Sunday, November 15, 2009
CHICAGO -- Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool today endorsed former Deputy Illinois Treasurer Raja (RAH-jah) Krishnamoorthi (krish-nuh-MOOR-thee) for Illinois State Comptroller.
“In this time of economic challenge and large budget deficits, we need officials who will serve as the taxpayers' watchdog,” Claypool said. “I am convinced that Raja can be the kind of comptroller we need to cut the waste and fraud from state government while protecting the vital services it must provide.”
Krishnamoorthi also proposed a three-point pay-for-performance salary plan to make state government more sensitive and responsive to the pressures of the economic recession that has left millions of families without jobs or facing pay cuts and reductions in benefits.
“Few are getting pay raises, if they're fortunate enough to have a job,” Krishnamoorthi said. “It's time for public officials to acknowledge the pain these families face by reining in their own endless appetite for pay raises and cost-of-living adjustments.”
Claypool is the former Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, a $400 million government agency with 3,200 employees. Like Krishnamoorthi, he served as Deputy Illinois Treasurer, and he also was Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
“People throw around the term 'reformer' and often apply it to public officials who don't really deserve it,” Krishnamoorthi said. “But Forrest Claypool has proved that he's no fake reformer. He has fought hard, often in the minority, to change county government for the better - making it more open and responsive to the people it's supposed to serve.”
Krishnamoorthi's three-point pay-for-performance salary plan would do the following:
- Publish salaries of all legislators, judges and executive officials online, along with the salaries of their staffs (with 5 year historical breakdown)
- Prohibit automatic cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) in any budget year and prohibit salary increases or COLAs in any budget year not having a balanced state government budget
- Refuse salary increases or COLAs while serving as Comptroller until Illinois has a balanced budget
“Serving in elected office is a privilege, not a prize,” Krishnamoorthi said. “Governing should not be about pay raises and patronage. It should be about providing open, transparent and responsive service to taxpayers.”
Krishnamoorthi served as a Special Assistant Attorney General, helping to establish an anti-corruption unit, and as Deputy Treasurer of Illinois, he helped bring significant reforms to the office and oversaw the custody and administration of billions of dollars in state funds.
Previously, Krishnamoorthi served as a board member and audit committee chairman of the Illinois Housing Development Authority where he helped thousands of Illinois families find affordable housing.
If elected, Krishnamoorthi would become the first Asian American to hold elected statewide office in Illinois. A lawyer and policy expert, Krishnamoorthi, 36, worked on President Barack Obama’s successful 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, serving first as issues director and then as a senior adviser. Krishnamoorthi also advised Obama during his presidential campaign and his 2000 congressional campaign.