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*** UPDATED x1 *** Quinn again deflects responsibility to IDOT

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

* AP

Gov. Pat Quinn says it was up to his transportation secretary to follow employment rules even when hiring candidates the governor’s office favored.

The Chicago Democrat said Tuesday his cabinet members “have a duty to make sure that they comply with the rules that I’ve set down” and are accountable for that.

* Let’s review, shall we?

In a blow to Gov. Pat Quinn, his former transportation secretary has accused his office of pushing “the vast majority” of improper political hires in her agency even though an ethics report released Friday shied away from blaming the governor’s office. […]

“It is my recollection that [the] vast majority of Rutan-exempt hires were chosen from those recommended to me or my staff by the governor’s office,” Schneider said, referring to the landmark Rutan U.S. Supreme Court opinion that placed limits on political hiring in government jobs.

“The governor’s office would have been provided resumes of all such candidates and would have requested that we complete the process of having the recommended person approved for the open position,” she said. […]

“Neither I nor my staff were in a position to reject the recommended individuals for these exempt positions as no additional interview process was required,” she said.

* And

The inspector general’s report said dozens of the staff assistants had ties to Democrats including the top leaders of the legislature, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, both of Chicago.

* And

According to Mr. Croke, if the agency has already identified a candidate that it wishes to hire into a Rutan-exempt position:

    · the agency submits an ePAR to the Office of the Governor for approval;
    · the ePAR is approved by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget;
    · the ePAR is approved by both the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Chief of Staff; and
    · the agency fills the vacancy with the desired candidate.

So, Quinn’s top staff runs dozens of low-level political hires through IDOT and never once stops to consider if all those sweet jobs that they couldn’t place anywhere else were properly classified?

Perhaps you have a different view of this. If so, please enlighten me.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner campaign response…

Fact #1: Pat Quinn recommended patronage hires to IDOT.

Fact #2: His chief of staff and deputy chief of staff (who still works for Quinn) approved all the hires.

Pat Quinn’s explanation is an insult to Illinoisans. He needs to stop making excuses about the illegal political hires in his administration. His office recommended the hires and then signed off on the hires. Not even Rod Blagojevich would be so brazen.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


49 Comments
  1. - Downstate Illinois - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Quinn must live in a fantasy world or has no hesitation to blatantly lie. At what point in the last few decades as the governor’s office not been overly involved in the hiring process of state agencies, legally or illegally, Democratic or Republican administrations.

    It’s been one of the problems in state government. I long for the day that an agency director is actually given responsibiity for his or her department and held to it. It’s just hard to do so when your agency is micro-managed by the governor’s top staff.


  2. - NotRMiller - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    And the hole gets a little deeper..


  3. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    I wish some entity would really dig into IDOT which would be curtains for Squeezy’s pal…


  4. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Nope sorry Rich no enlightenment here,


  5. - Cassiopeia - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    Quinn is making this even worse by this blatant lying. The personnel officers in each agency take their hiring orders directly from the Governor’s Office.

    This has gotten ridiculous.


  6. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    The Governor is digging this hole deeper by saying dumb things like this. If they are rules you set down then why don’t the people in your office know about them and why are they asking agencies to circumvent them. The clueless defense doesn’t work here.


  7. - Wally - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    Cuing Dandy Don Meredith……..


  8. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    While there are many possibilities here, none are especially flattering to the Quinn administration.

    If we take Quinn and the former Director’s statements both at face value, there were serious communication problems. The Governor’s office provides a recommendation to hire, assuming that the folks at IDOT will reject it if it crosses some line. The IDOT folks receive the recommendation assuming it is a must-hire. This is the most generous explanation I can conceive and I have trouble swallowing it.

    The truth is that I have seen these folks at IDOT, IDNR, and other agencies. They have been hired by Republicans and Democrats. The one thing they seem to have in common is that it is not very clear what the heck they do for the agency they nominally work for.

