Responding to a recent story regarding pay increases within the Illinois Department of Corrections, agency Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez, says the suggestion that four of his former administrators were “given” their pay increases was inaccurate.
“The suggestion that anything was “given” to these executives is inaccurate and ignores the fact that each was promoted to
an existing, open position of higher authority and responsibility,” responded Godinez. “Those promotions occurred strictly on the basis of their histories of stellar job performance and outstanding qualifications.”
According to our story, former Chief of Staff Luke Hartigan, former Executive Chief Jerry Buscher, former Chief of Operations Kevin Gilson and former Chief of Investigations and Intelligence Larry Beck all received special pay increases in the two years leading up to their retirements earlier this year.
Information acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), indicated Buscher, who retired May 1, received nearly $12,000 annually in special pay increases between 2010 and 2012.
The documents further showed Hartigan, who retired earlier this year, received more than $14,000 in annual salary increases between 2011-2012; Gilson, who retired earlier this year, received more than $9,000 in annual salary increases in the same approximate time frame; and Beck, who also retired earlier this year, received a 5 percent pay increase upon his chief’s position becoming official in February 2012.
Newly hired IDOC Director of Information Tom Shaer commented that the vast majority of raises between 2010-2012 were due to promotions to higher positions. Shaer noted that very few raises were given to employees who, in some cases, had not received a pay increase in five to seven years, but most were due to promotion.
He says that while the State was under a hiring freeze at the time, of the four individuals highlighted in our story, he says three did not increase the number of DOC employees.
Addressing the promotions, Godinez commented that when he interviews any candidate for any job, he specifically asks if they are committed to the position, rather than seeking a higher salary for other reasons.
“ Further, the top salary of each of these people was still less than many of their subordinates. Any decision an employee makes years later about retirement – regardless of salary level – is theirs alone and follows laws governing pensions in the state of Illinois.”