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Today’s number: 4

Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

* AP

More than a year after a much-lauded compromise paved the way for high-volume oil and gas extraction in Illinois, the agency in charge of overseeing the practice has hired just four of 53 new employees it says it needs as it continues working to complete rules that drillers must follow.

Yes, we’re once again talking about the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. But this is not solely a problem with DNR. The Quinn administration takes forever to approve hiring. It’s a ridiculously elongated process and often-times the people agencies want to hire have found other jobs before the Quinnsters finally sign off.

* Ugh

“I think this is a complete effort to slow down the process; I think it’s politics pure and simple,” said Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, adding that the DNR had said it would hire half of the needed staff before the end of 2013 and half this year.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons.

* DNR’s excuse

Even if the rules were completed, the agency does not yet have enough experts to issue permits, inspect wells and perform other tasks associated with the anticipated influx of drilling activity. Last summer, state and industry officials said it could take a year to get the program running.

Miller said it took time to write job descriptions, develop interview questions and obtain approval to begin hiring. So far the agency has hired two well inspectors, an investigator and an office worker, and 23 other jobs are posted. The agency should have 15 people hired by the end of July, and will focus on first hiring those who will work in permitting, Miller said, adding that after July, hiring “will start picking up steam.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    OK, this is b.s. The law is in effect, and people are waiting to invest, start making some money and spreading it around.

    This is when governors should light a fire under their people to take a little more personal interest in their jobs or somebody else will be doing it very shortly.


  2. - Fed up - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    Again the Quinn admin is incompetent. The lost revenue is millions, pensions, unpaid bills who cares. Quinn probably doesn’t know how to hire legit without patronage so he doesn’t know what to do here. Veto gambling, ignore gas revenue but cry poor when passing unconstitutional pension bills. Great work Pinocchio Pat.


  3. - walker - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    They’ve might have reacted to criticism of hiring practices with layer upon layer of bureaucracy, and review. Rather be safe than do the job expeditiously. That’s been the seeming reaction in other departments.


  4. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    You cannot expect a political party who is filled with people focusing on how businesses need to be regulated - to know how to implement this. Democrats know how to regulate existing industries, they don’t do a great job regulating new ones, because they generally lack that base of knowledge.

    So I don’t blame the poor results due to deliberate malfeasance. Its just that it is hard to find a Democrat who knows how to do this type of work.

    Just as it is almost impossible to find someone in the GOP who can understand the minutia of labor laws, it is very hard to find someone in the Democratic party who can understand the minutia of this.

    We simply have the wrong party in power to accomplish this kind of roll-out. It will take time. It can be done. It just isn’t going to go as quickly as it would if there was a group of GOP executives were doing it.

    Besides, do you want all the regulatory safeguards adhered to? It takes a Democrat, not a Republican to handle that kind of work with due diligence.

    If you are a pro-business Democrat with experience in natural extraction businesses - we need you! There are just so dang few of you!


  5. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    Maybe they haven’t got the list yet of who they are required to hire from above. Expect all 53 hires to occur right after Labor Day with pro-rated, preapproved, paid leaves of absences that end on Nov 5th.


  6. - Pete - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    The process is slow because CMS is involved.

    Simple as that.

    Have CMS review the selected candidate after the interview. Currently CMS reviews all the candidates after the interview. If they only review the selected candidates, this process would be extremely quicker.


  7. - spidad60 - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    can’t they hire staff assistants for that? those don’t take long to get approved by the Gov’s Office


  8. - kathryn - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    I hope the sentence “the Quinn administration has to approve all hirings” does not get lost in the DNR story. Quinn administration had to approve all hirings at IDOT, so pretending not to know who was being hired at IDOT is ridiculous.


  9. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Writing job descriptions? They already exist. The foot-draging is by design and won’t stop until after the election.


  10. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    This is total nonsense from the DNR. I work in the oil and gas industry, and while the people who are qualified to do this aren’t cheap, you can get contract people in place pretty fast.

