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*** UPDATED x1 *** Last man standing is leaving

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* I heard this was coming last week. The timing couldn’t be worse. Greg Hinz

A senior Quinn Administration official is leaving his post amid continuing fallout from a patronage hiring scandal in the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Deputy Chief of Staff Sean O’Shea is going off the payroll, effective Friday, Aug. 29. He’s held that position since August 2011, and his responsibilities included overseeing IDOT and its hiring of senior officials in policy positions.

A spokesman for the Quinn Administration confirmed the departure, but insisted it has nothing to do with the hiring matter. […]

The Quinn spokesman said Mr. O’Shea will be leaving for an unidentified private-sector post and that the new job “has been in the works for weeks.” The spokesman also underlined the administration’s view that, while it was aware of the hirings, only officials at IDOT were aware that the employees actually were working on routine, nonpolicy matters.

Earlier today, the campaign of GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner sent reporters an email making an issue of Mr. O’Shea’s continued state employment. “Why does a top aide that the Inspector General says approved patronage hiring still work for the governor — even months now after Quinn was shown the IG’s report?” it asked.

There’s that Sgt. Shultz defense again, “only officials at IDOT were aware that the employees actually were working on routine, nonpolicy matters.” Yep. Stick with that. It’s your only hope.

The Quinnsters insist that O’Shea’s new job is legit and didn’t have anything to do with the current scandal. That could actually be true, even though the timing won’t help Quinn any. O’Shea had made a mortal enemy out of House Speaker Michael Madigan over the years. And, as subscribers know, Madigan’s ire peaked this past spring.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner’s Mike Schrimpf…

“It’s time for Pat Quinn to stop misleading voters about his illegal patronage hiring schemes. This scandal goes straight to the top; there’s no one left to fire except Quinn himself.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    So who do you vote for, Sgt. Schultz or Sgt. Schultz?

    Has everyone been thrown under the bus yet? Because it’s a good idea to do it all at once, not to make it a daily news story.

  2. - Bogey Golfer - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    Starting to get interesting……………

  3. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Word, I think there is such a big pile of victims the bus will have to be put into overdrive to climb it.

  4. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    This just keeps getting worse. Did Sean leave because he saw no hope for November, or was he pushed as another scapegoat?

  5. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    == only officials at IDOT were aware ==

    Apparently no oversight whatsoever.

    Then, once the Governor is made aware of these occurrences, no consequences for any of those == officials at IDOT ==. They get to leave on their own terms.

  6. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    It’s remarkable that we haven’t seen the list of 58 who were laid off. That will be some interesting reading.

  7. - Empty Chair - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    Congrats on the new job, Sean.

  8. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    In answer to the Rauner campaign question why he hasn’t left yet, because he didn’t have his “private sector” job nailed down till today.

  9. - Stooges - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    At one of the IDOT District offices they have a room called the incubator. The new “staff assistants” that are hired without interview or a job posting, hang out there until a real job that is covered by the union opens up and they can move to a safe location. Its been that way since Blago’s first year.

  10. - bardo - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    I think the real story here is that Team Quinn loses one of the few remaining adults. O’Shea is smart, talented, hard-working, etc…. He’ll definitely be missed. Congrats to him on the new gig.

  11. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Bardo is right. The new gig is real and substantial as will be evident soon.

  12. - Bluefish - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    When the same scandal pops up in three different Cap Fax posts on the same day then you know you have a real problem on your hands. If this is August, I can’t wait to see what the story will be in October.

  13. - Judgment Day (on the road) - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    “Word, I think there is such a big pile of victims the bus will have to be put into overdrive to climb it.”

    They’re going to have to build at least a 100 foot ramp with a half mile approach so the bus can get up to speed….

  14. - South of 64 - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    Drip, drip, drip, drip…the mud hole is getting bigger with each drop of rain. Pretty soon even Pat “Ethics” Quinn won’t be able to climb out of it.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    Bad news, bad optics, bad form.

    You can’t get people to rally for you up front, while you are throwing them off the bus out the back…

  16. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    Capable and strong - that is Sean O’Shea.
    He will be greatly missed, but will be highly valued in whatever he does next. Congratulations and THANK YOU for all you did and tried to do.

  17. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:41 pm:

    There’s not seeing, and there’s not wanting to see.

    The patronage hiring at some state agencies is harmful, bi-partisan, and of very long-standing.

    Quinn had his chance to blast this edifice away in the post-Blago period in 2009-10, and he did a few surface things, but he didn’t really dive in fists flying.

    One irony is that Quinn probably benefited significantly less from these job placements than the preceding governors or other power brokers. And yet it will burn him the most.

    Madigan publicly pushed Quinn hard to clean house and “fumigate” everything Blagovian just following Quinn’s election in 2010. Some cynics thought that was just MJM’s way to open more jobs for other placements. But I think it was straight up, and that Madigan could predict this current political risk.

    It’s Quinn’s Achilles heel.

  18. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    Given that he left for “the private sector” instead of “to spend more time with his family”, I’d give it a little more credence.

  19. - Sunshine - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    What about all those who have retired? Any penalties?

  20. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    I bet this guy looks 10 years younger tomorrow morning.
    Hope that new job understands he’ll need a little time off if a subpoena happens to find him.

  21. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 5:15 pm:

    Stooges hit on the smoking gun.

    I was wondering what would take so long.

    None of these jobs were posted.

