We’ll confess that we sometimes don’t know what to make of the Chicago-based Better Government Association. On the one hand, they’re in favor, as the name implies, of better government, which is a good thing. On the other hand, one person’s example of better government is another person’s Mosquito Abatement and Mayfly Treatment Commission. This week, the BGA is celebrating the legislature’s passage of a bill designed to bar public bodies from handing out massive severance packages to public officials. Under the bill, universities, towns, cities, sewer districts and any other unit of government must specify provisions of severance packages when entering into employment contracts instead of deciding amounts when someone needs to go. Call it the no-severance-for-schmucks bill – it passed after the BGA last fall highlighted cases of officials, many of whom departed amid scandal, who were handed as much as $763,000 on their way out the door. The BGA, which has its own newsroom and bills itself as both a journalistic and advocacy group, lobbied for the bill, issuing a written statement early this month urging passage.

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