Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Short-time DNR director gains big pension bump

Springfield – Three weeks on the job as DNR director has earned
Kurt Granberg and additional $40,000 on his state pension.

Granberg, a retired state representative, was approved for the
hike by the Illinois Pension Review Board, which voted 3-2 to pay
the increase, even though Granberg only served 21 days as
director.

The vote was along party lines.

Three Democrats voted to approve the pension, including Sen.
James Clayborne and Rep. Dan Reitz. The two Republican lawmakers on
the board, Sen. William Brady and Rep. Mark Beaubien Jr., voted
“no.”

Retired Republican Rep. Phillip Collins voted to approve the
pension.

When asked why they approved the pension bump, the board
explained that it had to follow state pension law.

The move drew ire of both lawmakers and the state’s
outdoorsmen.

“The Democrats have rewarded Gov. Blagojevich’s scandal
appointee with an additional $40,000 a year for the rest of his
life,” state Sen. John O. Jones, R-Mount Vernon, told the Mount
Vern Register-News. “Mr. Granberg spent a little more than 20 days
as head of the Department of Natural Resources and will receive
more money than many of the families in the 54th District
make.”

Gary Ellis, an avid angler and hunter from Harrisburg, said he
“was probably speaking for 99.9 percent of sportsmen” in Illinois
when he said he thought Granberg was robbing DNR.

“Here the state is broke, and DNR is suffering because of that,
and this guy barely gets his chair warmed at DNR headquarters and
then gets this huge increase,” Ellis said outside of Dick’s
Sporting Goods in Carbondale shortly after the news of Granberg’s
pension spread.

Granberg didn’t run for re-election to his legislative post in
November and retired one week before the vote on the impeachment of
former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich appointed Granberg to the top DNR position a week
later, with a bump in the position’s pay to $133,000.

Granberg’s state pension was $73,000 before his appointment to
DNR. The vote puts his pension to $111,716 annually. That’s $25,716
more than the $86,000 Granberg made as a lawmaker.

Gov. Pat Quinn fired Granberg shortly after replacing
Blagojevich, saying he “believed someone with more experience in
conservation and natural resources was needed in the position.”

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