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*** UPDATED x1 *** Your daily “right to work” roundup

Monday, Apr 27, 2015

*** UPDATE *** Oops. I forgot about this one

Macon County Chairman Kevin Greenfield said there are no plans to discuss or vote on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” resolution.

“The community is upbeat and things have been going well enough that there’s been a lot of positive attitude going around,” said Greenfield, R-Decatur. “The last thing I want to do is bring about a resolution that could divide the county up and really rile up people.” […]

The decision by Macon County officials comes despite Republicans holding an 11-10 advantage on the county board. In addition, Rauner proved popular in the area in the gubernatorial election, receiving 61.24 percent of the 33,773 votes recorded in Macon County.

However, the county board has rarely acted in an overtly partisan manner in recent history, with members of both parties coming together to pass budgets and handle other, seemingly heated issues.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Nothing yet from the governor’s office, but here’s the IFT’s aggregated roundup (mostly from the IL AFL-CIO) of upcoming Rauner resolution votes

* Jefferson County
Monday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m.
100 S. 10th St., Mt. Vernon

* Lexington (McLean County)
Monday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.
329 W. Main St., Lexington

* City of Chicago Committee on Workforce Development and Audit
Tuesday, April 28 at 11:00 a.m.
City Council Chambers

* Village of Mahomet (Champaign County)
Tuesday, April 28 at 6:00 p.m.
503 E. Main Street, Mahomet

* Kane County Board
Tuesday, April 28 at 4:00 p.m.
719 S. Batavia Ave, Geneva

* Cook County Board
Wednesday, April 29

Chicago and Cook are taking up anti-Rauner resolutions. Kane is expected to take a pass on the whole thing.

* Chuck Sweeny looks around northern Illinois

Stephenson County Chairman Bill Hadley, also a Republican, said Friday he’d just received the governor’s resolution, which he’s going to send to the board’s Finance Committee and then to the full board for a vote in May.

“There’s some things in there I like, but I have the same concerns that the Winnebago County Board had. They took all the anti-union stuff out,” Hadley said.

Boone County Board Chairman Bob Walberg said he got the Rauner resolution too late to put it on last month’s agenda.

“We’re going to send it to a committee, and bring it out of committee and decide whether to endorse it or not. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” said Walberg, a Republican who believes the governor is trying seriously to get the state back on the road to fiscal solvency.

* Meanwhile, Finke calls out the governor on some anti-union rhetoric

“I went into one department. I looked around, and there’s a lot of people and papers moving around. There’s a lot of papers on the walls in the back room,” Rauner said. “I said, ‘You know, somebody told me computers got invented a couple of years ago. This looks like we could digitize this and maybe make it more productive and more efficient.’”

But, as Rauner related it, the employees said that wasn’t possible. Why? Because — wait for it now — the unions won’t allow it. Specifically, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. […]

“And people knew the numbers,” Rauner said. “Very quickly somebody got back to me and said, ‘Governor, we could spend approximately $1.7 million on a computer system. We could save $8 million a year.’ ”

The rub, though, is that making the change would cost 120 jobs, and therefore the union won’t agree to the change. According to Rauner.

But the Rauner administration wouldn’t tell Finke which agency Rauner was referring to. AFSCME is skeptical, to say the least

“This sounds like pure fiction,” spokesman Anders Lindall said. “There is no work rule preventing digitization. Gov. Rauner is making claims without bothering to talk to the union or find out the facts.”

* I’m told negotiations are now under way on this bill

Illinois Republicans have unveiled legislation backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner they say will clean up state hiring rules that allow a governor to hand out jobs to loyal lieutenants instead of hiring strictly on merit. […]

But majority Democrats in the General Assembly are wary. The bulk of McConnaughay’s measure is devoted to limits placed on collective bargaining units, going so far as to remove some employees from labor unions and empowering the government to transfer or dismiss those found to have been improperly hired at IDOT. They warn that the bill could lead to more politics in state hiring.

