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posted: 10/6/2012 8:00 AM

Lawson again disputes Mussman's attacks in 56th House mailer

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  • John Lawson and Michelle Mussman

      John Lawson and Michelle Mussman

 
 

Democratic state Rep. Michelle Mussman is again questioning Republican challenger John Lawson's intention to keep the one campaign promise he has the most control over -- to step down from his two current government jobs if elected.

The Schaumburg incumbent's latest mailer in the race for the 56th House District repeats the accusation of an earlier one that her crosstown rival Lawson would hold three government jobs simultaneously for $186,475 a year.

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But the mailer paid for by the Democratic Party of Illinois goes beyond questioning Lawson's intention to keep his promise by stating " ... Lawson will not be a full-time State Representative, saying he will continue working as a police officer in Roselle."

Mussman Friday said the source of this claim was a Facebook posting by Lawson last February in which he made reference to the fact that he was three years away from earning a 30-year pension.

But during an interview at the Daily Herald last month at which Mussman was present, Lawson said he would quit his job as a Roselle police officer immediately if elected, stopping his pension at 27 years.

Mussman said Friday she found Lawson's differing statements on this issue confusing.

"There's an awful lot of statements that have been floated around," she said.

Lawson Friday said that Facebook posting the day after his 50th birthday Feb. 8 was part of an exchange with a friend that jokingly referred to the fact he had earned his AARP card.

"If I did say I had three more years till 30, that is true," Lawson said.

The actual Feb. 9 posting reads, "When I win, I'll be at the PD for about 2 more years to get my 30."

Lawson added that in February, before the uncontested primaries both he and Mussman enjoyed, he had not yet had the meeting he later had with Roselle officials to discuss the terms of a potentially imminent retirement.

Lawson said he is giving up 2.5 percent in potential pension earnings for each year he would retire before his 30th anniversary.

"As I keep saying, Michelle, that is old information," Lawson said. "I don't know how much clearer that has to be. Here's what we say in the legal world -- that's been asked and answered."

Lawson said he would also step down from his position as Schaumburg Township assessor as soon as someone was qualified to be appointed to replace him.

Assessor is one of the few elected offices that carry an educational requirement. The classes that fulfill that requirement normally take about six months to complete.

Schaumburg Township Supervisor Mary Wroblewski said she's talked with a couple fellow Republicans who said they might be interested in starting the classes if Lawson is elected in November. That would make one of them ready to be sworn in at the same time as other newly elected township officials next May, Wroblewski said.

These potentially interested people have asked not to be identified yet, she said.

Lawson's current term would normally expire at the end of 2013, months later than other elected officials in the township.

Though the assessor classes can be done within two weeks if necessary, there are always questions about the cost and availability of the expedited course, Wroblewski said. The safest assumption is that another qualified assessor would be ready by May, she added.

Schaumburg Township Democratic Committeeman Rocco Terranova said he's talked to no Democrats who've expressed any interest in taking the classes, though there is an intention to run Democratic candidates for other township offices next April.

Mussman said even if Lawson resigned his assessor job after a few months, he would still face a conflict during the early part of 2013 when the workload of both assessor and state representative are at their peak.

Lawson said there wouldn't be too many days of conflict when the new House would be in session before May, and that he had the authority to appoint his nonelected deputy assessor as acting assessor on those days.

Mussman also said Lawson's five-point pension reform plan was written in such a narrow way as not to prohibit Lawson's own participation in the kind of government "double-dipping" he claims to abhor.

Lawson, however, has also vowed to withdraw from his township pension and to refuse a legislative pension.

The candidates' 56th District includes Schaumburg and parts of Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Rolling Meadows, Hanover Park and Roselle.

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