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This just in… Blagojevich to announce jobs move

Thursday, Jun 26, 2008

* 3:46 pm - Gov. Blagojevich is expected to be in Harrisburg, Illinois tomorrow to announce the move of about 150 IDOT jobs from Springfield to that far southern Illinois community.

SIU has reportedly done an economic impact statement that shows as many as a hundred spin-off jobs could be created in the area. Southeastern Illinois College Foundation will be partnering with IDOT in the move.

Harrisburg is in Sen. Gary Forby’s district, as well as Rep. Brandon Phelps’ district.

* 4:15 pm - The SJ-R now has a story online

Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said he was notified Thursday afternoon of Blagojevich’s appearance. He said IDOT is planning to move the division into a former Wal-Mart building that’s been converted to office use. The building is owned by the Southeastern Illinois Community College Foundation, Phelps said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - S. Illinois - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:52 pm:

    I thought we were down to 110 or so jobs now?

  2. - Daxx - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:53 pm:

    years of loyality has finally paid off.

  3. - downhereforyears - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:56 pm:

    Sounds like Poschard is making all kinds of friends. Wait till Blago leaves.

  4. - Ivote - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:57 pm:

    If he is so darned determined to move jobs to southern Illinois to help their economy, why doesn’t he move them FROM Chicago–where the loss of 150 jobs isn’t that significant? Of course the REAL reason—Sangamon County gave him just 21% of the vote last election, whereas Chicago gave him a LOT more! This has nothing to do with jobs or economic development for anyone–it’s pure politics. This administrtion sees retribution as a primary tool, and they’re not afraid to use it. Have they never heard that “politics is the art of addition”?

  5. - scoot - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:07 pm:

    Perfect timing…local unemployment rate reaches 18-year high in the Springfield.

  6. - OneManBlog - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:15 pm:

    Don’t forget the costs associated with the move and the budget issues.

  7. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:21 pm:

    What’s that big sucking sound I hear coming from Springfield?

  8. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:27 pm:

    ==as many as a hundred spin-off jobs==

    or as few as zero. Those ’studies’ tend to err on the high side. Cheez…at least a wal-mart shell will serve some purpose.

  9. - This voter will remember - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:27 pm:

    How come the top managers with the Department of Traffic Safety do not have to move along with the rest of the employees? i.e. Michael Stout

  10. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:29 pm:

    Did it take so long to find a more po-dunk place than Benton? /snark

  11. - Crimefighter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:29 pm:

    Note that they were originally going to Benton, now its Harrisburg.

  12. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:30 pm:

    Do the employment numbers about the capital bill include this high a ratio of ’spin off jobs’?

  13. - Anon 4:08pm - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:32 pm:

    Springfield is the state capitol, and the legislature must meet there. All else is up for grabs - and perhaps the 99% of Illinoisan who DON’T live in Springfield should have a crack at the well paid, high security, good health care, defined benefit pension state jobs, too.

  14. - Thunder - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:35 pm:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with Senator Gary Forby but IDOT assistant secretary David Phelps. Franklin county, Senator Forbys hometown county, is 90% Democrat. If any county should have gotten it because of politics, it would be that county.

  15. - One of the 35 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:42 pm:

    What does Mayor Davlin have to say about this? I hope he gets the message that this governor will shaft anyone, anytime.

  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:43 pm:

    There are several factors. Forby and Rep. Phelps have been loyal votes. The guv doesn’t care for Spfld. David Phelps and Larry Woolard are influential, as well as a whole host of deep southern IL types like Ed Smith and Poshard. The guv probably does want to spread around Spfld’s “wealth” a bit.

    It’s rarely just one thing with stuff like this.

  17. - Timmy OToole - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:49 pm:

    This is the right thing to do. Way to go Gov. Southern IL deserves a share of the pie. So many times we blame governors for ignoring southern IL… not in this case!

