Springfield, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena)’s bill to address runaway severance agreements passed the House on Wednesday with a vote of 114-2. HB303 amends the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to ban to ban a government body from concealing the terms of a severance agreement funded by tax-payer dollars.
“Taxpayers should be entitled to look at the terms of an agreement that a public body, using taxpayer funds, reaches” Rep McDermed said. “This is a victory for public entity transparency.”
The bill was initiated in response to egregious cases of severance payments in the past few years such as a $763,000 severance agreement provided to the outgoing President of College of DuPage, Robert Breuder, and a $700,000 severance agreement given to former Metra CEO Alex Clifford. The bill is a part of the College of DuPage reform package.
“In a state that spends its money as irresponsibly as Illinois” Rep. McDermed continued, “simply put, the use of public funds by a public entity should be available for scrutiny.”
The bill further defines “severance agreement” and provides protection for trade secrets, proprietary information or other exempt information. Similar legislation was introduced by Representative Kosel, whose seat Rep McDermed took over upon her retirement, in the 98th General Assembly as HB 3664. That bill passed out of the House 106-0, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.