Our View: These icebergs sinking ship of state
Updated: March 29, 2012 4:15PM
The Illinois Legislature goes back to work next week after today’s primary election. Perhaps one of the things the legislators can tackle is trimming the number of state boards and commissions the taxpayers have been saddled with over the years.
Many of these boards and commissions are feel-good, spur-of-the-moment groups impaneled from a knee-jerk reaction to what lawmakers consider an outrage. But it seems once burrowed into the state bureaucracy, there is no such thing as a sunset provision when these panels end after the outrage runs its due course.
It would be fine to have these noble groups, except they spend state money and produce no tangible results. State Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, is on a one-man crusade to winnow the number of these boards and commissions. Good luck, senator on trying to the break grip of these make-work agencies.
Take, for instance, the Illinois Torture and Inquiry Relief Commission, a part of the state’s Human Rights Commission. This group sounds like it has some lofty ideals, but Duffy points out the commission has met only four times since February 2011, while spending $150,000 on two salaries, including $80,000 for an executive director. We would assume being a state employee the executive director also receives health-care benefits and a state pension.
The commission is legally empowered to investigate claims by any person who alleges they have been tortured into making a false confession, and that the confession was used to obtain a conviction. Yet, Duffy says the Torture Commission can provide no program goals, plans or any results it has produced. The senator contends this panel is but one of hundreds in Illinois that are diverting state funds and not doing anything to move the state forward.
We agree with Duffy that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Just one iceberg sunk the Titanic. Imagine what hundreds are doing to the ship of state known as Illinois.