The pension conference committee has taken hours of testimony in public. Now it's focusing on closed-door negotiations, trying to reach a compromise on the state's $100-billion pension liability.Chairman Kwame Raoul, a Democratic state senator from Chicago, says says one voice has been absent:
"The governor's office has not communicated at all. Which is fine -- I think he views his role as setting deadlines."
Gov. Pat Quinn's office has repeatedly refused to lay out specifically what the governor wants in a pension fix, instead simply saying it had to be a "comprehensive" plan that would erase the liability.
Raoul says he's focused on pensions -- while "others" have been more interested in politics than policy."Suffice to say that the state is in need of leadership at the very top level. … And that involves more than just setting multiple deadlines. That involves being engaged."
Raoul says regardless of how engaged with negotiations the governor is -- or rather isn't -- he and his colleagues will continue trying to reach a compromise on pensions.