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A big IDOT roundup

Friday, Aug 29, 2014

* AP

Last week, an Office of the Executive Inspector General review concluded more than 250 IDOT “staff assistants” got jobs in the past decade based on clout, when the positions should have been publicly available to any candidate and filled based on qualifications. Quinn’s administration announced last week it was laying off 58 people who still held those jobs.

But they didn’t get rid of others who have moved into other positions still on the state payroll.

Those include two former employees of ex-U.S. Rep. Philip Hare, a Democrat. The workers were hired by IDOT as staff assistants in 2010. Rather than follow typical state hiring procedures, IDOT gave them jobs using an exemption that is supposed to be used only when the job involves policymaking or confidential information. Their jobs involved planting trees and implementing training classes, the review found.

Quinn said his administration “acted promptly” to address problems at the department, including putting in a new transportation secretary who is conducting a full analysis of all positions. He wouldn’t answer a question about why some of the improper hires still have state jobs.

* The easiest explanation for why those folks weren’t laid off with the others is that they’ve been successfully burrowed into the bureaucracy, like these folks might have been

The Illinois Department of Transportation hired four former staffers of ex-U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., after he lost his re-election bid in 2010, according to an inspector general’s report released late last week that said the state DOT improperly hired more than 250 people over the past decade.

The inspector general’s report focused mostly on the hiring of “staff assistants” to get around hiring rules.

Hare represented the Quad-Cities after being elected in 2006 and again in 2008. But after Hare lost in 2010, three of his former staffers were hired on at the DOT as staff assistants, while a fourth was brought on as an assistant to the regional engineer in District 2 of the Division of Highways, according to the report by Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza.

The report doesn’t identify the employees by name, but it says one worked for Hare as a regional field organizer and two others as district schedulers.

A fourth person is referenced, too, though it doesn’t list the person’s position with Hare.

According to that story, nobody knows nothing about nothing and nobody. It’s just a series of coinkidinks. Nobody made a call, nobody reached out, nobody did anything to help out Hare’s people.

Yep.

Right.

* OK, remember this guy from yesterday?

Employee 140’s Duties Included Producing Spreadsheets And Planting Trees. “Employee 16 told the OEIG that as a Staff Assistant, Employee 140’s duties included producing spreadsheets and other computer-generated documents and assisting in the Services Development area. In that capacity, Employee 140 planted trees and performed other preventative maintenance tasks.” (“In re: Ann Schneider, Gary Hannig, Matthew Hughes and Michael Woods, Jr – OEIG Final Report, Office Of The Executive Inspector General, 8/22/14, p. 75)

IDOT Employee Andrew Waeyaert Was Employed By Phil Hare Until March 12, 2010, And Was The Only Hare Employee To Leave In March Of 2010. (Statement Of Disbursements Of The House – January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010, U.S. House Of Representatives, p. 1266)

Waeyaert Does Not Appear On The List Of Illegal Hires Being Fired By IDOT As A Result Of The Inspector General Report. (IDOT Layoffs List, State Journal-Register, 8/27/14)
Andrew Waeyaert Is Still Listed As Being Employed By IDOT. (Employee Salary Database, Illinois Comptroller, Accessed 8/28/14)

* The Rauner campaign dug up this photo from a 2010 Illinois Statehouse News story

The newspaper’s caption

Standing in the back of the room Andy Waeyaert makes sure that Illinois Gov. Pat Quin can see his show of support for the Democratic incumbent during Gov. Quinn’s campaign stop at the Quad City International Airport in Moline on Monday afternoon, November 1. Mr. Waeyaert also held a sign supporting U.S. Rep. Phil Hare who is in a tight race a day before voters head to the polls.

* Meanwhile, is an unfortunate turn of events

Sean O’Shea, the deputy chief of staff to Gov. Pat Quinn who resigned just as his boss came under fire for patronage hiring, is going to be unemployed awhile longer.

Mr. O’Shea was going to become chief of staff to venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker but walked away from the job after his departure was reported earlier this week by Greg Hinz and became fodder for Bruce Rauner’s campaign. […]

Mr. O’Shea withdrew from the job with Pritzker Group earlier this week when it became clear he was going to be part of the campaign narrative.

“I met Sean a few months ago through our search process and was impressed that he was universally praised by every reference I spoke with as a man of high integrity with exceptional professional accomplishments,” Mr. Pritzker said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the kind of political blood-sport that smears a guy like Sean O’Shea is exactly what drives good people away from public service. I wish Sean nothing but the greatest success.”

