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Teamsters agreed to abolish controversial IDOT position

Monday, Sep 19, 2016

* From a press release…

Rauner Administration Abolishes Position in IDOT Patronage Hiring Scandal

Illegal hires off state payroll

The Rauner Administration announced today it has abolished the staff assistant position at the Illinois Department of Transportation. The position was central to the IDOT patronage hiring scandal that began under previous administrations.

“Every day we are working to restore the people’s faith and confidence in government,” Governor Rauner said. “Ending this illegal patronage hiring and abolishing the staff assistant position is another step in regaining the trust of Illinois taxpayers. Government should work for the people and not the government insiders.”

On September 1, the Administration announced the remaining staff assistants at IDOT had received layoff notices. Their last day with the agency was Thursday, September 15; they are no longer on state payroll.

The staff assistant position came under scrutiny in 2014. An Executive Inspector General Report found the previous administrations had illegally hired employees into the staff assistant position at IDOT. These employees would then transfer into protected government positions or perform job duties that had little or no relation to their actual job description. The previous administration tried to layoff these employees, but the union representing the employees sued to stop those proceedings. The Rauner Administration reached an agreement with the union to finalize the layoffs of the illegal patronage hires.

Since taking office, Governor Rauner has taken a number of actions to increase transparency in hiring. He signed an Executive Order to publish Rutan-exempt employees on the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal website in a direct response to the IDOT hiring scandal. In addition, he signed an Executive Order that removed the requirement that the Governor’s Office review and approve the hiring and promotion decisions of Rutan-covered positions. This Executive Order removed a level of bureaucracy in hiring civil-service positions and further protected the process from unlawful political influence.

* Notice this buried passage from the release…

The Rauner Administration reached an agreement with the union to finalize the layoffs of the illegal patronage hires

* From Tina Sfondeles’ story a couple weeks ago about the 29 IDOT staff assistant layoffs

The last day for the staff assistants will be Sept. 15. Rauner’s administration said the group was laid off on Thursday after the state reached a settlement with the union representing the workers, Teamsters Local 916.

Part of the settlement included abolishing the position of “staff assistant” within IDOT.

That settlement is here. It’s dated April 8th and lays out a complicated process to move staff assistants to other jobs. 32 people remained on IDOT’s payroll as staff assistants at that time, down from 55 in 2014. And the folks who were laid off this month are now on a recall list for three years. If anyone is hired back for a position at a lower classification, they’re guaranteed at least 96 percent of their former salary.

Sounds like a reasonable compromise.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Simple Simon - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 12:50 pm:

    I see this as the type of incremental progress that a governor should make. But if this is his only accomplishment to date, lacking even a budget, then he is less of a governor than the most humble caretaker. Prioritize, man!

  2. - Anon - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    ===Sounds like a reasonable compromise.===

    The Rauner folks might not see it this way, but I see this as a win for those that were hired illegally. They’ve either all moved on to other positions or they’ve got an easy opportunity to come back.

    No real punishment involved.

    This also might be the issue I agree with Rauner the most on.

  3. - Lindy Jackson - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 12:58 pm:

    “Every day we are working to restore the people’s faith and confidence in government,” Governor Rauner said.

    Except when you spend $20 Million Dollars to create your own Political Machine and Patronage Army.

    Sorry, Mr. Governor, but your no different than anyone else.

  4. - Winnin' - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    Sounds reasonable except that the employees being canned are still going to be employed–something that Rauner did not explain on the initial press pop.

  5. - Honeybear - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:13 pm:

    A political party isn’t the only thing that Rauner has purchased. He got a twofer with the ILRB and the Teamsters. See everything works out nicely.

  6. - Reality Check - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:16 pm:

    @Honeybear, I am sure it is just a coincidence that the patronage hires were put into the Teamsters in the first place.

  7. - Annonin' - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    So the 32 are gone? Could return? