SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn has fired a workers’ compensation arbitrator who is married to the head of a union battling him over salaries, layoffs and pensions.
Jacqueline Kinnaman had been an arbitrator since 2004. She is married to Henry Bayer, executive director for Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported Friday that Kinnaman and AFSCME said they have no “direct knowledge” to suggest the firing was a jab at her husband.
“If it was, it is both unethical public policy and a slap in the face to every woman who has worked to achieve her own independent role in public life,” AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson would only say Friday that Kinnaman’s term had expired and the governor decided to go in a different direction by making several new appointments.
Quinn reappointed nine arbitrators in late August. Kinnaman and another arbitrator were not among them, so they lost their jobs.
Kinnaman, a lawyer who has worked for the state since 1990, had been a full-time arbitrator for the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2004. Before that, she served on its predecessor, the Illinois Industrial Commission. She earned $115,840 a year.
AFSCME and the Democratic governor are locked in multiple battles.
The union is angry that Quinn withheld raises provided by the last contract, complicating negotiations on a new deal. AFSCME also is trying to block the governor’s plan to close prisons and mental facilities, which would mean more layoffs, and employees oppose efforts to reduce their retirement benefits and increase their health insurance costs.