  18. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:50 pm:

    I think he’s right on this one, whatever the politics. With gas prices likely to stay high long-term and the migration of so many jobs to the cities, smaller communities in Illinois and the rest of the country are struggling to stay viable. Assuming we need an IDOT office at all, placing it
    out of Springfield when the opportunity arises (presumably, the lease expired) seems to be reasonable. These are government jobs and hence very stable; even if the present incumbents decide to try their luck in the private sector (ha), that will mean good opportunities for existing residents in the new location now and in the future. Corporations move their staff all the time. Nobody has a right to the same job location for the duration of their working life, whatever AFSCME says.

  19. - Joe Schmoe - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:56 pm:

    Gee. If they have a meeting today with the feds they walk across street (USDOT). With this great move it turns into a 450 mile round trip and a two night stay at the Harrisburg Country Inn. Great savings of time and money.

  20. - Grim Reaper - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:56 pm:

    It about time this administation started to move jobs out of Springfield. Repub that have been hiding behind ASFMCE need to know what it like to live and work in the real world of private business you so dearly protect.

  21. - anon - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:57 pm:

    A Wal-mart does not make an office, two different building code uses. A lot of money will be required to bring the building up to code requirements. Not to mention the waste of space that it will require to maintain the facility for that number of people. Another half-baked idea brought to you by the gov. with half a brain.

  22. - True Observer - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:01 pm:

    Others talk about running.

    He’s announcing that he’s running.

    In 1998 Burris and Schmidt probably got 3 or 4 times the votes of Poshard in the primary in Cook County and Poshard still won state wide.

    Blago is shoring up the downstate primary vote.

  23. - nieva - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:14 pm:

    It used to be a WalMart but was converted to a car dealership a few years ago. Office space and remodel are mostly already done. This area has voted democrat since the civil war. We should be getting the capital building and all the jobs!!!

  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:27 pm:

    I want to remind people to keep your posts toned down. We had a bit of a problem on this thread earlier, and if we get one more I’m shutting it down. Thanks.

  25. - Princeville - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:28 pm:

    Unless I’m reading a chart wrong, Saline County already has a pretty fair number of state employee jobs compared to a number of other counties in S.IL. Why the ‘woe is us’ about time other areas get a crack at state jobs? While I hate to see people/families uprooted, my family has followed it’s job three times, we adjusted. I just don’t believe this is being done for the good of anything rather more kick kick towards Springfield.

    Curious. Was the old Walmart building one of the building flooded in the earlier spring flood?

  26. - ivoted4judy - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:36 pm:

    shoring up the downstate primary vote??? what all 2,000 of em. S T U P I D

  27. - southern illinoisan - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:37 pm:

    I agree with Rich that there were many influential Democrats that were sure to be involved in this move. Such as Brandon Phelps and Uncle David, Glen Poshard, Ed Smith and Forby. If you want to know why it ended up in Harrisburg instead of Benton just look at the state representatives in the 2 districts. Harrisburg=Phelps and Benton=John Bradley. Get the picture? Bradley successfully scuttled the capitol bill and has ticked off a whole lot of Democrats, mainly the ones I just mentioned. John is a good man, who stands on principle. Unlike the Phelps’s who have sold their souls to Blago — Pathetic!!!!!!!

  28. - Interesting - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:37 pm:

    I just find it interesting people are praising the same “very stable” jobs that have just been torn from families. I wonder if they will feel the same if these jobs move somewhere else one day. Then at the same time laugh at the ability of the staff to make it in the private sector. Does this jab also apply to the “new” staff in Harrisburg and their abilities?

  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:42 pm:

    === Harrisburg=Phelps and Benton=John Bradley.===

    I’m sure that had nothing whatsoever to do with anything.


    Sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face.

    Rep. Phelps is viewed by the governor as an ally. He’s also a champ. Rep. Bradley is seen as a mortal enemy. IL never thought it would go to Benton once I realized who represented Benton.

  30. - Fed Up State Employee - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:44 pm:

    If the governator really wants to save money, why not move all the Chicago jobs to southern IL. Think of the huge cost savings by not having to pay those exorbitant square footage costs in Chicago. I’m sure, if you look hard enough, there are empty Walmarts all over Illinois…

  31. - annon - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:46 pm:

    Just more of the same from this bunch ! $$$…& spending what they don’t have..they just don’t get the concept do they ?? How much more ???

