SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The point person Gov. Bruce Rauner plucked from his administration to take charge of the Legionnaires’ disease crisis at the Quincy veterans home is making $20,000 a month in salary, a 69 percent raise from the official salary in his previous post.
Michael Hoffman, senior adviser to the Republican governor for the Quincy response, told a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees Thursday that his personal-services contract pays him $20,000 a month. State records indicate he’s paid by the Department of Central Management Services, the agency he headed until tabbed for the new assignment March 2.
The committees convened to question Hoffman about progress for replacing buildings on the Quincy campus, where bacteria-laced water has led to the deaths of 13 residents since 2015. Hoffman, who previously said a strategic plan would be ready by May 1, agreed to deliver a report by April 27 to lawmakers eager to approve a plan before their scheduled May 31 adjournment.
The 40-year-old Hoffman joined the state payroll in March 2015 and became CMS director in January 2016, where he made $142,339 annually. He told The Associated Press that he signed a six-month contract with provisions for early termination if necessary. He noted that with employer contributions for his pension, Social Security and Medicare, and health insurance, his CMS compensation was similar to his current salary.
Asked about his new workload, Hoffman said, “I have spent more time in Quincy in the past month than I have with my family, I will say that.”
“The unusual persistence of the legionella bacteria at the Quincy Veterans Home called for an unusual response to protect our state’s heroes,” Rauner spokeswoman Rachel Bold said. “Mike Hoffman’s contract is equal to his benefits package at CMS.”
But the administration could have relied on directors of the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs, Public Health, and the Capitol Development Board.
Former CMS chief operating officer Tim McDevitt has been named to take Hoffman’s place. Payroll records indicate his pay as acting director awaiting Senate confirmation is $135,600.
Hoffman told the committees that his pay comes from CMS. State records indicate that Hoffman is paid from the CMS facilities management fund, used by CMS to charge other state agencies rent for using state buildings that CMS maintains.
Earlier Thursday, Democratic state Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s legislation to prohibit governors from paying employees from other agencies’ budgets to hide actual payroll costs, a practice known as “off-shoring,” won unanimous House approval and moves to the Senate.