It also includes a “hiring reform” section which directs agencies under the governor to correct faulty job descriptions, revise procedures for determining exempt positions and seek to decertify union coverage where appropriate. […]

The proposal “would result in stripping thousands of public employees of their right to be represented by a union,” AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall said, “with the perverse result, given the bill’s supposed purpose, of giving agencies even greater leeway to circumvent the merit system.” It would do “nothing to prevent future political hiring scandals,” he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:26 am:

    “Hi ck-

    You can always tell us where it’s being tables and defeated too, unless you guys are in denial of that.


    To the Post,

    If you’re going to make up a “baloney” story, at least make it realistic as to what agency, what action, what jobs, and, … for the Owl Sandack… “Who” said it.

    This comes from the same guy who says he called no one to get his denied Winnetka-living Daughter into Payton Prep, with the “perfect” test score, that was never released.

    Rauner loves him a good story.

  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:28 am:

    - But, as Rauner related it, the employees said that wasn’t possible. Why? Because — wait for it now — the unions won’t allow it. -

    You hear a lot of anecdotes like this from employees in state government, and in heavily regulated private companies.

    There’s always something more to it, usually laws, and most effective leaders are smart enough to get to the real answer before shooting their mouth off.

    Just another example of how Mr. Succesful “Bidnessman” is as gullible as the average birther.

  3. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:29 am:

    “But, as Rauner related it, the employees said that wasn’t possible. Why? Because — wait for it now — the unions won’t allow it. Specifically, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. […]”

    Workers have to work with antiquated computer programs and sometimes don’t have enough office equipment to do the job more efficiently. Workers often complain that the state does not provide modern technology to the workplace. This has zero to do with AFSCME or workers. Workers welcome technological advancement.

  4. - Wordslinger - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:37 am:

    Unions could prevent the state from buying computers? Or from laying off people? Such power. Who knew?

    The governor needs to blow the lid off this — facts, full transparency — to let citizens know what’s going on.

    Maybe he can get to that after he takes photos of all those buses bringing in the hundreds of outside agitators to towns where his anti-union agenda is being considered.

    Tne guy sees and hears so much that others don’t. He has a duty to share.

  5. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:44 am:

    DHS has been trying for years to move to a paperless system for records, but as others have pointed out, the State’s current IT systems makes the task almost impossible.

    Unless the Gov and the GA decide to dump a couple of hundred million into a total system upgrade it won’t work. And by the time any bid works the way through the procurement process, the system will probably out-of-date the day it comes on line.

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:45 am:

    Look, the made-up-fact stuff worked for Reagan. Why should the Governor stop now? It’s not like there’s independent major media in illinois that can change his narrative.

    This may turn out to be a case study of political p. r. In the new media age.

  7. - Pants On Fire - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:49 am:

    If you can’t back your talk with some walk, there’s an issue. This governorship is taking on shades of an imperial presidency. No talking with pesky reporters by the head guy. Every public appearance carefully controlled and orchestrated. Gobs of money rolling in to steamroller the opposition. And an inner circle with a payroll the size of a small nation’s GDP, complete with a chief of staff for a first lady who doesn’t have a staff.

  8. - RetiredStateEmployee - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:49 am:

    In my experience, there is a shred of true to this. The State of Illinois in many instances has not kept up with technology. But you would expect a “Savvy Business Man” to see the true reason and the solution. For many years now the IT budgets of the agencies has been reduced to the point where many agencies don’t have enough staff for support, let alone develop new technologies. Headcount is down and training is almost non-existent. To top it off, he denigrates state employees, claims government jobs aren’t real jobs and wants to reduce salaries and benefits. Would that be the way to entice talented people to work for you to solve some of these issues? Do you really think this guy is here to solve the problems of Illinois government or just make the rich richer?

  9. - A Jack - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:55 am:

    Generally the lack of computerization ties back to antiquated department rules that require paper forms for whatever reason.

    The union doesn’t get involved at that level. Change is expected which is why the union bargains to protect employees with seniority rights.