  32. - Bookworm - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:11 pm:

    Do the Traffic Safety staff affected by this move have to travel around the state in the course of their work? If so, what good does it do to move their office to a remote corner of the state and increase their travel time and expense — and probably make them wait months to get reimbursed for those expenses? Also, as Joe Schmoe said, they would have to travel 200 + miles each way to consult with U.S. DOT and other IDOT departments whereas right now they can just walk across the street. I’d almost argue that it the office had to be moved out of Springfield, it would make more sense to move it to Chicago since that’s where most of the traffic and traffic hazards are!
    Actually I believe this move is totally unneccessary and blatantly political. It’s not about cost, if it were, IDOT could find plenty of cheaper places to move in Springfield.
    If the state could afford to open up a NEW branch Traffic Safety office in Southern Illinois, or in Chicago, I’d be all for that — that would be truly “sharing the wealth”. This isn’t.

  33. - Larry Mulholland - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:13 pm:

    Are there jobs available down there for the spouses of those 110 employees? How many childrend are being ripped out of there schools and activities and thier friends for the political move of IDOT.

    Springfield just hit its highest unemployment rate in 18 years? How many directors/ deputy and staff have had their jobs at the agencies now live in Chicago? There is a significant impact to the SPI area and their families…sad and shameful When is enough enough?

  34. - Little Egypt - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:19 pm:

    With every job there is a family. What is not being considered here are that jobs = human beings. Uprooting these people for political payback is absolutely unforgivable. There will be a large enough pool of people in the Harrisburg area to fill any jobs that will become vacant because Springfield IDOT office people who may refuse to move and then become unemployed. Oh yes, unemployment benefits for those people. Harrisburg is not that far away from Eldorado (Phelps country), Marion, Benton, West Frankfort, Shawneetown, McLeansboro, etc. Some people in southern Illinois now drive easily 100 miles round trip to work and they would think nothing of applying for a job in Harrisburg. However, you can bet your bottom dollar that with a new governor, this office will come back to Springfield, if they ever leave. If I were the owner of the old WalMart building in Harrisburg, I wouldn’ sign a lease until all of the lawsuits are over.

    This move won’t garner nearly the votes that it will lose.

  35. - Geographically Challenged - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:24 pm:

    Is that the Ed Smith who moved to Washington, DC?

  36. - Larry Mulholland - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:25 pm:

    Who owns the proposed building and are they a contributor?

    Are there jobs available down there for the spouses of those 110 employees? How many children are being ripped out of there schools and activities and their friends for the political move of IDOT. Is it 50 kids 100? Is this what he really means by ALL KIDS. All kids pack your stuff mommy is a pawn Blago’s sad world.

    Springfield just hit its highest unemployment rate in 18 years? How many directors/ deputy and staff have had their jobs at the agencies now live in Chicago? There is a significant impact to the SPI area and their families…sad and shameful. When is enough enough?

    Rich, duplicate here.

  37. - nieva - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:27 pm:

    The water cut the building off from highway 45 but no water in it.

  38. - nieva - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:28 pm:

    The building is owned by the local jr college.

  39. - The Nail - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:28 pm:

    I think you are right on target with Harrisburg getting the jobs over Benton due to John Bradley.

    I never heard g-rod or any other spin sister say it was going to Benton… The only person I heard say Benton was the Springfield rumor mill via Sam Madonia. Looks like they only had it half right.

    Glad to someone actually being proactive and doing something for our friends in southern Illinois.

  40. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:01 pm:

    hmmm so locally they foubnd free space with no rent for these folks to use in several State owned buidlings.

    We are moving them to a building in S IL where we will have to pay rent. BUT the managment folks will be in springfield so that the workers are not overly supervised.

    good plan, maximize debt with a new lease, the cost of moving and increasing performance by removing supervision.

