"As speaker, I want every citizen of Illinois to know this is a people's legislature. We are here to serve the public, openly, honestly and with the highest standards. I am accountable only to you."
-- Michael Madigan, statement on the Illinois House Democrats website
That humble public servant talk aside, House Speaker Michael Madigan acts as if he is accountable to no one. And because of the self-serving way Democrats draw districts, he's probably right.
Serving the public would mean adopting a plan to fix the state's $100 billion pension shortfall, but Madigan is either unable or unwilling to do that.
He should have a lot of incentive to fix this mess because he arguably is the person in power who is the most responsible for it. As House speaker since 1983 (with the exception of two years when Republicans had a majority) he knew that lawmakers weren't contributing enough to the pension funds and yet he let the debt continue to pile up.
He couldn't get pension reform enacted during the regular spring session, even though Democrats have a supermajority in both houses. It doesn't look good for the special session on pension reform set for Wednesday, either.
While Gov. Pat Quinn and Senate President John Cullerton are talking compromise, Madigan is stubbornly sticking with his pension reform plan. It's his way or nothing -- and unfortunately, nothing is probably what the people of Illinois will get once again.