    Maybe the GA could create a new “Dept of Political Appointees” and put them all in one place instead of burdening the various agencies with people they don’t need.


  9. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    Iit seems a little convenient that the former director has gotten pangs of a conscious since her termination. I also tend to believe that this is Quinn being inept more so than Quinn being corrupt.


  10. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    I can’t tell from the reporting, and would like to know, who created the positions. The whole chain of creation.

    Schneider says she had to fill “the open position” mostly with Quinn’s people. I don’t necessarily see a problem with that for Rutan-exempts, especially in that agency. But who opened the positions? They grew and then declined. Why? Where?

    Skimmed the report findings, which describes (p 183) an example of Hughes coming to Schneider and saying he needs 3 exempts for his district. Later says that’s because of stimulus.

    If these are being generated by area mgrs, classified as tech positions, not sure how Gov’s office is implicated in creation of positions? Unless they’re asking regional managers to ask for new positions?

    But I didn’t read to the end of the findings, much less the whole report, so if there’s more info in there that wasn’t reported and I don’t understand, please set me straight…


  11. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    Not saying the positions/description aren’t BS! Just wondering if and how the governor’s office is involved in **creating** BS positions, not just **filling** them.


  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    The scheme was hatched under RRB. Quinn issued an executive order stopping it, somewhere around the time that Shakman first filed suit in 2009. Outsiders figured the EO put an end to it. But it increased.


  13. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    A test:

    In relation to this issue, Quinn’s administration is:

    A) Incompetent
    B) A little shady
    C) Both


  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Isn’t the deal that a couple of IDOT staffers were making recommendations, keeping both Quinn and Schneider directly out of the loop?

    Quinn’s ultimately responsible for what goes on in his administration, but it seems to me Schneider knew what was going on, too, and didn’t beef until she was sized up for the jacket.


  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    ===Isn’t the deal that a couple of IDOT staffers were making recommendations===

    No, those staffers kept the RRB program alive, with perhaps some tweaks.


  16. - Bogart - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Rich - with all do respect - the “scheme was hatched” the day after the Rutan decision came down.
    The practice is not new, the level of hipocrasy is.


  17. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Flashback to Nixon and 1974

    What did Quinn know and when did he know it?


  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Quinn’s excuses are just as weak and incredible as Rauner’s for never knowing about wrongdoing in his companies.


  19. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Yawn
    Seems like Mitt is establish a pretty good path for the media to start demanding answers for bungles by the BizWiz during his glorious career.
    Or maybe he can explain his armed ballot security rentals or paperwork on the credit union rentals or how many clouted hires his new “shake’em up conservation advisers loaded onto the tax rolls or a shred of proof that he not buy his daughters seat at Peyton Prep.
    BTW Gen. Meza did not report all these hires failed to do a day’s work for a day’s pay.


  20. - Skeptic Cal - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    To Rich as to the statement
    “The scheme was hatched under RRB. Quinn issued an executive order stopping it,…”
    Every Governor since the 1990 settlement has signed paper Executive Orders requiring compliance with Rutan. None of them is without blame and shame. The EO is part of the scheme.
    Even Blago had people at CMS who were hired by the R’s keep the scheme open. It is a case of “Long Live the King” when new administrations arrive. Join them or die.
    Quinn promised to clean it up, but left all of the manipulators in their jobs.
    Michael Shakman has the only effective solution that seems to have almost stopped patronage in Chicago, but that took around 40 years of court oversight. Its that or prison that will be needed.


  21. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    a plea for help,(criminal confesion)some people just don`t know when they are jail cover(you did it)


  22. - Befuddled - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    Obviously, Honest Pat is lying.


  23. - Newsclown - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    If you’ve never worked in state agencies, you might not understand the degree to which the three magic words: “The Governor’s Office” make people from any strata of the state workforce jump into unquestioning action. Suddenly, whatever paperwork was holding up some desired result - vanishes. Resources magically materialize. Plans dismissed by experts as crazy, suddenly become brilliant. And unskilled relatives suddenly become irreplaceable assets.