  41. - Proud Illinoisian - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:10 pm:

    A few IDOTers had been talking about sharing an apartment in the land of banishment, wherever it turned out to be. Go home on weekends. You know, like legislators and Blago managers who occasionally sneak into their Springfield offices, except no per diem for these lowly IDOT public servants. Rent can’t be too bad down there split two or three ways.

    I thought the state was broke. How many million taxdollars will spent on this vendetta?

    Springfield Mayor Davlin: He’s my guy! referring to Blago. With job cuts, cancelled events and such, how many millions of dollars has Blago and the Democrats cost Springfield, Tim? Tim? Yo, Tim!

  42. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:16 pm:

    And, since quite a few employees will balk at moving to Harrisburg, add the cost of training new employees.

  43. - I.D.O.T. Bleachers - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:20 pm:

    Taj Mahal - Central
    Sell the Illinois Tollway Central Administration Building
    2700 Ogden Avenue
    Downers Grove, Illinois 60560
    Another broken promise. Blagojevich’s Magic Money Machine!

  44. - Obvious - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:26 pm:

    Check this Rezko story out in the Suntimes…

  45. - The Nail - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:37 pm:

    Now I KNOW its southern Illinois, but people complaining that they’ll have to drive 3 hours for a mtg are living in the stone age.

    Ever heard of video conf, email, conf calls?

    Id bet IDOT spends less in one year for the new building than they spent in rent for one year in Springfield.

  46. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:43 pm:

    The buiding was already owned by the State and had been easily converted. Therefore, no need for overly complicated move.
    As for the Traffic Safety managers they all will move or leave Traffic Safety more likely then not. This appears to be an equal opportunity move just that very few Dems have been hired so very few impacted for once the lack of hiring helps out the local Dems.

  47. - It's Hammer Time - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 8:02 pm:

    Nail -

    The Blago crowd craves driving their cars to out-of-town meetings. At the $.485 mileage reimbursement rate, they get in the neighborhood of $200 in tax free dollars to visit their subordinates in Springfield. On July 1 the rate goes up.

    From Harrisburg, nothing is close. Just an extra money grab for a few select Rodites. You know, a new way of doing business.

    Better stay away from the casinos, Nail. Your bets are horribly inaccurate.

  48. - Bookworm - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 8:11 pm:

    Yes, I have heard of video conferencing and e-mail and all that, but sometimes it helps to talk to people in person. It especially helps to be able to talk to your supervisors in person… and tell me again, where the supervisors are going to be?

  49. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 8:17 pm:

    Bookworm- the point is for no one to move including the managers and then more jobs in So Ill. Yes that includes the local Dems everyone is getting moved. That is the message to Sangamon County as it is in all state relocations. This is not brain surgery everyone its politics.

  50. - gray wolf - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 8:38 pm:

    the people to be moved are not the highly paid-just the rank and file[that’s just what a clerical employee has advised]-not verified but it seems reasonable with this irrational circus leadership- put bigshots in a walmart?

  51. - Little Egypt - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 8:47 pm:

    Nothing is close to Harrisburg? How about the Ohio River and just a little south is a boat at Metropolis. The Shawnee National Forest, Garden of the Gods, Dixon Springs, Ponds Hollow, Marion and the new ballpark which is home to the Southern Illinois Miners, a whole bunch of eating joints in Marion including the best pizza place on earth (Walt’s), and 15 miles further west is Carbondale with a great mall, SIU Salukis football and basketball, Cobden for apples in the fall, Murphysboro Apple Festival in the fall, a truckload of antique shops in Benton, and a much much slower pace of life with all of the amenities you would find in Springfield (just have to look a little harder). That is my home territory; however, I really hate to see this move come about because 1) it’s retribution/retalliation on Blago’s part and 2) it won’t be permanent. This is going to uproot families either by the entire family moving or just the IDOT worker and him/her commuting back and forth. I’ve been there/done that. Lived in Springfield during the week and never missed going home on a Friday afternoon and coming back up on a Monday morning - 4 nights here, 3 nights there. It was the best of both worlds (when I was single and had no family here). I would really hate to be doing it now. But I’m betting, as suggested in an earlier post, that there will be a lot of workers carpooling together, driving back and forth, and flopping together in apartments. So where’s the economic gain for Harrisburg? These people will be so angry over the move and the “economic impact”, they will do everything they can to spend as little money as possible in Harrisburg.

