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This just in… Trouble

Friday, Sep 29, 2006

Rep. Jack Franks has just sent out a press release that makes a very valid point about how Gov. Blagojevich’s administration could be in big, big trouble over allegedly illegal state hiring.

Franks (D-Woodstock) has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the guv’s office for all exemptions granted by Blagojevich to his own Executive Order 1, which froze state hiring in 2003. The only way anyone can get a state job (or a promotion) to this day is to obtain an exemption to the order from the governor.

The point here is that it will be difficult to make the case that a couple of mid-level personnel chiefs who were taking orders from above were responsible for any alleged lawbreaking.

Why? Because not only did the personnel people fill the jobs with political hacks on alleged orders from the governor’s patronage office (and, in Beverly Asciridis’ case, by the governor himself), but the governor’s office itself then had to approve all the new hires.

Franks’ press release is below, along with his letter to Gov. Blagojevich and a copy of the governor’s Executive Order 1. Click the pics for a larger version.

franksfoia1 franksfoia2 franksfoia3

- Posted by Rich Miller        

51 Comments
  1. - Guy Fawkes - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 2:44 pm:

    WHOA!
    TICK! TICK! TICK!


  2. - Poor Milorad - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 2:46 pm:

    Might this be the proverbial ’smoking gun’? Looks like things are piling up on the gov to the point where he is now about neck deep in the stench. Soon the pile will cover him and hopefully it’ll be before he’s re-elected or if not once again Illinois will the nation’s laughing-stock.


  3. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 2:47 pm:

    Paging Bill….
    I am sure the documents will be forthcoming and will not reveal anything but the highest ethical actions.


  4. - One Man Can Make A Difference - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 2:54 pm:

    One Man,

    You forgot the LOL after your comment!


  5. - Fan of the Game - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 2:57 pm:

    This does not bode well for Governor Blagojevich. If what Rep. Franks is suggesting is true, no longer can Gov. Blagojevich hide behind underlings and claim he had no knowledge of such acts.

    The gun is not only smoking, it’s too hot to touch.


  6. - Wumpus - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:00 pm:

    Just in time for an October Suprise. Isn’t this the second time Franks has come out firing agaist Blago? Why now, is the question I have? Is he aligned w/Judy? While honesty in government is refreshing, it is just not too expected.


  7. - Ms. Rutan - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:00 pm:

    They should request a copy of the flowchart that spells out the approval process for hiring. It has been through several iterations over the last couple of years, but it clearly shows that the Gov’s office saw candidate names and info prior to being hired…even for RUTAN hirings.


  8. - Ut Oh - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:01 pm:

    Ok Rich for those of us just reading this and not following the prior story connect the dots and explain how it becomes illegal? Is that because it violated the Rutan case which doesn’t permit political patronage hiring for certain positions? Could you make it easy for us just looking for a 2 min. summary and connect the dots?


  9. - One Man Can Make A Difference - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:07 pm:

    - Ut Oh - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:01 pm:

    I’ll connect the dots for you. If there is a hiring freeze, it is what it is.

    It means that the Governor’s office only used the hiring freeze as an attempt to hiring only those that it wanted to hire and ignore the freeze only for those that it wanted to hire.

    Basically, if you’re not a friend of the Governor or his office, you’d not be able to bypass the hiring freeze.

    However, if you are a friend of the Office of the Governor, sure the Governor’s office will sign off on your hiring.

    The Governor’s office has bullied the hiring process in the State of Illinois since 2003!


  10. - Buck Flagojevich - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:24 pm:

    I would like to see a flow chart of the employees targeted for firing. You know, those people with the red X’s over their names on charts/lists delivered to various state agencies from *some* higher up state office.


  11. - Ms. Rutan - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:34 pm:

    Buck - I haven’t seen one of those lists, but I have seen the ones showing all of the “special salary adjustments” given to the Blago supporters.