    The only other such phrases that generate a similar amount of kicked-over-anthill-chaos in the state agency management offices are:

    “Rich Miller on Line 1″.

    “Bernie Schoenburg, on Line 2″

    “The Speaker’s Office Called”.


  24. - Working night and day.... - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    A standard Quinn administration practice has been to withhold final ePAR approval for legitimate agency hires until the that agency agrees to hire the “recommended” candidates for other positions. Agency directors that resist the “recommended” candidates are essentially starved into compliance.


  25. - Road dog - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    In my 30+ years at IDOT I observed political hack hiring by both Democrat and Republican governors. The difference I observed was Republican hacks stayed in the background and for the most part were invisible to the average worker. If they were hired for a real position they could actually perform the work. In 2003 with the election of Blago the hacks came in from everywhere and were put in position that had real duties and responsibilities. In some cases positions that required engineering degrees and a P.E. Licence were changed to a “manager” position with vague experience and education requirements. P.Q. Had better hope this blows over because if some entity really starts digging…well Blago might get a cell mate


  26. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Like most State agencies IDOT has lots of vacancies especially for technical jobs. Like most State agencies most of these vacancies are difficult to fill.

    Along comes these “staff assistant” positions which are easier to fill because the Governor’s Office approves filling them as opposed to sitting on them forever which is the usual case for technical jobs. So IDOT bureaus take them and eventually convert them, with varying levels of success, into technical jobs because the bureaus are understaffed.

    The key is that these are the only jobs the Governor’s Office approves. Of course the Governor’s Office is behind this scheme.


  27. - Big Muddy - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    Crains reporting that Sean O’Shea gone as DCOS. Gas on a fire?


  28. - Tex - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    Bogart has it right. This all started around the time the Rutan decision came down in 1990…. soon thereafter (1991 or so?).

    And the hypocrisy comes from Schneider… hiding behind her most recent title…. how about all the time she spent as Director of Finance and Administration from ‘05 - ‘10. If Matt Hughes can create these positions (as he stated in the report) in that position, I assume she could too. The Gov’s office didn’t ask Matt to hire himself some staff. There were plenty of staff hired between ‘05 and ‘10, and once she had the reigns of the agency, a ton more were given the nod (just as illustrated by Matt Hughes’ request/notice of intent to hire).


  29. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    @- Road dog - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    Yes, Yes, Yes, ditto ditto ditto. I spent 30 years at IDOT and you are exactly correct. BB (Before Blago)the hacks were actually competent and qualified if in real positions or as you point out just hacks and out of the way. Then AB (after Blago) the hacks took real positions but were not qualified and caused all kinds of havoc and in some cases created dangerous situations and the everyday career folks had to ender political threats from the hacks to put a stop to it. You always had to same the hacks from themselves and then they blamed you for the issue they always created. You were forced to uphold the integrity of your department that you cared deeply about while being scorn by the hacks who were in charge and new nothing. BB the hacks that knew nothing new they new nothing and did not hurt anything and the hacks that new something kind of did a decent job and knew to listen.


  30. - Sunshine - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    Quinn is starting to look more and more like Blagojevich. Rauner need to keep tying the two together. As I recall one of Blagojevich’s patronage guys went over to IDOT, for cover?


  31. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    Before Blago, state government was still state government with all of it’s issues but it was an essentially competent beast.


  32. - 100 miles west - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    The problem with the years after Ryan’s early retirement is that Blago made it impossible to hire people. The Republican patronage system post-Rutan worked because they hired lots of people. They created lots of positions. You need enough to run through the veterans on the list, then you need to hire some more, enough in fact that no one notices the hacks too much. IDOT sticks out because it has little GRF funding, its own personnel code, and locations statewide. With the reduction of state jobs, isn’t it like 25,000 since Ryan, and the PSAs going in the union there aren’t a lot of places to put the hacks. Rauner will lose his mind dealing with state hiring if he wins.