    Job descriptions shouldn’t take more than two weeks if the person in charge knows what they’re doing (which they probably don’t since they’re likely patronage hacks).

    My guess is that partonage and political delaying issues are the problem here. The problem is that not a lot of political patronage workers have any qualifications for these jobs, so they’re trying to find ways to reduce the necessary qualificatins in the descriptions to get their friends the jobs. It was ever thus in Illinois management….


  11. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    It also takes time to match job descriptions to the qualifications of the various offspring of Democratic Party county chairman and spouses of certain elected officials.


  12. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    –The foot-draging is by design and won’t stop until after the election.–

    I doubt it. You already took the hit in some circles by signing the bill. Now all you’re doing is honking off the people who want it.

    They call SNAFU for a reason. Lethargy and ineptness are generally the answer, rather than conspiracy.


  13. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    === They call SNAFU for a reason. Lethargy and ineptness are generally the answer, rather than conspiracy ===

    If that is supposed to set our minds at ease - I, for one, am not amused.

    === This is when governors should light a fire under their people to take a little more personal interest in their jobs or somebody else will be doing it very shortly ===

    More of that is needed. Do you believe Quinn is willing/able to accomplish it?


  14. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    The exodus of career professionals from DNR means the remaining managers are mostly political appointees who, shall we say, have trouble completing paperwork and following through. They’re more concerned with the Governor’s Office than with getting the job done. Another legacy of the Blago/Quinn era.


  15. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    So if they rush the hiring now and you all are placated, I don’t wanna hear any complaints that unqualified idiots ended up the jobs, okay? Something else to consider is that people who are technically qualified for these jobs don’t want them because of the precariousness of the state’s financial situation. It also ignores the possibility that the whole situation was created by an overly optimistic timeline. Companies were agitating for permits before Quinn even signed the bill. Even one of the leaders of the state’s oil and gas association said, “development is still probably a few years away.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/04/illinois-fracking-state-m_n_3383470.html


  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    ===So if they rush the hiring now ===

    LOL

    Don’t argue like a child.


  17. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    And yet, he was able to get at least one program up and running and spending over $50M in a matter of days. Pat Quinn is surely an enigma eh?

    Fracking and minerals aren’t popular with the base. Timing is everything. This is unforgivable for a state in our financial situation. I used to constantly hear “Republicans ‘want’ the economy to stay bad for political purposes”. Never agreed. But look at this mess and make a lucid argument.


  18. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    They claim to need more staff, but there’s no openings listed anywhere on the department’s website.


  19. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    –Fracking and minerals aren’t popular with the base.–

    I hadn’t noticed Downstate fracking as a big topic of conversation in northeastern Illinois.

    He signed the bill. Whatever political damage there was to be had is done.


  20. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    Today there are only 8 job postings for DNR and only 1 for a Well Inspector. The others are Grants, Fisheries, and Sparta’s shooting complex.


  21. - Responsa - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    How many real dollars in tax revenues are being lost to our state every single day from drillers not being able to drill, extractors not being able to extract product, and workers not being able to be employed in the field? This is ridiculous, and just more self-inflicted damage to the state’s finances regardless of whether it’s intentional or merely incompetence on DNR’s and the governor’s part.


  22. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    === Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:19 pm:
    I hadn’t noticed Downstate fracking as a big topic of conversation in northeastern Illinois.===

    I can only suggest you get some Q-Tips maestro.


  23. - walker - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    Sounds like the Gaming Board rollout of video gambling regulation. Took at least a year too long.


  24. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==Don’t argue like a child.==

    I’ll admit it, the first part was hyperbolic (of course, the definition of hyperbole is a statement that is not meant to be taken literally), but it doesn’t change the fact that the oil and gas association expected this to take some time, which is different from the nonsense of the IMA.


  25. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    PC, can’t rationalize yourself out of the corner when he sends you there. Just serve the penalty and try for the Popsicle tomorrow.


  26. - Retired IDNR - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 11:58 pm:

    Please, someone fire IDNR Director Marc Miller. This guy is an administrative nightmare.


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