  12. - Marvelous Wonderful - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:36 pm:

    One Man…Suns out. Rod’s guys are golfing.


  13. - IDOT PRO - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:39 pm:

    Oh this is just great! If the hack appointees are walked out of their palaces, who will now lead the subordinate staff? We have gained so much in leadership since they showed up. Thank you Mr. Franks!


  14. - leigh - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:47 pm:

    Is this a stunt or is Blago finally going to have to fess up?


  15. - Lovie's Leather - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:47 pm:

    Mr Franks, I am sincerely disappointed… is there no way you could connect Jesse White to this…? LOL


  16. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:49 pm:

    3 BIGGEST LIES IN LIFE-2006 UPDATE

    “No more Business as Usual.”

    “Reform and Renewal.”

    “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

    At this point, illegality is almost a technicality, ironically enough.

    Bring it on, Jack!


  17. - Battered State Employee - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:50 pm:

    Monday’s debate will be extremely telling, whether Rod shows or not.
    Time to step-down Mr. Blagojevich, let us not waste anymore of the taxpayers money to defend you and your corrupt administration. You lie, lied and are still lying, quit blaming the previous administration for your woos. You’re the one with the numerous investigations not Ms. Topinka or Rich Whitney.


  18. - This guy - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 3:58 pm:

    Technically, is the governor’s office legally bound to respond to the request within a certain time period?

    The election is pretty close, and given his history of being late for events, wrong with his accusations and just plain dishonest in general, is it not feasible that he could get by with simply ignoring the request?

    Forgive my ignorance, but what happens if he justt blows it off?


  19. - Ms. Rutan - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:04 pm:

    This guy -

    The responder has seven business days unless they request an extension of time to 14 business days (usually they say that the request cannot be complied with in the seven day time frame and it would unduly burden the agency). They must respond, if they do not, it is considered a denial. They can appeal the denial. If there is no response, they can take it to court.


  20. - Lovie's Leather - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:05 pm:

    Wow… the legislative branch might have to take the executive branch to court… how Nixonian….


  21. - This guy - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:10 pm:

    Thanks, Ms. Rutan. So it is definitely possible then (and probably probable) that he could ignore and effectively bury the issue until after the election?

    Sad, sad. Too bad this FOIA wasn’t filed months ago.

    I wonder if this story will get any mainstream press, what with it’s being Friday afternoon and all.

    Sure hope Rod shows up for the debate Monday.


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:11 pm:

    I think there was a new process put in place to expedite FOIA’s that allows a denial to be appealed to the AG’s office.


  23. - Ms. Rutan - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:22 pm:

    Yellow Dog -

    FOIA is statutory (5 ILCS 140). The only way they could change the process is to change the law via legislation.


  24. - Southern Illinoisian - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:37 pm:

    The waters grow redder with blood from the Gov’s hiring office. The sharks are circling. Soon, someone will flip under the threat of a long sentence, and then Blags will be indicted.

    The only question is, will it be before or after the election?

    Between the hiring investigations, the media hounds, and $1,500 check adventure, I’d say Blags has his hands full. Helluva way to run a state.

    Hey all you Southern Illinois Dems: Are you REALLY gonna vote for this crook?


  25. - Curious - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:44 pm:

    why release something like this on a Friday afternoon?


  26. - Lovie's Leather - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:47 pm:

    That was my thought as well, Curious. This is a nice monday morning headline… and maybe it still will be…


  27. - Guy Fawkes - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:47 pm:

    Rich,

    Do we get to know ahead of time the debate questions for both candidates. Wouldn’t it great if Rich Whitney just showed up on stage to debate? Isn’t that what it’s all about, let’s air it out!


  28. - Mr. Manners - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:51 pm:

    Curious - Good question. I hope Bradley Tusk and the invisible governor have a great time shadow boxing their strategy for Monday’s debates, and I hope this gets to play into the questions asked. And yes, maybe a juicy Sunday Op/Ed too.


