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The baby sitter’s gotta go, says Dillard

Thursday, Aug 31, 2006

The saga continues.

Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard called Wednesday on Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich to remove his children’s baby sitter from the Illinois Civil Service Commission.

The call for Betty Bukraba’s resignation from the panel that decides state employee disciplinary cases came after the Daily Herald reported that Blagojevich appointee Betty Bukraba is the some-time baby sitter for his two daughters.

“It’s unconscionable that taxpayers are paying over $20,000-a-year to reward yet another Blagojevich crony whose fairness and judgment are compromised by her close relationship with the Blagojevich family,” said Dillard, the DuPage County Republican chairman who was speaking as a surrogate for Republican governor candidate Judy Baar Topinka. […]

The civil service commission is poised to decide a key case involving two downstate personnel workers Blagojevich officials fired after accusing them of fixing hiring tests to get jobs for politically-connected applicants. The attorney for the two workers, who are trying to get their jobs back, says the duo was just following orders from Blagojevich higher-ups. The case is unfolding during the middle of a governor’s race as Blagojevich fends off a widespread federal probe into his administration’s hiring practices.

The governor’s office makes a good point, however.

Blagojevich spokesman Abby Ottenhoff defended Bukraba. […]

She said Bukraba is qualified to serve on the panel, pointing to the 14 years she spent as the director of personnel services in the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s office before retiring.

It doesn’t matter. The baby sitter’s decision in the crucial Dawn DeFraties case will be severely tainted, so she should probably step down.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Shallow Pharnyx - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 6:52 am:

    Wow! Blago needs to retake his own ethics test. Wasn’t he a lawyer, once?

  2. - Bill - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:07 am:

    The “just following orders” defense didn’t seem to work for Sorich and company. Why should it work for Dawn? If she violated state law or policy, she and her cohort should be fired. Seeya!

  3. - Disgusted - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:10 am:

    He probably took it too fast, like his minions are claiming state employees have done. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:12 am:

    Uh, Bill, Sorich wasn’t a personnel chief like DeFraties. He was the mayor’s patronage guy. He was convicted for ordering the personnel chiefs to make the political hires.

  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:15 am:

    S P -

    I agree, but I would advise him to not answer the ethics questions too quickly or he will targeted as being too smart for Illinois state government.

    I hope I get in trouble so I can enjoy the honor of being judged by someone who is so “fair and unbiased”, as stated by the fair and unbiased Abby Ottenhoff.

  6. - Gregor - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:26 am:

    It seems common sense that the commissioner should recuse herself from working on this case due to a personal relationship. Come ON, is this rocket science?

  7. - Roy Slade - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:40 am:

    Rich- you may be wasting your breath on correcting Bill. He has never concerned himself with the facts.

  8. - one of the 35 - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:24 am:

    As one who has been throught the process, I would just advise Dawn to be patient and and hang in there. The Civil Service Commission can put her back to work with back pay but it is the Circuit Court and the Apellate Court who will ultimately decide the matter. The process is an execise in stamina. I did not realize at the beginning just how long that would take.

  9. - Did babysitter report income? - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:35 am:

    Was the baby sitter paid for her services for the Governor? Did the babysitter report the income the Governor paid her for babysitting on her tax returns? Did he report it on his tax return as a deduction? Is the appointment a payment for past or future babysitting services. Was the babysitter licensed by DCFS?

  10. - Wumpus - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:41 am:

    Wow, Kirk Blowhard has hit the nail on the head. She is more than a crony…she is like a family member.

  11. - Bill - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:07 am:

    Uh, Rich,
    Sorich claimed that he never made anyone hire anyone. He just passed along recomendations from “higher ups”. If you can’t see the similarities then …never mind.
    …and Roy, look who is talking about “facts”.
    If she violated state law or policies then she should go,period.
    Trying to blame the governor is no defense.
    …and prosecuting Commission members is very similar to trying to blame the jury ala Ryan.

  12. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:08 am:

    By taking her records with her, Dawn now has more bullets than Hezbollah. I don’t care what happens at the Commission, going after her will ultimately provide all of the ammunition that the G needs.

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:14 am:

    Uh, Bill, do you wanna make a bet on whether the feds will do what they did in Chicago again, which is use the testimony and cooperation of personnel chiefs against the patronage office? Or would you bet that they’ll believe the upper echelon that it was all the personnel chiefs’ fault and that their recommendations were certainly not meant to be taken as orders?

  14. - Bluefish - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:15 am:

    Why is the former director of personnel services for the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk babysitting for the Governor anyway? What, no politically connected teenagers in his neighborhood?

    This situation just elevates the joke that is our current administration to a whole new level.

  15. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:50 am:

    MONK was his POOL BOY!
    TUSK was the LAWN BOY!
    FILAN was his BARBER!

  16. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:24 am:

    You mean you people don’t trust a man who compares himself to Lincoln.Where has the goodwill of the people of Illinois went to.HAHAHAHA

  17. - Cassandra - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:34 am:

    Sounds like the babysitter is minimally qualified
    and that Blago was making a political appointment in an area (appointments to commissions) where political appointments are legal and also the norm. If she doesn’t recuse herself, DeFraties will have more amunition if she loses.

