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Tom Cullerton pushes for responsible solution

hied-exec-hrngCHICAGO- In light of the continuous news of scandals and misuse of taxpayer dollars on state universities and community college campuses, the Senate’s Subcommittee on Executive Compensation held their first meeting.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) grilled College of DuPage witnesses on their efforts to prevent a repeat of abuses of state dollars on their campus.

“We need to take steps to maintain the integrity of our public community colleges and universities. There needs to be reforms to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and responsibly,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton is committed to reforming abuses at our community colleges and universities to keep institutions credible and costs affordable for students.

Five initiatives were discussed today to protect state dollars at Illinois public universities and community colleges:

Community College Trustee Training (Senate Bill 2157) – requires new college board trustees to complete four hours of professional development training that range from information on labor laws, open meetings act, freedom of information regulations, ethics and financial and accountability oversight.

External Audits (Senate Bill 2155) –amends existing laws to require the Auditor General to audit one-third of all community colleges every year.

Preventing Lame-Duck Decisions (Senate Bill 2158) – prohibits community college boards from entering into a new employee contract or change existing employee contracts 60 days prior to Election Day for trustees and extends through the lame-duck period until the first meeting of the new board.

In 2009, President Breuder’s contract extension was approved by a lame-duck board.

Severance Packages inclusion in Pension Checks (Senate Bill 2156) – Changes the existing pension code to not allow severance payments to be classified as pensionable earnings.

Transparency at Community Colleges and State Universities (Senate Bill 2159) –Promotes transparency by requiring contract terms and annual performance reviews of executives to be made public. This initiative also forbids contract buyouts in cases of pending criminal charges.

“I look forward to working with committee members in instituting safeguards to guarantee these abuses do not occur in the future,” said Cullerton.

Tom Cullerton’s environmentally friendly initiative signed into law

Tom Cullerton's environmentally friendly initiative signed into lawSPRINGFIELD - State agencies will soon be taking steps to become more environmentally friendly.

A new law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will require state agencies that are responsible for public land to examine policies to see if composting materials would help reduce storm water run-off and improve the quality of the land.

“Composting is an effective method to stop pollution, cut costs and clean up contamination,” said Cullerton. “It’s our duty to continue to look for methods to protect Illinois’ ecosystem. Every small step we take makes a huge difference for generations to come.”

Tom Cullerton: Good government starts with public participation

tc-civics-53015SPRINGFIELD- Do you know what the three branches of U.S. government are? If so, you are one of 36 percent who can answer correctly according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed legislation that would require a semester of civics to graduate high school.

Currently, Illinois is one of only 10 states that doesn’t require at least one civics course.  Right now, Illinois high school graduates are required to complete two years of social studies courses. This legislation would simply require one of the two years to include a civics course for one semester.

“Good government is a result of public officials and residents working together to make informed decisions. We need to ensure our young people know how government works to make sure government is working for them,” said Cullerton.

The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education recommended Illinois require a civic education course for all high schools in Illinois. The class would focus on government institutions, current issues and discussions and simulations of the democratic process.

“Today, we move one step closer in equipping our students with the necessary skills to be informed and engaged participants in our democracy,” said Shawn Healy, Task Force Chair and Civic Learning Scholar at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago. “On behalf of the taskforce, we are grateful for the bi-partisan support of this transformational legislation.”

Support for implementing the civics courses would be provided by private funding to cover the cost of professional development and other school district needs.

House Bill 4025 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. 

Tom Cullerton fights for Illinois families

Tom Cullerton fights for Illinois familiesSPRINGFIELD - At a time, Illinois college students are paying more than double the national average to attend a public four-year university, university administrators are receiving lavish country club memberships and inflated housing and travel allowances on top of their quarter of a million dollar salaries.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) advanced House Bill 3593 to reform the misuse and abuse of taxpayer dollars at public universities and colleges in Illinois.

Last week, a report was released exposed the perks and extravagant salaries received by public universities and community college administrators with state funds. Abuses such as country club and wildlife reservation memberships were exposed in the report.    

Sen. Tom Cullerton

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23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas