State still inundated with political favoritism

By Alex Davis |

Published 04/25 2014 03:53PM

Updated 04/28 2014 12:38PM

Update: 10:07 pm, 4/25/14, Friday
ILLINOIS -- Political hiring is still happening in the state. A report finds Governor Pat Quinn and impeached governor Rod Blagojevich filled hundreds of positions at IDOT, all based on patronage instead of merit. Now, Quinn is being sued over the ordeal. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

The Rutan Ruling is in place, but it seems politicians have gotten better at covering their tracks when it comes to political hiring.

"It doesn't do us any good to pass a bunch of laws if the laws are just hoops to jump through and they don't produce any real, positive end results, and so we have the Rutan Ruling. We have the end of patronage, at least so we thought, or so we all hoped."

It's been nearly a quarter of a century since the U.S. Supreme Court Rutan Ruling came out. But, just this week, we learned as many as 200 positions were filled at IDOT under phony job titles.

"But, in reality, we all know that Illinois' politics is not exactly the most transparent place in the world."

The Better Government Association found both Governor Pat Quinn and impeached governor Rod Blagojevich routinely labeled jobs under Rutan-exempt titles, when the positions were nothing of the sort.

"This allowed them to skip over the interview process."

Jobs were listed as "spokesperson, confidential and policy."

"And, if they used those words, they could get CMS to sign off on the hire as Rutan-exempt. And so, then when they went to make the hire, they could hire whoever they wanted for political reasons."

Unqualified applicants getting government jobs. Disheartening to those concerned with the state's high unemployment rate.

"The point is, that it was a job that could have gone to somebody else. Somebody who is qualified, maybe somebody who is unemployed, looking for a job."

IDOT says those hired illegally won't be dismissed from the agency because the positions are covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Original: 3:53 pm, 4/25/14, Friday
ILLINOIS -- A new report found Governor Quinn and former governor Rod Blagojevich hired hundreds of people for the wrong reasons. The report alleges they hired hundreds of new IDOT workers based on their political and personal connections rather than qualifications. The practice is often referred to as "clout hiring."

The investigation found IDOT administrators were manipulating job descriptions to get away with it. An attorney has filed a motion to stop this from happening in the future. He's also asking someone be hired to supervise the hiring process for state workers.

Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed against Governor Pat Quinn because of these political hires. It's not yet known if these people will be dismissed from their positions, but the Better Government Association prefers that as the outcome.

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