Those with long memories will remember when Pat Quinn, speaking for the Coalition of Political Honesty, released a list of “double dippers” each year.
They were mainly machine Democrats.
Lots of state legislators, township and municipal officials.
When Quinn started winning public office, the annual announcements disappeared.
Now, he hires local officials, making them double dippers.
Locally, labeling her opponent a “double dipper” led to the election of Pat Floeter to the post of Algonquin Township Supervisor.
Floeter beat McHenry County Board Chairwoman Dianne Klemm by putting “Not a double dipper” on her yard signs, as I remember the campaign.
Undoubtedly hurt by that label, Leslie Root beat her for the McHenry County Board shortly thereafter.
When Floeter retired, Klemm succeeded Floeter as Township Supervisor and was just re-elected.
Into my mailbox this past week came two big postcards trying to emulate the same strategy.
One was truly audacious.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Mary McClelland, who is also a McHenry County Board member, accused McHenry County Board member and Congressman Randy Hultgren assistant of being a “double dipper.”
Hence, the headline.
Both candidates are currently on two public payrolls.
That is the classic definition of being a “double dipper.”
Both are seeking the office of McHenry County Clerk.
Next a press release comes from Sheriff’s candidate Bill Prim’s announcing he will not participate in the County IMRF pension program. (This is not a new position. He has been saying that since the beginning of his campaign.)
In other words, Prim will not charge McHenry County taxpayers for a pension to which he would be entitled, if he beats Andy Zinke.
Electing Zinke would require local taxpayers to continue to pay for the employer side of his Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension.
Then comes a mailed hit piece from Zinke accusing Prim of being a “double dipper.” (If you have it, would you please scan and send it to me.)
The Zinke campaign is clearly trying to broaden the definition of “double dipper.”
Since the election of Prim would lead to his receiving both a salary for being Sheriff and the pension he receives from the City of Des Plaines for his 27 years of service, the Zinke folks say that would make him a “double dipper.”
From the repetitive comments on the subject under articles about the Sheriff’s race, this criticism seems to be what Zinke supporters think will cause the death knell of the Prim campaign.
Of course, the Zinke supporters do not point out that Sheriff Nygren has been collecting a pension from the City of Crystal Lake, while collecting a salary from McHenry County, while McHenry County taxpayers have been paying the employer side of the IMRF pension that Nygren will be receiving once he retires.
Also not pointed out is how many retired policemen have been hired by the Sheriff’s Department while Zinke claims to have been running the place. Under the mailing’s definition, they would be double dippers, too.
Whether the “double dipper” attack works or not, only the voters can determine.
If it does, potential candidates with a public pension will be subject to similar attacks.