"The administration has been neither sincere nor realistic," Bomke
said. "They went into this with a rigid, predetermined position, and
I'm afraid it's actually a very shortsighted and impractical
Bomke said it's unrealistic for the governor's office
to threaten 2,600 layoffs at a time when the demand for state
services has climbed and prison guards are on mandatory overtime.
"The Department of Corrections is already understaffed and has
been placing extraordinary overtime requirements on guards. It's
just irresponsible to lay off hundreds or even thousands of prison
guards," Bomke said. "The administration says an early release
program will reduce the need for guards. But recidivism rates, which
typically run 60 percent or more, will skyrocket if we release
prisoners without adequate support and supervision. And, with more
layoffs, there will be less support and supervision available."
Bomke said he fears more cases like that of Jaycee Dugard, the
California girl who was recently found after being abducted 18 years
ago. In that case, California authorities failed to locate the girl
even though her abductor was on parole for previous sex offenses.
The risk of similar mistakes in Illinois will increase if more
front-line workers are cut, Bomke said.
Bomke added that asking employees to make concessions that result
in a significant pay cut, while still laying off 1,000 workers, was
too much to expect, especially because the administration has failed
to take any significant steps to reverse the Blagojevich
[to top of second column]
"Most state agencies are already stretched thin," Bomke said,
pointing out that there are 15,000 fewer state employees today than
in 2002 -- a drop of about 19 percent.
"The fact is, Rod Blagojevich starved agencies in order to
channel money into headline-grabbing schemes, expand pet programs
and reward contractors," Bomke added. "Gov. Quinn has made no effort
to reverse the programs, policies and contracts of Rod Blagojevich.
Without major changes, there is no guarantee that the sacrifices
being sought this year won't have to be repeated next year. The name
has changed on the governor's office, but the same policies were
left in place."
[Text from file sent on behalf of
Larry Bomke by Illinois
Senate Republican staff]