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Teamsters want fired IDOT workers spared

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

* Bernie

Lawyers representing Teamsters Local 916 said Tuesday they want 55 members of the union who were put in Illinois Department of Transportation jobs as staff assistants under a process criticized by a state inspector general’s report to be able to continue working for the agency. […]

Carl Draper, another lawyer representing the Local 916 employees, said Tuesday that the inspector general’s report showed that IDOT “used an expedient path to hire people for work they needed to have done,” and the employees shouldn’t be punished.

“I don’t understand, and the Teamsters certainly don’t understand, why their members are the ones who have to pay the price for what the OEIG (Office of Executive Inspector General) characterizes as unlawful conduct by high-ranking IDOT officials,” Draper said. He said the report showed “no criticism that these employees were doing anything other than the work that was assigned to them. … The Teamsters are looking for a way to protect the employees from becoming the scapegoat for the improper conduct either of the governor or the secretary of transportation.

* The full list is here. Back to Bernie

Among the people on the list to be dismissed is Kathleen Vehovic, who works in Springfield and makes $50,184 annually. Her father, Todd Renfrow, a one-time chairman of Sangamon County Democrats, said she is a registered nurse and her duties at IDOT are related to that field.

Also on the list is Elizabeth Haskins of Effingham, who is listed as making $51,696 annually. She is sister-in-law of Ellen Schanzle-Haskins, who is now retired and was chief counsel to IDOT in Springfield. […]

Another person listed is Cori Pickett, who makes about $50,200 at a Springfield job. She is daughter of Mike Stout, who left a job as director of IDOT’s traffic safety division at the end of 2011.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    I think it was wrong to fire (excuse me, “layoff”) these people when they did absolutely nothing wrong. Quinn is looking for anybody he can to throw under the bus and avoid taking responsibility.

  2. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    I see two sides of the argument here, one is the aforementioned “They did nothing wrong” but the other side would be akin to a bank robber paying for someone’s college tuition. The student did nothing wrong, but . . .

  3. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    So, do you have to be “connected” to get a job at IDOT?

  4. - Kevin Highland - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    Being hired under patronage they all knew that when political winds changed they may no longer have a job. It is the nature of the beast.

  5. - Cassiopeia - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    Quinn has no concern about anybody but himself. He has shown a callous disregard for other people. He is hurting a lot of people buy throwing these people away.

  6. - Frenchie Mendoza - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Quinn has no concern about anybody but himself. He has shown a callous disregard for other people. He is hurting a lot of people buy throwing these people away.

    Wait — you mean he’s “pulling a Bruce Rauner”?

  7. - Sunshine - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    How many of these people who got “clouted” into their jobs knew they were circumventing Rutan? Could they have gotten these jobs the approved process way?

    Are they getting raises and promotions based upon clouted privilege?

    The difficult part here is that many are hard working, dedicated employees. However, we must abide by the rule of law, as tough as it may seem.

    Quinn had the opportunity to clean house once he took over from Blagojevich, but he chose not to do so; and from all accounts, continued the practice of political favoritism against the rules of Rutan. Add to that the fact that he is quick to blame others for his apparent breaking the law. Might end up as a bunk buddy of the ex-gov!

    Careful what you say as you just might be on tape!

  8. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    I am going to assume the people with the 1989 and 1995 start dates transferred to IDOT from another agency under RBB or PQ administrations.

  9. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    Odd to punish the people who were hired but not the people who were doing the hiring.

    Even more odd to fire only a portion of those people who had been hired. Firing none of them or all of them who had not been promoted would be more defensible than this. Why were these people picked from the group?

  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    so they hold the idot a family reunion picnic at the same time?

  11. - The Colossus of Roads - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    Tim Carroll son of Leo Carroll former Secretary of teamsters 916 and currently 916 executive assistant. Why didn’t he make the short list?

  12. - Sara - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:53 pm:…/31002995 - Cori Pickett receives $20,000 raise for lateral move.

    How many more?

  13. - NMS - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    What amazes me is they STILL have exempt people doing covered work. Some people never learn.

  14. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    “I don’t understand, and the Teamsters certainly don’t understand, why their members are the ones who have to pay the price for what the OEIG (Office of Executive Inspector General) characterizes as unlawful conduct by high-ranking IDOT officials,”

    I certainly feel bad that those who lost their jobs, but taxpayers also pay a price when people are just added to payroll without a need. Let’s not pretend that there is not a cost to this.

  15. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    Don’t feel too sorry for them. They will eventually sue, get their jobs back with lots of back pay and interest.

    It’s the same old song.

  16. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    You have to follow the contract. Oh wait a minute, sorry forgot, contracts are inconvenient things.

  17. - Roadbuilder - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    The union is only crying because it’s less people paying dues so less money in their coffers. Each of these people is a political “hack” with clout who tried to circumvent the fair hiring system. None of them, no matter how hard they work, deserves to be kept on, and neither do the other 200 who conveniently found other state jobs or were reclassified to keep on the state payroll. This is just another example of how the union is in bed with the Democrats: “Let’s lay them off and allow the union to sue on their behalf. They’ll win and we’ll have to give our friends their jobs back and the public will foot the legal bill, even if we lose the election!”

  18. - Mason born - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    These folks got their jobs ahead of non clouted il citizens. The teamsters are doing their jobs and looking out for their members even if those members used the friends and family plan to jump over qualified il citizens. However these folks sbould lose their jobs and bid off the same list as regular non political il residents to return to service.

