How would you like to go to work every day for months and not be paid?
It's three months and counting since regional superintendents of education in Illinois have received a paycheck. And it'll be at least another month until the political squabble over how their salaries are paid gets worked out.
This is a minor controversy to most people. But this indefensible meanness reflects a major flaw in the character and judgment of Gov. Pat Quinn.
Quinn claims to have a philosophical problem with the offices of regional superintendent. If so, he should have taken his complaints to the General Assembly — which is controlled by his fellow Democrats — to seek changes in or abolition of this office. It was created by the legislature, and it can be eliminated by the legislature.
Instead, Quinn issued a last-minute line-item veto of an $11 million budget appropriation that was intended to cover the pay of regional superintendents and their assistants when the new state budget took effect on July 1. Since then, regional superintendents and their top assistants all over Illinois have gone without pay.
That group includes Champaign-Ford regional superintendent Jane Quinlan. But her assistant quit to accept a school principal's position in Champaign.
It remains to be seen how legislators will address the problem when their fall session begins in late October, because House Speaker Michael Madigan continues to play his cards close to the vest.
He could allow legislators to vote on a proposal to override the veto. Legislators also could follow Quinn's recommendation and pay the salaries out of the Personal Property Tax Replacement Fund.
That's the legislative choice, but it's not the real issue.
Quinn took the wrong approach in addressing this issue. His decision to deny salaries to people who were elected by the voters and continue to work was foolish and cruel. That he shows absolutely no regret about this tactic shows bullies aren't found only on the school playground.