SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday hit the brakes as hard as he could on late-term decisions made by Gov. Pat Quinn and his administration.
After signing an executive order aimed at improving ethics in the executive branch, the governor on his first full day in office said he was canceling, rescinding or putting on hold every possible hire or appointment made by the Quinn administration since the first of November.
“It’s been very clear there’ve been some inappropriate decisions, either with appointments or (by) reclassifying employees,” said Rauner, R-Winnteka.
State Sen. Neill Anderson, R-Rock Island said he hadn’t seen the governor’s executive order, “but it seems like what I’d have to believe is a great common-sense decision.”
A new governor’s taking office, he said, “seems like a good time to let the back-room deals cool down a little bit, doesn’t it?”
The governor said he wants his own office and his administration’s Office of Management and Budget to review all changes.
Some hires, reassignments and contractual moves might be quite appropriate, but others might not, Gov. Rauner governor said, adding he wants trained eyes from more than one office to review them.
“Business as usual is over in Illinois,” the governor said before he signed an executive order aimed at slowing the migration of state employees to organizations that lobby, further restricting bans on gifts to state employees and expanding mandatory disclosures of economic interests.
It wasn’t clear if Rauner would release his own income tax records before the end of March, as an executive order signed by Quinn demands, or whether that action by Quinn would be one that Rauner invalidates.
Pressed on his tax returns, Rauner did not say he’d release those but would provide more information than he was demanding of others and more than the law requires.
Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said he was aware Rauner was issuing an executive order and added the Legislature would certainly review it.
Governors, he said, sometimes try to achieve more than is there prerogative with a stroke of the pen when matter should go through the lawmaking process.
Gov. Quinn was no exception, he added.
“What you do then is, if it’s a good idea, you put it in a bill and you pass the bill,” Cullerton said.
Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, said he’d not heard much of the new governor’s signing an executive order or meeting with state’s top legislative leaders on Tuesday.
Smiddy said he did like some of what he was seeing from the governor but added the time around inaugurations and legislative swearing-ins is often charged.
Soon enough, he said, it will be time for the governor and the Legislature to see what they can do together.
“Hopefully we can get down to work together, find some common ground and get this state headed in the right direction.”
State Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, addressing the governor’s tough speeches, said, “If he can do all the things he says he can, I’ll be right there with him.”
Although Verschoore was primarily discussing budget priorities set forth by the incoming governor, he added new administrations often promise much.
Mark Fitton is a reporter for the Illinois News Network.