Editorials

Watchdogs with worms

Out of 15 Illinois Prisoner Review Board members, so far two have filed for bankruptcy?

When did financial mismanagement and failing to pay your taxes become patronage job qualifications?

Eric E. Gregg is a former Harrisburg mayor being paid $86,000 a year to review prisoners for possible release on parole. He gets that salary along with a state car and gas card on the public’s dime. The state rules say he’s not to hold another job or run a business so he can focus on his well-paying state job.

Yet his bankruptcy filing shows he makes $4,027 a month more than his state pay. While his wife tried to say that was her income and that, oh, she is actually part of the bankruptcy, it’s interesting that the mistakes only came to light after our reporter asked about the income rule violation.

Gregg is another review board member who takes pay from taxpayers but hasn’t paid his own taxes: $8,000 in federal and $2,000 in state income taxes. The other one is Vonetta Harris, state Sen. James Clayborne’s special friend who owes $11,000 in federal income taxes plus hasn’t repaid $306,000 in federal student loans for her three masters degrees.

Gregg’s financial missteps also include failing to report on his economic interest statement an $1,100 lift chair and $5,000 for medical expenses given him while mayor and suffering from diverticulitis.

We’d suggest some basic financial vetting be added to the criminal background check on these appointees, but we all know these jobs have nothing to do with qualifications. The only things that mattered were these appointees’ political pedigrees.

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