  19. - phocion - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Mason Born,
    How do you know these are Teamster members that we’re talking about. And why aren’t other unions piling on here? I would ask the question of the Teamsters’ real motivation here. I would bet big money that IDOT refused to play ball with the Teamsters on some trucking issue they wanted, and this is payback because they didn’t get their way.

  20. - W.S. Walcott - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    Why are Union dues always put, or kept in “coffers?” I’m doubting Roadbuilder, or anyone else for that matter, ever puts their paycheck into their “coffers.” It would be odd, but analogous if one were to say, “Roadbuilder wants his taxes lowered to keep more money in his “coffers.” It’s all rather peculiar. Am I missing something?

  21. - Mister M - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    Phocion, Teamsters 916 represents the non-code supposedly non-management technical staff. A different Teamsters Locals represents the Highway Maintainers. Roadbuilder has it right.

  22. - Modest proposal - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    If political motivation got them hired political motivation can get them fired. IMHO.

  23. - A guy... - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    Spare this group and we’ll really fix this problem this time, honest. No has got to mean no at some point. Now sounds like the best time.

  24. - Road Dog - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    So these Rutan Exempt employees are already in a union position? I know that is the desire from the start but I thought the 58 that were let go were still classified as exempt ” at will” employees why is 916 sticking their nose in it??

  25. - scarecrow - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    Tim Carroll is on the short list, why do you think the Teamsters are in such an uproar? Sad part is he was in a good position well before taking that job and only did so to avoid working for CMS.

  26. - Mason born - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 3:38 pm:


    As was pointed out teamsters represent idot.

  27. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    ==So these Rutan Exempt employees are already in a union position? ==

    Rutan exempt doesn’t necessarily mean not in a union. There are Rutan exempt positions in the union.

  28. - Road Dog - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    Rutan exempt doesn’t necessarily mean not in a union

    That’s news to me, in my 30+ years at IDOT. As I remember there were double exempt policy people with no representation. technical employees, most were 916 teamsters except those classified as supervisory/management and Highway Maintainers that are a different group of Teamster

  29. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    @Road Dog:

    You may not be aware of it but it is possible. We have a few in our office. They are attorneys. I don’t know what other titles fit into that category.

  30. - Gone, but not forgotten - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    Why is it that two of the people on the list are assigned to the Office of Quality Assurance which is headed up by the ex-Personnel Manager of District One? Also noticed that many people are listed as reporting to Emergency Traffic Patrol location, but have never worked there. Seems they were not only hired incorrectly, but assigned incorrectly and hidden on payrolls.

  31. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 5:03 pm:

    I’m sorry but live by the sword, die by the sword. The Teamsters and others who say they are “innocent bystanders” are full of baloney. They got their jobs politically and are fully aware of it. They should have been fired.

    Let me guess, if Rauner wins, all of the legislative liaisons are going to cry that they got laid off as well?

  32. - DPGumby - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 5:20 pm:

    the biggest waste of state funds has been the oeig which has consistently proven its incompetence

  33. - Old Timer - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 6:23 pm:

    I am tring to think of a job at IDOT that requires a nursing degree

  34. - KitKaT - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:06 pm:

    Those salaries are UNBELIEVABLE. My question is they are being “laid off” due to improper hiring, what will the process be for them to get into another position? And why should/would they get any sort of preference?

  35. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:45 pm:

    people working in district 1 HQ(shaumberg) are making out like bandits.

  36. - Hmmm - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 9:22 pm:

    Does anyone realize that there are no actual job titles of Staff Assistant at IDOT. Search for that job title on the Comptroller Ledger and none show at IDOT. I do not know who all those fired are, I only know that one of those fired has been there for over nine years (as a TM with specific job duties) and has serious on-going health issues and will now have no health insurance. I also know that many of those brought in as Staff Assistants were trained in positions which were eventually posted and those people got that permanent position. Odd that no other applicant but those were qualified for that particular position. Hmmm

  37. - Milo - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 1:38 am:

    Staff Assistant…..Teamster? It doesn’t add up

  38. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 7:04 am:

    Well @4%, I’ll be sure to dance around if you ever get fired.

    They didn’t do anything wrong. Period. They are being punished for something somebody else did. That is wrong.

  39. - kathryn - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 7:43 am:

    Has anyone pointed out that Ellen Schanzle-Haskins was also the Ethics Officer for IDOT when all of this hiring was going on?

  40. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 8:09 am:

    “has serious on-going health issues and will now have no health insurance.” Good thing Obamacare has been such an utter failure? Oh…wait….(end snark)

  41. - Colossus - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 8:48 am:

    Hai, guyz, remember when Blago came in and fired “Ryan hacks” by press conference? I knew some of those folks, and they weren’t all hacks, as not all these folks are hacks. However, I know some of these folks as well, and I can say the folks I know who have gone to IDOT since 2011 are all hacks, and not even good hacks.

    These kinds of firings are not unprecedented, nor are they unusual. Until one of the parties decides to grow up and stop playing the same tit for tat games and focus on governing, this is what will happen every 10 yrs or so.

    Followup: I was working for one of those fired by Blago the day he was impeached. She sent me out to buy champagne for the office.

  42. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    For decades IDOT has been the place to stash political hires as it was the only agency exempt from the CMS hiring process. People who were friends of friends, relatives, political paybacks, etc. would come into the agency and often be placed in positions of authority when they had no knowledge of the agency’s mission or mandates under which it was required to operate. It is sad that a once nationally recognized and respected agency has been used as a political dumping ground.

  43. - KitKaT - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 9:25 pm:

    @ HMMMM… the “TM” code is a PAYROLL code, the “Staff assistant” is the position which wouldn’t be listed on the Comptrollers site. It’s listed on the job description.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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