* From the AP’s short version…
The unexpected firing of 58 state workers whose jobs were improperly filled with politic considerations probably won’t end the controversy for Gov. Pat Quinn.
His aides announced the firings last week ahead of a report saying more than 250 people had been improperly hired at the Department of Transportation over the last decade.
Agency officials said previously that they’d avoid dismissing any of the 250 workers because it could lead to expensive lawsuits.
* From the long version…
(O)n Friday, IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell said keeping the employees on the payroll would have required creating new positions for them that were covered by the hiring rules.
“We determined that … eliminating the staff assistant position was the best path forward to ensure integrity,” he said.
Carl Draper, a Springfield-based attorney who represented the 16 employees who sued Blagojevich, said it wouldn’t be inconceivable for the 58 employees to argue in court that the inspector general found they were doing work protected by the Rutan rules, so they can’t be fired without cause. Key to his case was showing “the jury that there was no material reorganization.”
“It sounds to me more like [in this case] the material reorganization is, ‘We’re firing all the people that the [news media have] now reported as having gotten Rutan-protected jobs and we shouldn’t have hired them that way,” Draper said.
The terminations also render moot a time-consuming, months-long process the administration says it had undertaken to reclassify the IDOT jobs.