    Meza was incorrect when he argued that these political hires essentially cut in front of hundreds of others. Because IDOT was not trying to fill them.

    IDOT was not trying to fill them, yet the governors office was recommending applicants?


    How else would they have known about the vacancies unless they were keeping a list of Rutan-exempt positions at IDOT?

    And if they were keeping a list of Rutan-exempt positions at IDOT, how could they not have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of positions?

    And what other agencies were they tracking vacancies for?

    Meza so botched this that I have to wonder, combined with the late Friday release, if it was intentional.

  22. - sal-says - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 5:20 pm:

    == “It’s time for Pat Quinn to stop misleading voters about his illegal patronage hiring schemes. This scandal goes straight to the top; there’s no one left to fire except Quinn himself.” ==

    Couldn’t apply to Rauner’s nursing home deals nor the Cayman Islands, could it?

    Quinn? Death by a thousand cuts, like I said before; all of his own making.

  23. - anonagain - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 5:29 pm:

    I am confused the Gov’s staff called Sec Ann and told her to hire her and former Dir. of Traffic Safety’s daughters. How thoughtful the guy does are.

  24. - Buster - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 6:29 pm:

    Walker analyzes the situation well. I don’t know what’s more infuriating: the phony job patronage hiring or the clueless way Quinn did it.
    Blago and Quinn’s Republican predecessors did some of the same mischief but they weren’t so stupefyingly incompetent in their gaming the system.

  25. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 8:02 pm:

    The countless deputy chiefs of staff were a ridiculous management framework. Isolated from his directors and all hiring decisions traceable directly to the Governors office. Hope they enjoyed all of that centralize authority.

  26. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 8:04 pm:

    He got the top job after his twice-running mate was indicted, impeached, found guilty, removed from office, then convicted and now serving prison.

    YET- Pat Quinn didn’t seem to try and ensure that the mud and dung that clung to Blagojevich was completely scrubbed off his own office. Not only had Pat a 2010 election to prove his reform credentials, he had an extra year to boot.

    Governor Quinn earned every bit of this bad news. The man who did nothing to show us that the Ryan/Blagojevich years were behind us, just doesn’t get it. Pat Quinn has not only been incompetent as a reformer, he didn’t even seem to try.

    Really. It was so flipping obvious to everyone. But not to Pat Quinn.

  27. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 8:38 pm:

    vman. It’s even worse, he took credit for signing he the bill that directed the Inspector Gemeral to look at Rutan hiring practices then did nothing to ensure his agencies complied.

    He really is a phony.

  28. - Colossus - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 8:41 pm:

    From watching Team Quinn up close an in person, Anon@8:02 is right. Too many DCoS + too heavy a hand in every decision regarding hiring = well, this.

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 10:42 pm:

    I found Sean to be incredibly smart and wonderful to work with…he will certainly be missed. Congratulations, Sean, I know that you will be outstanding in your new position, and somebody is getting a great new employee.

  30. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 10:43 pm:

    === Too many DCoS + too heavy a hand in every decision regarding hiring = well, this====

    Yep. There isn’t anyone more powerful in state government than a DCoS, except for the chief of staff himself and the governor. Quinn needed more buffers.

  31. - Harry - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 11:25 pm:

    Quinn has/had all those DCoS’s for a reason. It’s silly to say he should have done different–he’s an adult, he did it because he wanted to do it and he damn well knew the risks and exposure–but his reasons fro doing it were more important than those downsides.

    Don’t go pretending he’s just some naif, and don’t go making excuses that he is anything other than totally corrupt.

  32. - low level - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 6:35 am:

    “Made a mortal enemy out of Madigan”. What is with these guys? You need a legislative leader to pass your program. Duh? And this is aomeone again who really came up in DC, not Springfield. I suppose that’s better than the others we’ve seen come in whose experience largely was Chicago. DC and Chicago very very different than the statehouse. They come up in either one of those places and think they’re experts or that state govt is simple compared to where they came from. They got this. Piece of cake. Don’t need to listen or learn. Dumb.

    Buster and Walker absolutely correct re: Republicon predecessors abilities vs Blago and Quinn and patronage. Ridiculous. Absurd. We were out of power for 30+ years and when we get back in power we can’t do it correctly. Unbelievable almost, until I remember what Blago and Quinn were like before they went to the mansion.

  33. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:09 am:

    For most of my entire life, Illinois hadn’t a Democrat in the governor’s office. Then when we finally get a couple - it is Blagojevich and Quinn.

    I completely expected that the powers that be would have ensured that the Democrats didn’t blow this once in a lifetime opportunity. I was so wrong!

  34. - Lincoln B(LOG)ger - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:10 am:

    Pretty obvious the GO infrastructure is a crushing failed effort. Sadly O’Shea was the exception, hence MJM’s ire directed his way. The guy who stands up is somehow painted with the brush… Ironic…

  35. - state employee - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 8:36 am:

    Some of those people on the list have worked here since the 90’s. They did not ask for this! You want to talk about patronage hiring..there are 3 deputy directors at traffic safety..NEVER in history has there been 3!! what exactly do they do? No one there knows. These 58 have families, they go to work and work hard every day! It is a shame that they are being punished and the hundreds if not thousands of others at IDOT that over the last 3 decades got their job because they knew someone, they get to stay? Crazy world we live in.

  36. - Mcleaniac - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    This is why every Governor should have a half dozen Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff positions. Like shock absorbers, they provide a smoother ride.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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