I get why JB might not want to have been dragged into this mess, and I get that O’Shea is in an unflattering spotlight right now, but his life is really going to suck from here on out and, personally, I don’t wish it on anybody.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


43 Comments
  1. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    Well!
    Now we know why Andy is claiming that Pat Quinn is THE JOBS GOVERNOR!


  2. - Empty Chair - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Sean O’Shea is a great guy. It’s an incredible shame that he has been the victim in all this.


  3. - DuPage - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    I thought they might be using all those assistants to do other jobs, and they were.
    I see a problem with firing people who are doing their jobs because of some problem with the people who hired them. Unless money changed hands, or the employees are not doing their jobs, they should be treated the same as other state employees. Layoffs should follow “last in first out”.


  4. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    == But they didn’t get rid of others who have moved into other positions still on the state payroll. ==

    Ridiculous.

    == Sean O’Shea ==

    Very disappointing. The guy gives his everything to the job for years, builds a very good reputation and then has it smeared at the end because of other people’s bad behavior.


  5. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    It may not appear at first glance, but this is a photo of Mr. Waeyaert planting a tree at the Quad Cities Airport. As you can see in the photo, he is getting ready to spread some manure.


  6. - phocion - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    Hate to hear about someone having a hard time finding a job, but do we really know that O’Shea had nothing to do with what went on at IDOT? Those who know him would note his obsession with knowing everything that went on at IDOT and how he micro-managed that agency.


  7. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    If Mr. O’Shea is as competent and personally upright as the many recommendations we are reading, he needn’t hang around Illinois and deal with the muck. Successful people usually don’t stay mired in a job or a location that is detrimental to their well being, unless it’s for a good cause.


  8. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    I still think it’s despicable that these people are now being dragged through the mud so that somebody can score political points.

    ==Successful people usually don’t stay mired in a job or a location that is detrimental to their well being, unless it’s for a good cause.==

    I’m not sure how to take that. Are you saying anybody working for the state isn’t a successful person?


  9. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    ==Sean O’Shea is a great guy. It’s an incredible shame that he has been the victim in all this.==

    I want to understand what you are saying. “Victims” are generally considered to be innocent bystanders in events or circumstances mostly beyond their control. Are you saying that Sean bears no responsibility or had no involvement in anything as Quinn’s chief of staff?


  10. - Anonymoiis - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    ==I still think it’s despicable that these people are now being dragged through the mud so that somebody can score political points.==

    If you get a State job in a manner that isn’t quite ethical, that’s the risk you run


  11. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    ==If you get a State job in a manner that isn’t quite ethical,==

    Except they didn’t create the positions. They didn’t do anything unethical. I’m not defending the process of classifying the jobs. That’s already been established as being wrong. I’m defending these people against the backlash against them personally. Again, they didn’t do anything wrong.


  12. - anon - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Oshea is a lawyer–as such he should have known the law, even more so than Schneider or Hannig–his lack of compliance oversight cost him his own job.


  13. - Mason born - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Du Page

    Please square this for me.

    –Unless money changed hands, or the employees are not doing their jobs, they should be treated the same as other state employees. Layoffs should follow “last in first out”.–

    –Last week, an Office of the Executive Inspector General review concluded more than 250 IDOT “staff assistants” got jobs in the past decade based on clout, when the positions should have been publicly available to any candidate and filled based on qualifications–

    So these people used clout to get their jobs over us common non political IL citzens. Are you telling me not one of them realized they were cheating decent citizens out of decent jobs? I’m sorry but all 250 need shown the doorif they want back into service let them apply with the little folks like they should have the first time without any preference for prior service. Then fix the system so that Rutan exempt personnel cannot bid on Rutan covered jobs. If you get a Rutan exempt job then you should be an at will employee.
    Please square this for me.


  14. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    @Mason:

    So these people aren’t decent? You say this why? By definition exempt positions can go to anybody. That’s the way it works. We all know that the classification is now being questioned but at the time of their hire they were hired under the rules for exempt positions.

    And stop being so holier than thou about recommendations for positions. There isn’t a place in the world where people don’t get jobs because of a recommendation. With the exception of an internship I had I have had a recommendation for every single job I have gotten. People know you, they vouch for you and you get a one-up on everybody else. That’s the way the world works.


  15. - phocion - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Quiz for Oswego Willy:
    Which is worse?
    A. Doing everything you can to get your daughter into a highly rated school?
    B. Doing the bidding of political hacks from across Illinois by ignoring unconnected state job applicants to clout hundreds of people into questionably useful jobs at taxpayer expense?


