Government spending: State’s grocery bill no small potatoes

2012-06-17T07:00:00Z Government spending: State’s grocery bill no small potatoesBy Kurt Erickson| kurt.erickson@lee.net pantagraph.com

SPRINGFIELD - The state of Illinois has a big grocery list, buying everything from big blocks of frozen fish to pallets of canned vegetables in order to feed inmates at state prisons, residents of developmental centers and aging veterans living in state nursing homes.

Through April 2012, the state comptroller reported taxpayers had paid more than $65 million for various food and food supply products.

On any given day, state purchasers enter their needs on a special website operated by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, calling out for bids on everything from veggie burger mix to dry milk powder.

But not all of the food fuels residents of state-run institutions. Some of it goes straight into the mouths of state lawmakers and their staffs.

According to the comptroller’s office, the General Assembly paid $20,015 for coffee supplies. Along with coffee, the money paid for tea, sugar, creamer, artificial sweeteners and drink-related supplies.

That amounted to about $113 in coffee-related spending for each of the 177 members of the House and Senate. Broken down further, that’s about $9.42 per month, per member, for java.

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(10) Comments

  1. Flood Of Truth
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    Flood Of Truth - June 18, 2012 1:36 pm
    I musta been working at the WRONG prison!! Seriously, "steaks, shrimp, lobster, and many other fine dining items" ~ "weekly cook outs" & "fish fries".....really?!?!?




    Do these fools not have any idea how many "watch dogs" wonder the prisons? I'd like to ask WHAT prison they are referencing ~ because it's not "typical" for sure!!!



    The true part is ~ we did have an "officer's kitchen"... with cafeteria tables. The food was meadiocre at best ~ ususally offered the entree that the inmates had in addition to one other (usually nasty) choice. Probably wouldn't be the safest environment for security staff to eat in the inmate kitchen. We NEVER had a salad bar!!

    We had a cook-out once a year ~ funded by IDOC....jokingly called "Officer Appreciation Week" ~ we got IDOC propaganda & state grade hamburgers, hot dogs & brats.

    The only deviation from the above is years ago, they had MacMurry College for "culinary" inmates/students. The had all kinds of special security clearance ~ it was first come-first serve & was only open 1-2 times a month. It was "better" food but not delish. But they stopped that years ago too.
  2. herestheskinny
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    herestheskinny - June 18, 2012 10:36 am
    I am not near as conerced about the pennies spend on coffee for crooks each month as I am the millions of dollars spend each year for state employees to eat at state institutions. Anyone who thinks prison guards and medical staff at state facilities each the same foods as patients and inmates are not living in the real world. Each prison in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections has a separate officers kitchen. Prison guards have a salad bar at lunch and dinner and enjoy steaks, shrimp, lobster, and many other fine dining items prepared separately for them int their own kitchen and their own dining room. In the summer guards are treated to weekly cook outs and are served steaks, burger, brats, anything they choose. They also have several fish fries each year. I am more conerned about how much of this high dollar food ends up going off the prison grounds and into employees own homes. There is little or no supervision on food service with the state facilites and that invivites theft and corrruption.
  3. goneriding
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    goneriding - June 18, 2012 6:07 am
    They need to buy there own coffee gas for there cars and all that stuff they put off on us i know when im getting ripped off I worked with a guy that did some time for dui he told me that they feed inmate so much soy that he was sick for over a year.The way i see it from here is im off to work buying all the stuff a family needs sending about 175 dollers a week in just food thats not gas and know that its time to stop complaneing and just move out of this state .IM getting sick and tied of being ripped off.That is why there tring to take our gun rights a way so we can't defend our self
  4. ct
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    ct - June 18, 2012 4:47 am
    because even if the inmates work for free, after you pay for the corrections staff to watch over them, the mexicans still work for less and willingly do it

    think about that the next time you complain about immigrants


    most attempted inmate work projects just ended up in massive corruption - sorta like how you see give guys standing around a truck when passing road work.

    i always thought sorting recycling would be a good job for inmates; just dump trash in an area at the landfill and let them pick it over like kids do in the third world. let the inmates keep a percentage of the profit, those who don't work the minimum get extended jail terms.
  5. Rational Humanist
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    Rational Humanist - June 18, 2012 12:12 am
    I agree, let them buy their own coffee. If it is good enough for those who drink soft drinks it should be good enough for the coffee addicts.
  6. Kamper
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    Kamper - June 17, 2012 7:05 pm
    Billions in debt and I'm reading about 20,000 dollars in coffee expenses? Find something more significant to write about.
  7. MRS
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    MRS - June 17, 2012 2:36 pm
    That is a good idea but the liberals long ago said the state could not force them to do that. I'm not sure how much there is here in Illinois for that either. Ca. there are a lot. I don't know why the Pontiac prison did away with their farm. Inmates use to work them. If inmates are good enough to work at the Warden's house they should be able to work in the fields. Only the trustees would be aloud to do that though. I also agree with the coffee comment per 2tired. You can add all state employees to that list. I know a lot of places the employees share the expense of supplying the coffee and tea,sugar and cream. Of course that was in the private sector.
  8. 2tired
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    2tired - June 17, 2012 10:15 am
    $20k for coffee for the general assembly? Make them buy their own coffee, we pay them enough to do their job we don't need to foot the bill for coffee. Call canteen and put a machine in like every business, that pays the Congress's bills.
  9. tcarterffs485
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    tcarterffs485 - June 17, 2012 9:50 am
    any reason why able bodied inmates cannot be tethered to other inmates and forced to work in the fields picking veges and fruit? That will solve some of the problems of farms not being able to find U.S. citizens to do menial farm labor
  10. IB3457
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    IB3457 - June 17, 2012 8:04 am
    so what?
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