Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
* Michael Shakman and Andy Shaw are asking a judge to order an investigation into the reclassification of certain IDOT employees..
He said 61 of the “Staff Assistant” positions once deemed by the administration to be exempt from state rules were submitted to the state’s personnel agency for review, and the agency determined at least 50 should not be exempt. Tridgell said going forward, those positions will be hired according to state rules that say a person’s qualifications take precedence.
“The hiring of Staff Assistants began in 2003 under the previous administration, and was suspended when new information came to light last year,” Tridgell said.
He also said that of the roughly 5,200 IDOT employees, about 4,900 are in positions in which political connections cannot be considered.
But Shakman says the Quinn administration is claiming an “inconceivable” number of employees may be hired based on their politics. He says the number is “far greater than justifiable under applicable law.”
Currently there are no “Staff Assistants” at IDOT.
*** 12:25 p.m. - The Rauner campaign on the suit…
“It should come as no surprise that someone who started his political career as a ghost payroller and patronage chief for Dan Walker is now carrying on the Rod Blagojevich practice of rewarding friends and allies with state jobs.”
The release goes on to cite newspaper articles and wire reports of instances where Quinn has been accused of using clout and ghost payrolling, such as with former state Reps. Careen Gordon and Mike Smith, Agriculture Director Bob Flider, David Vaught, the former OMB and DCEO director.
* I retweeted this for the ScribbleLive earlier this week…
Chicago homeowners may have a familiar voice among their phone messages tonight: Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. The Rauner campaign conducted thousands of robocalls today. The message? That Gov. Quinn is considering signing the recently passed Chicago pension reform bill which Rauner says would pave the way for higher property taxes.
Naturally, the Mayor is less than thrilled about this…
“Bruce Rauner hasn’t even gotten to Springfield, and he’s already acting like a career politician who plays politics with people’s pensions and livelihood,” Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said late Tuesday. “This pension reform bill currently awaiting the governor’s signature will bring financial security to 60,000 hardworking people and provides more savings through reform than a plan proposed by Mr. Rauner just a few years ago.
The people of Chicago don’t need more rhetoric or gimmicks, they need a plan that will give our workers and retirees financial certainty and that will put our city finances in order for the long-term.”
The calls also received a cold reception from the two legislative GOP leaders…
“The robo-calls? It is what it is for this time of year,” the Western Springs Republican told the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board.
Durkin voted for the pension overhaul bill.
“I will respectfully disagree with Bruce Rauner’s position. When the city of Chicago came to me very desperate for some relief, I couldn’t ignore the multiple [bond rating] downgrades they’ve taken,” Durkin said. “How many more downgrades does the city of Chicago need to go before it hits junk status? To me, that’s not something I could accept under my watch in the House.
“I can’t speak for Bruce, but I thought it was the right thing to do,” Durkin said of his vote.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont did not support the bill currently before Quinn, but she agreed that Rauner’s call for Quinn to veto the bill amounted to “political theatre.”
* Gov. Pat Quinn’s taxes showlittle change from prior year
* Quinn Releases Tax Returns; Rauner’s Waiting: A spokesman says Rauner has filed for an extension. Rauner did release three prior years’ worth of returns in November. Those showed his salary in 2012 was about $52 million.
* Tax Returns Revealing … But Not Revealing Enough: “We really want to know where the sources of money that you have, that your spouse has, that might make it a conflict for you to vote on a measure, advocate for a measure,” (Sheila Simon) says.