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Pritzker Wants Higher Pay For His Cabinet

Doris Turner, J.B. Pritzker, and Juliana Stratton
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker wants to raise pay for top officials at state agencies.

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is pushing for bigger salaries for Illinois' top government officials.

The Pritzker team says the salaries of Illinois agency directors have fallen behind those of other populous states, like New York, Texas and California.

Democratic state Rep. Christian Mitchell, from Chicago, has been named a deputy governor for the incoming administration.

“We cannot fix Illinois — we cannot fix the things that are wrong with the state — if we do not have the top talent to do so,” Mitchell told colleagues at a hearing on Monday. “And the bottom line is that the salaries that we have right now are simply not competitive.”

Mitchell says that is especially problematic in fields where people can make a lot of money in the private sector.

“If we want to attract the top cybersecurity expert to the Department of Innovation and Technology — to make sure that we’re protecting our … tech infrastructure, for example — we need to be able to pay competitively, and $150,000 right now just isn’t doing it,” he says.

The new law provides a 15 percent pay rise over current salaries for about four dozen officials — The pay rise would apply to 49 officials — the top handful of employees in state agencies like the departments of transportation, corrections, and the state police.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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