  10. - HangingOn - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:56 am:

    Even back when I was a temp the workers in our office were trying to get Springfield to digitize our files. The response every year was it would cost too much money. Then when they finally told it we had to do it (like we hadn’t been wanting to all along) all that happened was they took a bunch of our files. 4 years later and they still aren’t digitized and we don’t have the access we need to documents because there aren’t enough clerical to go through and send us what we need back.

  11. - Skeptic - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:01 am:

    Why is the Jefferson County meeting in Charleston? Charleston is the seat of Coles county.

  12. - Juvenal - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:01 am:

    It is nearly always agency administrative rules, not union contract work rules, that stymy efforts to reduce paperwork.

    The administrative rules are the result of legislation that insists on an an auditable paper trail for everything, and lots of reporting/transparency.

  13. - Truthteller - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:11 am:

    The reason for the lack of technology is the lack of revenue. This is a problem that could be addressed by raising taxes which Rauner opposes. It’s Rauner and people who want to limit state revenue who are responsible.
    Perhaps he doesn’t take questions because he wants to limit the number of untruths he speaks, and he reaches his daily max in the speeches themselves

  14. - Pelonski - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    There is nothing in the AFSCME contract which prevents technology improvements, and I expect the same is the case for the other state union contracts. He may have found 1 employee who was ignorant about the actual situation, but a quick follow up with anyone with an understanding of how the agencies work would have been able to set the record straight.

    If he really wants to make the state more efficient, he should work with the unions to solve problems and not against them. He should also actually do an analysis of how the government operates with the intent of finding ways to make improvements. Unfortunately, he lives in a fantasy world where all the State’s problems are created by unions. I think he actually believes eliminating unions will solve every problem.

  15. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    I am not sure who is advising rauner. But equity rules on hiring allow tou to fire people who improperly obtained a job. It is someimes referred to loosely as having unclean hands. No need to wait for this bill.

  16. - State employee - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:21 am:

    Maybe the Gov should talk with Jesse White. The SOS Index Office requires all rule filings to be both hard copy and digital copy, saved on a disc or data stick. JCAR requires hard copy rules filings too. This is an AFSCME thing? What a bunch of horse hockey.

  17. - Judgment Day (on the road) - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:24 am:

    “Generally the lack of computerization ties back to antiquated department rules that require paper forms for whatever reason.

    The union doesn’t get involved at that level. Change is expected which is why the union bargains to protect employees with seniority rights.”

    Was told at one point that official state forms used for reporting by local governments back to the State agencies (this was IL DOR) had to go through a review process before the forms and accompanying instructions/regulations could be issued, which meant the process took a number of months. Seriously, a while.

    And until the forms/regs are approved and released, it’s not possible to code it. Or if you do, be ready to change it. Developers hate that. So everybody complains.

    So, these days, there’s a ‘workaround’ that gets used. Just create a quick (and relatively easy) web portal for all the locals to login, and keyin their information. Print up a copy of your data entry and you are good to go.

    But there’s a drawback (there’s always a “but…”) - when they create the web portal, they have to match the data fields up to the existing database - no new ones, because in most cases, that means mods to the existing database structure. And with most systems at the state level, that’s a really big “No No”.

    And then the data entry still has to be updated into the database. Sometimes it’s relatively painless, sometimes not.

    What it comes down to is “Do it the way it’s always been done, only do it a little better”. Well maybe.

    As far as the unions go, at least in my experience, most of the time, they are a non-factor. I have seen both positive and negative from the union. Really depends upon the environment.

    If they see that you are trying to make their lives easier and there’s a stable work environment, they’re usually pretty good at working with you.

    If it’s a major CYA working environment or a lot of political types, don’t expect much.

  18. - walker - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    —”That sounds like pure fiction.”—

    It certainly does. Not to say someone equally misinformed didn’t say that to Rauner.

    A lot of that going around.

