single board of higher education, leading a strategic process for development of statewide goals and recommendations for allocating state resources will be more effective. Simply put, one board, one staff, and one organizational structure streamlines the effort. Illinois higher education faces challenges concerning college costs; enrollment shifts resulting from increasing outmigration and changing needs of college students who are older, parenting, and working; and establishing effective and forward looking governance of Illinois’ higher education system. A unified board and staff organization can better focus on these challenges by being inclusive in representing the needs of students, public community colleges and universities, private institutions of higher education; and the faculty and staff serving the higher education system.

The legislation proposes a merger of boards and administrative operations of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. From my role as chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, I am convinced that collaboration of common activities is not only necessary but also should prove more efficient.

I have requested the General Assembly Higher Education Working Group, a bipartisan group of legislators looking comprehensively at ways to improve higher education, to include the proposal on their agenda. I know this conversation will not be simple or without strong sentiments for the status quo, but I commit my attention and our agency to assist in any way we can.

Tom Cross

Board Chair

Illinois Board of Higher Education

Not so “stupid” questions

With all due respect, President Trump, but calling out a reporter by saying that he or she asked a “stupid question” is not smart. You would be wise to remember that he or she is undoubtedly better read than you are, and has a greater understanding of history and politics. What’s more, that reporter almost certainly is more adept at differentiating between real facts and the things tweeted and re-tweeted by you.

Bob Ory, Elgin

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