  33. - truthteller - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    Talk about hypocrisy. Gov’s office calls DOT and tells them who to hire. Rauner calls Arnie Duncan and tells him who to admit into Walter Payton.


  34. - Stooges - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    Road dog and “facts are a stubborn thing” have quite accurately summarized the last 11 years at IDOT under Blago and Quinn. They took what is basically a huge engineering firm, and filled it with cronies, hacks and scoundrels. In ten years there will be no talented engineers at IDOT, just happy Democrats.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    This stinks.

    Eat it, own it, move on from it…

    Thing is, this is a festering wound with no easy correct, when the “Boss” is too busy deflecting.


  36. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    It’s getting hard to keep track of this at this point. Has Pat Quinn now “Quintupled Down” on this dog?
    We’ve seen what happens when you reject a “recommendation” from the head table. Your head winds up on that table.
    Every day that this story doesn’t get smaller….it gets bigger.


  37. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 4:44 pm:

    Road Dog

    In my 30 years not at IDOT, hacks of all political persuasions have been front and center - CMS has been chock full of ‘em historically. Personal experience, the Governor most personally interested in patronage? Jim Edgar (particularly pre-heart issues).


  38. - Mister M - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    Road dog and “facts are a stubborn thing” and Stooges are on target. Does anyone really think this whole thing is limited to “Staff Assistant” positions? Really? Bring on the rest of it!


  39. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Are there “Rutan-exempt student” positions at Payton, now, truthteller? Or anywhere at CPS?

    Give me a BREAK.


  40. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 5:05 pm:

    Somebody should ask Illinois’ longest serving governor what he thinks of the matter.


  41. - Befuddled - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 6:29 pm:

    The squealing on here from the Quinnies is priceless.

    “Republicans did it, too!”
    “But Rauner called Arne!”
    “Mitt Rauner (insert indecipherable coded insult here)!”

    Does anybody still think Pat Quinn’s only redeeming quality is honesty?


  42. - Mason born - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 6:36 pm:

    Truthteller

    Are the students at payton responsible for;
    A: spending federal money
    B: spending precious state resources
    C: ensuring the roads and bridges are safe

    Maybe just maybe we should insist the members of the Gov’s Friends and Family plan are actually qualified to do the friggin job. You know hired on their merits.


  43. - flea - Tuesday, Aug 26, 14 @ 8:11 pm:

    This MO was not the brainchild of RRB. He wasn’t smart enough to finesse it and Quinn is/was worse at it. The same “scheme” has been around for administrations as long ago as Thompson….who was a lot better at it!


  44. - Doi Chef - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:44 am:

    The Gov’s office has had their hand on hiring for as long as I can remember. All agencies that are under the authority of the Gov, are just that! Administrations have always flirted around the Rutan ruling and have gotten creative. The people hired were not a coincidence. They were a Quinncidence!


  45. - Doi Chef - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:47 am:

    * crazybleedingheart — IDOT can do anything about hiring without the tentacles of CMS. CMS makes no move without the Governor’s office. The end.


  46. - Doi Chef - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:48 am:

    Darn fat fingers. IDOT can NOT do anything without CMS….


  47. - Tex - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 8:44 am:

    Doi Chef, you are incorrect. IDOT has a separate Technical Personal Code that is separate from the CMS personnel code. CMS does nothing with their Technical Code hiring. Please read the OEIG report for more details on how this works.


  48. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 8:59 am:

    flea -
    Thompson wasn’t “better” at it. Rather, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush gave him veto power, if not absolute naming authority, over the US Attorneys in Illinois. You really think Thompson would have done all those things if the US Attorneys had been Patrick Fitzgerald, Jim Lewis, and Stephen Wigginton?


  49. - idot guy - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 9:24 am:

    Rutan is a joke anyways. It goes “straight off the interview” without looking at job experience, skills, etc. What happens if they want a certain person for a job? They just say that that person “Interviewed” better and therefore got it.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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