  19. - MrJM - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    “But the Rauner administration wouldn’t tell Finke which agency Rauner was referring to.”

    Gee — nobody at the country club ever questioned Bruce’s stories…

    – MrJM

  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    To the Update,

    ===However, the county board has rarely acted in an overtly partisan manner in recent history, with members of both parties coming together to pass budgets and handle other, seemingly heated issues.===

    Rauner wouldn’t like that.

    Leverage gets things done.

  21. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:44 am:

    Judgement day it is not hard at all to add fields or tables to a database.

    You just run into the issue of having older data that is incomplete. But that is not a big deal either. Now some of the mainframes need converted over to something more frindly like say db2. But all doable. Just need people who ate not antichange in management :)

  22. - Skeptic - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    “You just run into the issue of having older data that is incomplete. But that is not a big deal either.” Spoken like someone who hasn’t actually done a database and application migration.

  23. - Not quite a majority - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    There are several places in agency rules that require signatures. To date, Illinois does not have a state electronic signature code. So either take all those signature references out, or get a code to do them electronically. Sounds like a BVR problem to me — maybe that could be in his Turnaround Agenda. Oh wait, it doesn’t bust a union? Ah shucks, maybe next term.

  24. - Mister M - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:57 am:

    For those interested in the proposed legislation, it is Amendment 001 to SB 0981.

  25. - Skeptic - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    “To date, Illinois does not have a state electronic signature code.” Yes we do, George Ryan signed one into law in the 90’s.

  26. - Juice - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:23 am:

    The overarching problem is that IT is expensive, and the GA has not been enthusiastic about making resources available specifically, and the executive has not done a good enough job of cobbling resources together that they do have. The reality is with the dramatic drop in headcount, there is more than enough work to go around even once IT systems get updated, so I doubt you would be able to implement too many layoffs beyond normal attrition. But employees would become more efficient, and it would be a tremendous help.

  27. - Johnnie F. - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    HAhaha….yeah paperwork is dictated by union rules. Management, through its HR and procurment processes, dictates all these paperwork rules. In our department, you are not allowed to even scan (if you have access to a scanner) and forward paperwork via email, you MUST send hardcopies via interoffice mail. Management doesn’t want the electronic verification that they received important paperwork…they’ld rather have the option to claim it was never received or somehow lost. Our department had an electronic database for ordering supplies that worked very well, and contained multiple levels of electronic supervisory approvals. CMS took it away several years ago and forced us to go to a paper-based system. Effeciency plumetted. IT solution that do get purchased come with little employee training and are self taught. Contracts for technology support and maintenance get bogged down in the fiscal approval process….on and on and on. However, facts aside, let try to blame it on unions, and state workers.

  28. - Langhorne - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    Pure fiction. Yep.

    If it was true, and the numbers were legit, you would blow it sky high. It would have tremendous impact and ripple effect. Instead, they tell us with a straight face that the monster ate the cookies.

  29. - walker - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:43 am:

    Note: The biggest source of friction between locals and Rauner will be the reduction in distributed funds. That will overshadow this “turnaround resolution” thing dramatically.

    My locals seem to think that Rauner will back down on reducing distributed tax funds. If they’re right that would make the budget even harder to achieve without new taxes.

    If some locals think that agreeing with Rauner on wages and unions will help them get more distributed funds, they will be sadly disappointed.

  30. - Judgment Day (on the road) - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:50 am:

    “Judgement day it is not hard at all to add fields or tables to a database.”
    To echo another commenter, have you ever performed at Db migration? You’ll learn.

    Remember, a lot of the software backend stuff the state is using is really outdated.

    The reason adding and/or making mods to existing Db data fields is a big “No No” is all the other stuff that goes with making those changes. And documenting all the adds/changes.

    And then doing a roll out on the changes. And that’s with no full scale Db migration.

    There’s reasons most software developers tend to shy away from doing lots of modifications to software backends (databases). Not easy, particularly if there’s data conversion issues. And if the databases aren’t clean, ugh.