  16. - Commander Norton - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    Whatever else one may say about the situation, Mr. Pritzker is a coward. Either O’Shea was involved in the whole mess and is no longer the kind of person he wants to hire, or he should back him to the hilt. Don’t put out a statement saying he’s a good guy and he’s been smeared and you wish him well - all while making it clear you aren’t willing to take the risk of employing him yourself.


  17. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    ==Mr. O’Shea withdrew from the job with Pritzker Group earlier this week when it became clear he was going to be part of the campaign narrative.–

    Sure he did.

    I don’t get it. What’s Pritzker worried about? He’s not going to get any heat. And what if he did? He’s not a public figure. The Pritzker have run with much more, let’s say “interesting,” characters over the years.

    Hmmmm. Sen. Kirk, what do you think?


  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    ===Quiz for Oswego Willy:
    Which is worse?
    A. Doing everything you can to get your daughter into a highly rated school?
    B. Doing the bidding of political hacks from across Illinois by ignoring unconnected state job applicants to clout hundreds of people into questionably useful jobs at taxpayer expense?====

    A.

    There is a Chicago child, worthy of a spot, that was denied an opportunity that a Winnetka-living daughter who called Arbe Duncan, because her score wasn’t perfect.

    Why?

    The denied child is losing an opportunity that could change their life forever (college choice, opportunities, awards)

    The jobs and the patronage aspect goes back to the Romans for crying out loud. It took a court cases to try to curtail the practice. It’s wrong, there is little doubt, and damaging to Quinn, as it lays out there.

    Rauner, personally, denied a future for a child. Rauner did it with a phone call, a not so perfect score, and questionable residency, for family gain.


  19. - Mason born - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Demo

    No I don’t know these folks however they did use their political clout or the clout of their sponsors to take jobs away from non clouted citzens.

    The diference to me is this is the state government. Jobs should be available to all citizens equally. Yes there is a place for a gov picking an ideologically similar individual for some positions. However allowing those individuals to move into covered positions ahead of regular applicants is wrong. It basically allows a poll to stuff a state agency with his buddies who then receive all the protection that a non exempt employee gets.

    These folks knew what they were doing. This isn’t I got the job because my old boss gave me a good recomendation this is the gov’s office telling idot to hire someone. I’ve never had my old boss order my new boss to hire me. This is far fom a recomendation.


  20. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    I’m relatively indifferent to patronage. But I don’t make the rules.

    I’ve never known anyone with a patronage job who didn’t know that they got to the front of the line through clout or who their clout was.

    If you got something of value through someone else’s illegal action, you’re not entitled to it. That’s the standard in law, is it not?


  21. - Skeptic - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    “they’ve been successfully burrowed into the bureaucracy” How many Republican former-Legislative Liasions are on the payroll? And how many of them stopped liasing right about, oh, you know about 1 month before a D governor was elected? Yup, just a coincidence.

    “If you get a State job in a manner that isn’t quite ethical” They didn’t do anything more than Sanguinetti has already done (i.e., phone-a-friend.) She should be banned from the State payroll too?


  22. - phocion - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    OW, you still don’t fail to disappoint. And your Rauner-deranged answer to my quiz, sir, is why most don’t take you seriously in any of your Rauner attacks.


  23. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    ==However allowing those individuals to move into covered positions==

    That part I agree with. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the other part. Have a nice Labor Day weekend.


  24. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    Oops, forgot to take your whole quote. I agree that moving them into covered positions was wrong.


  25. - Mason born - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    Demo

    I think it is more who to blame we disagree on I vlame the whole lot. I hope you and yours enjoy your labor day as well.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    - phocion -,

    Why ask me then?

    Further, if my answer never fails to disappoint, why say that? It didn’t fail.

    Kinda strange to ask a question of someone that you don’t take seriously isn’t it,

    This is a community, you want to debate, discuss, cool.

    Your response shows no attempt at that, when it was you asking me my thoughts…and me answering.

    Lesson learned on my part.


  27. - Sir Reel - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    As a retired State supervisor, my insights are: clout isn’t a professional recommendation. Agencies have little say in the matter. For their immediate supervisors, they just show up one day.

    These employees used their political connections to get the jobs. As has been said, live by the sword die by the sword.


  28. - Gone, but not forgotten - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    Oswego Willy: How absolutely horrible that Rauner took an opportunity away from one child. These clouted employees took an opportunity away from many parents of children in being able to support the children with a paying job rather than entitlement programs. But then, Democrats are always just trying to help the children.