    I simply can’t believe it will happen without a lot of kicking and screaming from employees, the union, and possibly a lawsuit or two. My guess is it will happen around the holidays. Merry Christmas.

    And Blago - way to go Guvna. You the man - NOT. You’re sure leaving a legacy but not one to be very proud of. And there’s really no hope for you at this point. All you can really do is sit your can in a chair and sign bills. No one really gives a rip about you anymore. Can you say Governor Ineffective???

  52. - I'm A Little Teapot Short and........ - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 8:55 pm:

    Apparently the Director of Traffic Safety has told all non-AFSCME employees in Traffic Safety that they will be required to interview for their current job positions if they decide to move to Harrisburg. Just another way to make sure that any non-supportive voters (Republicans for the most part) are put on the unemployment line for sure. Believe me the interview process would be skewed for sure.

  53. - reddbyrd - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 9:12 pm:

    let’s review who needs to wonder if anyone really trusts this guy?
    hope the new SI workers get short term leases in case GRod gets mad

  54. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 9:37 pm:

    Do the Phelps Brothers still sing?

    What a state. At the top, farther north than Boston, at the bottom, farther south than Richmond. Every ethnic, racial, cultural, ideological, economic and religious interest in between. What a combustible stew we are. I love it.

    I wonder if old Pere Marquette knew what was coming when he was paddling his canoe across Lake Michigan and portaging all those rivers till he got to Big Muddy and made it down to the Missouri and the Ohio. Can you imagine how beautiful the Prairie State was when it really was an ocean of prairie?

    Odds are this summer I’ll find myself where the adventurous French priest met his maker at the mouth of the Sable River on Lake Michigan at Ludington. I’ll tip a Bud and give him an update.

  55. - InquiringMind - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:10 pm:

    As a former Assistant Chief Counsel at IDOT who handled Traffic Safety matters, I cannot begin to describe how deplorable this move is.

  56. - rose - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:11 pm:

    I happen to be one of the employees that is being forced to move or lose. Some people think its pretty funny to watch as I lose my home and everything i have aquired because of some idiot that thinks hes god. I have never wished harm on anyone or ill will,remember the golden rule? (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) be careful what you wish for people because guaranteed it will happen to you. None of the dems in the upper management will be relocating, yes the lowly supervisors are also moving. The only ones not making the move are the people that blago put in and they make 3 to 4x times what us peons make. I have worked for the state for 23 yrs. and this is the worst governor in my lifetime. Do you people really think that phelps or the gov gives a rats butt about any of you? Its all politics!!! Take if from the people who see it everyday. Wouldn’t it be more feasable to bring in a manufacturing plant or some other type of company that can provide hundreds of jobs instead of moving a small amount? How is that helping the economy down there? Well you know the old saying ( It happened to me and you can believe it will happen to you.)

  57. - Bookworm - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 6:56 am:

    Yes, Wordslinger, it’s easy to forget all the resources, natural and human, we have as a state. Without Chicago, we’d be Iowa; without downstate, we’d be New Jersey. Without either, Rich would be a lot poorer :)

  58. - Dan S, a voter and Cubs Fan - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 7:12 am:

    There is one more peice to the puzzle. By law, IDOT still has to explain in writing to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability the economic and human impact of the relocation. Will Blagoof be able to get past that hurdle?

  59. - To Rose...... - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 7:12 am:

    I would get a group of your co-workers together and look into filing a class action suit against the Governor, the Secretary of IDOT and the Director of Traffic Safety. Be sure to go through the appropriate grievance processes first and any good attorney would tell you to do so even though they won’t accomplish anything. Otherwise, any Judge will throw your case out on the grounds that you didn’t take any/all measures afforded to you before beginning litigation. It would be interesting to see the written and Email communications between the aforementioned parties as they fumbled to justify just such a politically charged move.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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