053015CM0949SPRINGFIELD – After the issuance of a special report detailing costly administrative practices at our state’s public universities and community colleges, a bill to address the growing administrative costs and generous executive compensation packages that have helped fuel tuition increases for Illinois students has passed the Illinois Senate.
 
House Bill 3593 is a bi-partisan reform plan for Illinois institutions of higher learning to help put a stop to excessive administrative perks outlined in the May 22 report of the Illinois Senate Higher Education Sub-Committee report on Executive Compensation. The legislation addresses portions of the report, including limiting contract extensions and automatic renewal of contracts. Any contract extensions must also be made during an open board meetings with adequate public notice of the negotiations. Senator Cunningham has stated that additional reforms will be addressed over the summer.
 
“After the release of our Higher Education Sub-Committee report, it was obvious that something had to be done. The contracts dealt with in this legislation have a significant impact on state finances and abuse of the process erodes the trust of the taxpaying public. We have begun the process of reforming these contracts and have more work to do,” Senator Cunningham said. “I’m pleased to have worked with my colleagues on a bi-partisan approach to this issue and look forward to continuing our work over the summer.”
 
The report and legislation come after a series of media reports of detailing questionable contracts and severance packages for administrators at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn and at Illinois State University in Normal. According to the report, presidents at public universities in Illinois often receive cash bonuses, country club memberships, and housing and vehicle allowances, this despite enjoying a median salary of nearly $300,000 a year.
 
The report covers public higher education institutions across the state and found similar instances of opaque negotiations, contract extensions approved without discussions and issues dealing with pensions, such as excessive sick-day buyouts. The report goes on to explain possible reforms to limit these practices, including reforms to the Open Meetings Act as well as auditing reforms.

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042115 js 0697Cook County Sheriff Dart testified in favor before the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee

SPRINGFIELD — A plan to help ease overcrowding within the Cook County criminal justice system has been approved by the Illinois Senate following testimony from State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. The proposal will set up a pilot “rocket docket” for low-level, non-violent offenders.

Senate Bill 202 creates a special court for offenders charged with retail theft, criminal trespass, along with other low-level offenses. The pilot program would allow the sheriff to designate participants in the program based on past legal history.

"There is a serious need for rebalancing our criminal justice system in a manner that keeps violent offenders behind bars, while drug abusers and defendants charged with nuisance crimes are shifted into treatment programs that could help turn their lives around," Cunningham said. "I'm proud to work with Sheriff Dart on this legislation because it will save taxpayer dollars and streamline our overburdened court system."

Recent reports have highlighted issues within the Cook County criminal justice system, including inmates housed for long periods of time for minor offenses. Examples include a 30 year old woman in jail for 135 days for stealing candy and fruit.

The bill now goes before the Illinois House for consideration.

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cunningham-seniorfair-2014-2State Senator Bill Cunningham and other area elected officials hosted two in-district outreach events this week.

Cunningham and State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) hosted a burglary prevention workshop in Evergreen Park on Monday.

Local law enforcement officers and a reformed burglar discussed how people can reduce the chances of burglary and educate voters about how to manage the aftermath of a home invasion.

Cunningham also hosted a senior resource fair Wednesday with Burke, State Rep. Fran Hurley (D-Chicago) and U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Western Springs).

The Oak Lawn senior fair brought state, local and private senior programs together under one roof to give out information and answer questions.

Health organizations also provided medical screenings for participating seniors.


Photo: Hurley, Jerry Mulivill from Congressman Lipinski’s office, Cunningham and Burke at the senior resource fair at the Oak Lawn Community Pavilion on Sept. 17.

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Cunningham-Burlary-Theft-Group-ShotSenator Bill Cunningham, Representative Fran Hurley and Alderman Howard B Brookins Jr hosted a Burglary Prevention Seminar in July at St. Margaret's of Scotland. Marcus, a former burglar, told attendees what he looked for when he robbed a house and Sgt John Lorenz from the 22nd district answered questions from a law enforcement point of view.

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Springfield Office:
Senator 18th District
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