  29. - roadkill - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 4:59 pm:

    One Man got it right. Many of us suspected from the beginning the hiring freeze would be a tool that allowed Blagojevich or his lieutenants to give their blessing to exemptions to the hiring freeze and hire people who passed the political loyalty test. When we saw the people who ended up with some of those jobs, it was obvious that’s what was going on.


  30. - 1 term Rod - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 5:08 pm:

    At IDOT they are bringing there people & calling them Staff Assistants & then roll them into full time positions. Of course with NO interviews & if anyone IS interviewed, it is by one of there Director’s wife who is a Bureau Chief doing all there political fixing of interviews. She is about to be moved to a protected job in Personnel. How convenient! The best thing for this Administration is that there are people everywhere ratting them out. It is only an amount of time before the Grand Jury is convened. They are praying the election gets here first but that will not stop Patrick from getting 1 term Rod an ajoining cell with George. Tick Tick Tick


  31. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 5:37 pm:

    Lisa Madigan has created an ombudsman in her office to assist the public with FOIA requests, however, overturning a denial does require court action.

    If I read the act correctly, Rep. Franks can file the court appeal in any circuit, including DuPage or McHenry. I’m sure it would receive swift action there.


  32. - Some one who knows - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 5:50 pm:

    Is this the same guy, Franks, who used his State Rep. stationary to shake down the Ill. Health Facilities Planning Board?


  33. - Some one who knows - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 5:53 pm:

    Didn’t the Thompson, Edgar, & Ryan administrations have the same “hiring” freeze?
    I guess no one got hired during that whole time?

    Except Frank’s wife who got hired by the Ryan admin?


  34. - A Proportionate Response - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 7:20 pm:

    Here’s a question. Why is this the first time anyone is identifying the hiring freeze as the tool to effect the Governor’s personal control over all state hiring? Was the not clear on the day the order was issued? And why isn’t the press putting these things together? I hope the Feds are.

    And as far as the FOIA goes, CMS will just say that the personnel and hiring information is not a matter of public record and therefore not subject to FOIA. That’s how they keep anyone from getting any information without a subponea or a court ruling.


  35. - bluedog demo - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 7:22 pm:

    when Blago is gone you will have the ” mighty Quinn ” as govenor. Sip a cup of ” tea ” while you ponder that one boys and girls !


  36. - Wumpus - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 8:00 pm:

    How wonderful that JBT was given this in time for Monday’s debate.


  37. - unclesam - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 9:18 pm:

    Rich,

    I hope this hiring/corruption issue, in all of its facets, plays a central role in your panel discussion before the City Club of Chicago next week.

    See you there.


  38. - Little Egypt - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 10:35 pm:

    The FOI request will be turned down, Blogo will put a spin on it, and it will wind its way through the legal process until after the election is over. I’m betting Blogo also won’t show up for the debate Monday. He will have some lame excuse of something that has come up at the last minute. Perhaps he will use one of his daughters again. I suggest that JBT place a Flat Rodney on the podium. I wouldn’t let him get away with it. I really don’t blame Blogo for wanting a debate via radio instead of TV. After looking like a deer caught in the headlights during the Chicago “press conference”, he has everything to lose if he does a TV debate. I find it laughable that he really wanted 12 debates before the election. I just can’t believe that people are not seeing through this guy. Can’t wait until Monday night.


  39. - Angie - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 10:48 pm:

    Trouble? As if “trouble” hasn’t been brewing for a very long time? Please. This Gov’s whole career has been about “trouble.”

    By the way, when I worked in healthcare, the top execs were going around in orientation asking what party you belonged to. I mean, that was weird to me…until I read up about the Provena case and all the contributions coming from the Illinois Hospital Association. Our self-professed “Democrats” got promoted at this company rather mysteriously fast, but if you said “Republican,” they gave you a hard time. I hope the whole healthcare finance industry is put under investigation if Levine pleads guilty and mentions Blagojevich! I’ll be first to offer to testify that it is VERY political in THAT business. That’s why I totally believe Rod’s admin. has been all about “pay-to-play” there. Have seen the political bias in the healthcare industry first hand.

