Pulse: GOP leaders say state Dems will pull January surprise
October 28, 2012 11:06PM
Illinois Sen. Christine Radogno
Updated: November 30, 2012 6:17AM
You’ve heard of the November surprise. “January surprise” is the cry from Republican legislative leaders.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont and House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego held a press conference in Plainfield last week. They said a January surprise will come in the form of Democratic leaders using the post-election month to push through the shift of teacher pension obligations to local school districts.
Republicans oppose the shift, saying it will crush school budgets and lead to higher property taxes. Advocates for the shift say schools will become more accountable if they have to pay the pensions that sometimes get boosted by such favors as farewell pay hikes for outgoing superintendents.
The leaders were joined by fellow Republicans Robert Kalnicky, running for the 98th District House seat, and Garrett Peck, campaigning for the 49th District Senate spot. They, too, oppose the shift.
Perhaps The Herald-News put the HUD official in an awkward position when a reporter asked him if he meant Henry Morris, the former executive director of the Housing Authority of Joliet who was fired in June after an investigation into allegations made by two female employees.
“Repositioning” was the word used by Patrick Cano, who is on an assessment team sent by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to advise the Joliet housing agency on how to improve operations.
“The repositioning was a good thing. It needed to happen,” Cano told the Joliet housing authority board as the assessment team made its report Friday. Cano spoke somewhat mysteriously about being fully aware of the details of the repositioning.
Asked if by “repositioning” he meant firing Morris, Cano said he does not mention names. Then, showing he had plenty of euphemisms left in his pocket, Cano said he was speaking of “activating change at the executive level.”
For those keeping track of the Evergreen Terrace trial, the end is not near.
The federal condemnation case has the city of Joliet trying to take over the privately owned but federally subsidized housing complex on Broadway Street, while the owners, HUD, and a group of four tenants contend the city is acting out of discrimination.
Opening statements took place just more than a month ago.
Joliet City Attorney Jeff Plyman said the city so far has presented three witnesses and probably has two more to go. Then, the other side starts its case.
The federal trial does not have a daily schedule. There was no testimony last week. And, once there is a decision, there’s always the possibility of an appeal. The city’s condemnation case was first filed in 2005.