Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, September 16, 2019

Self-service trumps public service

By The Madison County Record | Mar 15, 2016

The phenomenal support for presidential candidate Donald Trump may be a mystery to pols and pundits, but not to ordinary people who share the widespread disgust for our increasingly unrepresentative government. This disgust is what Trump has tapped into, and the possible illogic, impracticality, or inconsistency of his positions on particular issues seems not to matter.

For too long we've suffered from public servants who only serve themselves, servants acting like masters. Is it any wonder that so many Americans feel that the deck is stacked against them, that we have no real say in the future of our country, that there's one (harsh) rule for us and another (soft and easy) rule for the privileged few who are living at our expense?

The self-serving and the sense of entitlement are common among state and local officials, not just national ones, and are exemplified by John Baricevic, Robert LeChien, and Robert Haida, the three political-insider judges from St. Clair County who are seeking to avoid the higher retention standard state law sets for incumbents (60 percent) by resigning their judgeships and pretending to be first-time candidates electable by a simple majority.

Three men empowered to apply the law to all the rest of us think that they can ignore it for themselves when it's inconvenient.

Baricevic's constitutionally challenged election campaign got a significant boost from the local, Democrat-dominated members of the Illinois Bar Association, which awarded the joker-jurist a high, recommended rating, while trashing his Republican opponent. Haida also received an extraordinarily high rating.

Though a circuit judge for the last six years, Haida began receiving Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension benefits in 2012, has so far accumulated $520,442 in IMRF payments, and will pile up more than $4 million by age 85. As a circuit judge he makes $178,835 and will eventually be eligible for benefits from another state pension system, the Judicial Retirement System (JRS).

That's what passes for public service these days, and that's why people are angry.

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