    The Democratic approach to patronage in Illinois appears to be to place their supporters in government jobs for which they meet the requirements of the job specifications and the job description. The concept of “best qualified”
    is easily manipulated and qualifications are kept low, thus enabling the hiring of large numbers of patronage employees into Rutan-protected or Shakman-protected positions.

    The losers are the taxpayers, as usual. Given the lavish salary and benefit packages, plus lifetime job security, available to successful government job applicants, we should have a high quality, competitive work force if market forces only applied to state hiring. We don’t, as is well known. Few state employees could earn similar salaries and benefits in the private sector. There is little pressure to perform and few are regularly monitored or evaluated.
    And there are far too many of them, suggesting that productivity is problematic.

    Today’s Sun Times had an article on an audit of personnel in 7 Chicago City agencies, 97% of whom were found to be “qualified.” Good political fodder for Daley’s reelection campaign but also an example of the Democratic formula for patronage hiring…hire patronage workers but make sure they meet job qualifications which are kept as “minimum” as possible.

  18. - REFORMER - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:37 am:

    I don’t think you that stepping down is necessary. She should simply recuse herself from the case.

    Point Blank

  19. - one of the 35 - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:44 am:

    Reformer has made an interesting point. Should the governor’s former baby sitter recuse herself from any cases which involve an Executive State Agency vs. an employee? Technically such cases are the Governor against an employee. The Governor’s former domestic employee could be predjudiced in such matters.

  20. - Bill - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:59 am:

    Sorry,Ill pass on that bet,Im overextended already.

  21. - One Man Can Make A Difference - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 11:03 am:

    Recusing herself from the case or as “one of the 35″ pointed out eliminates the appears or the actual conflict of interest.

    She shouldn’t have to change jobs or step down because the Governor’s office dislikes whistleblowers and target them especially when their case heads to the Civil Service Commission which is under the Governor’s jurisdiction. She has done nothing wrong!

    This may be the case that removes this Board from under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor and places it in the Office of the Executive Inspector General where it should be to avoid any appearances of conflicts coming from the Governor’s office and former state employees.

    After all, if an employee alleges that he or she was wrongfully terminated by the Office of the Governor and or his administration, it is a conflict of interest for the same board, appointed by the Office of the Governor, to review the employees claims as all of them have allegiances to those who hired them in their positions on the Board, THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR.


  22. - Downtown - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 11:38 am:

    The Governor reminds me of Eric Cartman “I do what I want to do!”

  23. - Bill - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 12:30 pm:

    one of the 35,
    THANKS!! Stay Strong.

  24. - chinman - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 1:53 pm:

    when is mary lee going to have to talk?

  25. - Still Anon - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 5:14 pm:

    Cassie - where do you get this notion of these “lavish salary and benefit packages?” After 25 years of experience as a public service professional, I was making less than newly licensed members of my profession. Lavish indeed! To say nothing of my pension benefits, accruing at a whopping 1.66% per annum. At this rate, I’ll have to work until I’m 80!

  26. - Huh? - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 6:51 pm:

    Governor’s Inspector General is independent of the Governor’s Office? Is this the same inspector general who went after 2 political hacks for hiring political hacks who were hired on the orders of the governor’s political hacks? Where is Z when we need her?

  27. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 6:58 pm:

    Cass and Still Anon,

    There are definitely professionals at the state who would be more than competent in the private sector if they tried it, such as attorneys, accountants and engineers (witness the “brain drain” that is occurring at IDOT where departing engineers are doubling their salary in the private sector).

    There are also nincompoops, politically connected or not, who are fortunate to have a good salary due to longevity and a system that makes it difficult to get rid of problem or nonproductive employees.

    I’ve seen both types, and everything in between, in my dealings w/ the state.

  28. - So Blue Democrat - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:16 pm:


    You are so correct? The Inspector General is more worried about how long it takes to complete an ethics test instead of investigating true corruption in state government. The questions on the test have common sense answers. And did not the company that designed the web-based test make major campaign contributions to the Governor. Once again, it was designed to make it appear that they were doing something. PLEASE!

  29. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Sep 1, 06 @ 12:23 am:

    Six Degrees of Separation -

    Congratulations. you just described every organization with more than 1,000 employees, including every Fortune 500 company.


  30. - Still Anon - Friday, Sep 1, 06 @ 8:50 am:

    Six - you’re absolutely right, I just would prefer that everyone in public service not get tarred with the same brush.

  31. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 1, 06 @ 1:16 pm:


    No I didn’t. Fortune 500 companies are in the private sector where different principles apply than in the public sector, especially in IL. Most private sector management employees, and many front line workers, are rewarded and/or punished according to their worth (or lack of it) to the company. The extremes of overworked and underpaid, and underworked and overpaid, are not evident to the extent I see them at the state. Your mileage may vary, of course.

  32. - Nostradamus - Friday, Sep 1, 06 @ 11:59 pm:

    Has she made any judgements before that were
    linked to Hot Rod ? She has to go!!!!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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