* 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.”