  31. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:21 am:


    Resolution Update: Laughable effort on the part of the Gov.

    Fictitious agency story: Oops, I guess I gave my feelings away with the heading. If this was real, even his sub-par superstaffers would realize a documented example would be good for their message. No documentation means no real story.

    Hiring reform: Since I don’t trust Rauner, I’m dubious of this legislation. Perhaps a negotiated bill will bring us REAL reform.

  32. - BlameBruceRauner - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    I don’t believe this story, maybe a hint of truth. They haven’t digitized stuff because they don’t have the technology to do it efficiently, and there is not enough staff to do it. By not telling which agency only fuels the myth.

  33. - BlameBruceRauner - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    I will admit…The State wastes precious capitol every year in every agency buying stupid stuff. Have you every been to the State Surplus Warhouse on 10 and half? I have been going to auctions for over 10 years. I’ve have seen TONS of perfectly good stuff there just because some agency had to spend what was left in their budget or they would see a reduction next year. DUMB. We should reward the agencies whom come under budget. It may allow for proper technology to be upgraded more regularly.

  34. - Skeptic - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    “had to spend what was left in their budget” It’s true (and dumb) (and yes, I’ve been involved in doing just that) but hardly unique to the State (any large organization will likely have the same thing) and certainly not a Union issue.

  35. - Liberty - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    -Rauner the smart guy
    -unions the demon
    -Rauner the hero

    The big thing is he spun this fiction in front of a group who would know better.

  36. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:32 pm:

    Since Brucie doesn’t read any news sources, all he knows is what someone tells him…the return of truthiness.

  37. - Anon. - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:36 pm:

    Wordslinger at 8:37 ==Tne guy sees and hears so much that others don’t. He has a duty to share.==

    “Certainly he can present a bill for such services; after all… we are not Communists.”

  38. - Sick of it - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:36 pm:

    The state is doing some tech upgrades these days. I am supposed to get a Windows 7 machine to replace the XP one I currently use for my IT job! DHS base Deloitte creating its new system which is costing hundreds of millions and HFS is working to outsource most of its processing to Michigan and a private sector PBMS.

  39. - Mama - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:46 pm:

    ++- Mister M - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:57 am:

    For those interested in the proposed legislation, it is Amendment 001 to SB 0981. ++
    This is an eye opener. Thanks for then link Mister M.

  40. - Mama - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:53 pm:

    ++ Perhaps a negotiated bill will bring us REAL reform. ++ Since when has Rauner cared about “real reform” for IL? He only cares about bringing down the unions - he could care less about good reforms. He is only interested in what he wants.

  41. - Downstate labor - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    Want to invite everyone to the Jefferson county board meeting tonight at 7pm, should be a pretty good time. Bring your signs and voices. Rauners puppet Bob white has said he does not care what the people won’t he is going to pass the agenda. Even though Mt. Vernon is set to lose close to 800,000 dollars in tax revenue.

  42. - Emily Booth - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 5:01 pm:

    At my agency, the computer upgrades were killed by the GA. They usually don’t want to spend the $$. But, it depends on your agency.

  43. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 7:01 pm:

    I’ve gotta call b.s. (baloney sausage, as Grandma said) on the Rauner anecdote. Even his press people won’t back it up with facts, dates, etc. They more or less admitted that it was made up. Unfortunately for all of us he will continue making stuff up until somebody can bust him irrefutably.

  44. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:41 pm:

    Yep been invlved with converting and updating some of the states old mainframe databases and converting them to db2

  45. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:49 pm:

    He’s talking about the Department of Revenue or Professional Reg. Let’s be honest, it seems people who get hired into the state or have been in the job for many years hate computers to begin with. Some people do need to retire, but in the next five years this country is going to have a wave of retirements anyways. On the flip-side though the state uses way too much paper. The tree should plant it’s own trees with the way it’s going. Either way, there are a lot of areas that can go digital but Rauner’s numbers are plain bulls*it. Just call him Gov Extortion

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