  29. - Madame Defarge - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    I was once told that if you are going to work at high levels in Illinois government, it is like working in a hog feed lot, you are going to get some s–t on your shoes just be damn careful you don’t fall in it.
    Time will tell which category many of these folks will be in.


  30. - Anon - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    == According to that story, nobody knows nothing about nothing and nobody. It’s just a series of coinkidinks. ==

    That sounds like the Daley administration every time it got caught violating the federal court order banning patronage.


  31. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    So Bruce Rauner’s bad mouthing has caused a job loss in Illinois.


  32. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    Word and Commander Norton, I think you guys are being incredibly unfair to Pritzkger. Why should he get dragged into the heat of a political campaign by hiring a guy for an important job. As to him not being a public figure, I don’t think you’ve been paying attention. Of course he’s a public figure and Rauner and outside groups would have made him a much bigger public figure by hiring Oshea. Oshea seems like a class act if he realized that and pulled out.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===Oswego Willy: How absolutely horrible that Rauner took an opportunity away from one child. These clouted employees took an opportunity away from many parents of children in being able to support the children with a paying job rather than entitlement programs. But then, Democrats are always just trying to help the children.===

    Let’s be clear on a few counts.

    Patronage goes back to … forever.

    Employment: those jobs, while important to families, do not compare to the. #1 school in the state, for a student unqualified possibly by testing and residence.

    If jobs were a must, then interviews wouldn’t matter at any type of rate. You may be able to get a job somewhere else, maybe not, but there is only #1 school, and at 14 years old, a child had a door slammed on them.

    Rauner also used Democrats Arne Duncan and Rich Daley to clout his denied Winnetka-living daughter.

    Rauner also personally, his family, benefitted.


  34. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    – Of course he’s a public figure and Rauner and outside groups would have made him a much bigger public figure –

    Oh, I don’t think so, lol.

    Public figure was the wrong phrase. Public official. Mea culpa.

    Still, what can anyone to do a Pritzker in the private sector?


  35. - Phenomynous - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Are people really comparing at least 250 clouted state jobs that could have went to regular citizens and are worth close to millions in state funds to one kid being clouted into a school?

    Get back to reality guys. Both are wrong, but they are in way different leagues.


  36. - DuPage - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    Mason born@1:01=Then fix the system so that Rutan exempt personnel cannot bid on Rutan covered jobs.=

    If they revise the hiring practices for the future, it can not be retroactive.

    =…one of them realized….all 250 need shown the door.=

    An extreme overreaction. Similar to “somebody smoked inside the building BEFORE we had a rule against it. Therefore all smokers are fired!”

    There are reasons existing employees are considered for other openings. There is a first hand indication of, do they get there and work everyday, or do they miss a lot of days?
    When at work, do they do their best to produce good quality work, and put in 8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay?

    People hired off the street sometimes have glowing reports from a previous employer, which was sent hoping the state will hire them and take the problem employee off their hands. The state then has a problem employee on their hands.


  37. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    Word, nobody wants bad press…especially when they didn’t do anything to deserve it.


  38. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    @Demoralized 12:43pm:

    No, that wasn’t it at all. I am saying that, since Mr. O’Shea made a decision to leave state employment, and his first choice private sector job wasn’t going to work out for him (whether on his or Mr. Pritzker’s account, we’ll never know the inside story), he needn’t limit himself if he is as talented and upright as advertised. Maybe the best thing to do is get a fresh start somewhere else, but the choice is his.


  39. - anonagain - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    I say we go back to 1990 and get rid of all of the clouted folks hiding in jobs. This just didnt start under P Quinn there was staff assistant positions exempt already in place when blago took office.


  40. - Lincoln Lad - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    Good luck Sean… You are both capable, and a class act. You’ll be missed.


  41. - A guy... - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    Give it 60 days and let’s come back to Sean. Hopefully things are settled down and he’s back on the horse with the Pritzkers. I don’t know why they’re shivering anyway.


  42. - Anonymoiis - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    The “but…but…the other guys did it to” crowd is missing the big point: Quinn came in following a wave of corruption, ran on a promise and image that he would be the one to stop it…and all he appeared to do is ramp it up.


  43. - circular firing squad - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    After the crap he pulled on Schneidet his life sgould suck for awhile


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Buehrle's former teammates thrilled about honor
* Abreu slugs first Sox homer; Giolito debuts
* Giolito: 'A lot to work on' after White Sox debut


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