SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced the state has reached a conclusion in the Illinois Department of Transportation patronage hiring scandal that began under previous administrations. IDOT gave the remaining staff assistants layoff notices last week.
“Our administration has put an end to the illegal patronage hiring that started under Blagojevich and continued under Quinn,” Rauner said. “Since taking office, we have worked for taxpayers to ensure proper hiring at all of our state agencies. This is an additional step to restore citizens’ faith in state government so it works for them and not the political insiders.”
IDOT notified the remaining 29 staff assistants connected to the illegal patronage hiring scandal their last day with the agency will be Sept. 15. In 2014, an executive inspector general report found staff assistants at IDOT were illegally hired and then either transferred into protected government positions or allowed to perform job duties that had little or no relation to their actual job description. The previous administration attempted to lay off these employees, but the union representing the staff assistants sued the state to stop those proceedings. As a result of the settlement of the lawsuit, the 29 employees were notified their services are no longer needed by the state of Illinois.
During the first month of his administration, Rauner signed an executive order to publish all Rutan-exempt employees on the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal website in a direct response to the IDOT hiring scandal. In addition, he signed an executive order that removed the requirement that the Governor’s Office review and approve the hiring and promotion decisions of Rutan-covered positions. This executive order removed a level of bureaucracy in hiring civil-service positions and further protected the process from unlawful political influence.