    Trouble indeed. And there’s probably a lot more to come. We’ve probably only seen the tip of the Rodfather’s iceberg.


  40. - Richard Daily - Friday, Sep 29, 06 @ 10:52 pm:

    It’s no big thing, the fact the Governor’s office approved the hires looks more like a rubber stamp than smoking gun.

    If you want to find dirt on Blago, look how he whores with Peabody Energy.


  41. - Sick Of It All - Saturday, Sep 30, 06 @ 1:36 am:

    I know more than one person hired because John Gianulis shepherded their application through the Governor’s office. He may be gone back to Rock Island now, but he won’t be forgotten. All the Governor’s Men will fall if this investigation is fruitful. Go Patrick! Go Jack!


  42. - Bottom Line - Saturday, Sep 30, 06 @ 7:14 am:

    To Buck Flagojevich:
    I have A RED X chart, where do I send it?


  43. - Cassandra - Saturday, Sep 30, 06 @ 9:07 am:

    This is good work on the part of Franks and should have happened sooner….oh, Cindi Canary, where are you? Oh, other good govt groups where are you? Too much work? Easier to do the occasional press conference declaiming on govt corruption?

    In evaluating any information that comes to light as a result of the FOIA, it’s important to remember that about 3500 positions are legally Rutan-exempt in state government. Hopefully, most of those are at-will not civil service but you never know.

    The ones we taxpayers should be concerned about are the thousands of civil service jobs where, once past probation, the employee has a lifetime sinecure, way above market pay, and, clearly, doesn’t even have to work very hard. There should be a lot fewer of them, but regardless, these are not supposed to be given out as political prizes.


  44. - politicaljunkie - Saturday, Sep 30, 06 @ 12:27 pm:

    Way to go, Jack. You gotta love it. Blagojevich took the hiring freeze straight out of Thompson’s playbook. Only thing is, his minions were too stupid to pull it off. I wonder if they ever heard that you shouldn’t put anything in writing if you don’t want anyone to know how things really work.


  45. - just watching - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 11:13 am:

    Franks needs treatment. He’s taken his grudge too far. The timing is no accident. He’s turned into a bitter and useless rep.


  46. - Ray Coleman - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 3:50 pm:

    No matter what the outcome of the Nov. 7th election, I applaud Rep. Franks. I hope this is the start of what will be hiring reform in Illinois. Employees need more rights in the human relations offices, through state and federal law, and general assembly hearings. The public needs to understand that Rutan is not a strong enough law to provide an adequate amount of protection for state employees. Those of us who have gone through the system can attest to that. We need more law makers to step up to the plate like Rep. Franks. Worker rights should not be a partisan issue. Rutan has been abused by both parties.


  47. - Shrink Needed - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 11:25 pm:

    http://www.nwherald.com/MainSection/krug/303401772232933.php


  48. - Laughing - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 12:35 am:

    What’s with all the deleted comments? Blago supporters writing in to complain because they can’t take the heat? Bet they email frantically and go “Get that off there!”

    Won’t work. Your man is in trouble trouble trouble.;-)


  49. - Really???? - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 7:39 am:

    Laughing@12:35AM??
    “Your man is in trouble trouble trouble”
    Anywhere from 8 12 points up everyday since the Primary….. if that is “trouble”, what is judy?
    TOAST??????


  50. - maggiemae - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 11:24 am:

    Bottom Line - Can I get a copy of the Red X Chart? Don’t want it sent to my work place, but if you mailed to my home, I will pay the postage. Thanks


  51. - Bottom Line - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 6:48 pm:

    maggiemae,

    the postage is on me, just give me an address.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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