Chicago (CBS) — Illinois’ incoming billionaire governor, J.B. Pritzker, is reaching into his own pocket to ensure his top staffers will be paid top dollar. It’s the first example of Pritzker’s huge wealth impacting how government functions.
When former state comptroller Dan Hynes goes to work Monday as deputy governor for J.B. Pritzker, he’ll find a little something extra in his paycheck. In fact, it will be a lot extra.
Hynes’ state salary of $139,000 will be doubled with another $139,000 provided directly by Pritzker, out of his own pocket. That will bring Hynes’ total pay to $278,000 a year.
Pritzker says he’s taking this step to recruit the “top talent to state government to best address the challenges Illinois faces.”
Hynes won’t be the only one to benefit.
Pritzker’s other deputy governors Jesse Ruiz and Christian Mitchell will also receive $278,000, half paid personally by Pritzker.
Meantime, Prtizker’s chief of staff Anne Caprara will be paid $148,000 by the state with Pritzker adding an additional $150,000. Her total pay will be $298,000.
In all, some 20 high level Pritzker employees will receive similar treatment.
Pritzker, one of the heirs to the Hyatt hotel fortune, is worth more than $3 billion. He spent $171 million on his own gubernatorial campaign.
When he takes the oath of office Monday, Pritzker will become the richest elected official in the nation.
Pritzker isn’t the first politician to pay his employees out of his own pocket.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another billionaire, used a similar strategy, reaching into his deep pockets to pay key staff members.
Pritzker is forming a private corporation, called East Jackson Street LLC, to pay the additional salaries.
But pensions will only be paid on salary dished out directly by the state.