According to reports, today Illinois Department of Corrections Executive Chief Jerry Buscher joins the ranks of three other top IDOC administrators who preceded him in retirement earlier this year.
In addition to Buscher, former Deputy Chief of Operations Kevin Gilson; Chief of Staff Luke Hartigan and Chief of Investigations and Intelligence Larry Beck have not only retired this year, but have done so with larger pensions, thanks to sizeable raises they’ve received over the last few years.
While rank-and-file state workers have been facing layoffs and not receiving pay raises, official IDOC documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that between 2010 and 2012 alone, Buscher received nearly $12,000 in special pay increases (SPIs), with a special salary adjustment increase given in 2012, bringing his annual salary to more than $94,000 a year, up from $82,083 in 2010.
Buscher isn’t alone in receiving sizeable raises during the same time IDOC has faced historic overcrowding and understaffing. Hartigan, former chief of staff for IDOC Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez, received his own SPI in 2011. His salary jumped from $79,639 in 2010, to nearly $94,000 when he retired earlier this year.
A similar SPI for former Chief of Operations Kevin Gilson saw his salary jump from just over $82,400 in 2010, to more than $91,000 a year, with his last SPI being approved in 2012, as a “salary adjustment,” that like hundreds of others was approved by Director Godinez.
And in February 2012, former Chief of Investigations and Intelligence Larry Beck was approved for a SPI, bringing him from to nearly $83,500 annually, a 5 percent increase effective upon his officiallly accepting the chief position.
Beck’s pay increase and official promotion came just weeks before his son Jeffrey Beck, a correctional officer, was involved in a drunk driving incident on his way to work. Beck did not recuse himself from the case, but after the incident became publicized earlier this year, Beck retired from the agency – with a bigger pension.
According to the hundreds-of-pages receved in the FOIA request, the four men were not the only IDOC administrators to receive pay increses during this period. Numerous employees classified as “senior public service administrators” received pay increases during that period – some as much as 39-percent — but others of the same classification say they have not received a raise in as many as 12 years.
News of these pay increses comes days after IDOC budget chief Brian Gleckler addressed a Senate committee hearing, saying if the agency does not receive an additional $41.8 million to finish out the fiscal year, which ends June 30, it would not be able to meet its payroll obligations.