Suburban lawmaker criticizes Senate appointment

Published: 2/19/2010 12:01 AM

SPRINGFIELD - A suburban Republican lawmaker criticized colleagues Thursday for renewing the appointment of a Democratic lawmaker's wife to a six-figure state post.

At issue is the reappointment of Lynne Sered to chair the state's Education Labor Relations Board. Sered, who is paid $104,358 annually, is the wife of state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat and member of Senate Democratic leadership.

The Senate approved her appointment along with several others on a single roll call vote. It was approved 37-13 in the 59-member chamber on the strength of Democratic votes.

"The fact that elected officials' spouses are receiving jobs in excess of six figures, I think is something the people of Illinois have a problem with," state Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington said Thursday. He said the appointments should have been considered individually.

Schoenberg vehemently defended his wife's record of service, which he said included a stint with a Republican White House, and said Duffy's criticism crossed the line.

"These comments are demeaning and insulting to all women and to me, my wife and my family," said Schoenberg. "It's a very sorry state of affairs."

Schoenberg abstained from voting and said he has every time anything related to the Education Relations Board has come before the Senate.

State Sen. James DeLeo, a Chicago Democrat presiding over the Senate during the debate, reminded members that Senate rules demand members refrain from personal attacks.

The Illinois Education Labor Relations Board is a state agency that oversees school union issues ranging from certifying bargaining units to investigating, hearing and remedying unfair labor practices.