Springfield – As the ongoing budget battle threatened parks and
services across Illinois, some sportsmen took solace in a proposed
law that would have prevented the pension bump fiasco involving
short-time DNR Director Kurt Granberg.
Granberg, a retired state representative, was appointed head of
DNR earlier this year but was never confirmed. He was pushed out
the of the job by new Gov. Pat Quinn, but still received a
$40,000-a-year pension boost because of three weeks in the DNR
Senate Bill 369, which passed the House and Senate and was sent
to Quinn’s desk on June 11, would force lawmakers to use the same
rules for calculating their pensions as other state workers.
Currently, lawmakers can take a last-minute pay hike, and their
pension is based on their last day’s salary.
The average state worker’s pension is based on an average of the
worker’s last four years’ pay.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, one of the bill’s
sponsors, said his bill would have stopped Granberg’s pension boost
– an action that created a storm of disgust among many of the
state’s hunters and fishermen who, at the same time, were being
told they would be paying the state more for hunting and fishing
The measure now awaits Quinn’s signature.
Meanwhile, Granberg said on June 15 that he plans to go on with
one of the big plans he mentioned during his brief stint as DNR
director – a golf trail in southern Illinois. The idea caused a
mild uproar at the time, as the state reeled from budget problems
and the closure of state parks.
Quinn, who took over for impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich – the
man who appointed Granberg – fired Granberg in February and chose
Marc Miller to lead DNR.
Granberg had pitched an idea to link golf courses in the
southern part of the state and call it the Abraham Lincoln Golf
His idea was to drum up tourism business and create interest in
courses and other nearby attractions. The idea faded quickly, but
now Granberg is moving ahead with the golf trail idea.
“We thought we would use my position to bring this to closure,”
he told a reporter for Lee Newspapers on June 15. “I don’t know
what’s going to happen now.”
According to Granberg, copyrighting the idea could cost as much
as $8,000. DNR spokesman Chris McCloud told Lee Newspapers that DNR
isn’t interested in paying to help with the project. Granberg is
considering using money left in his campaign account to cover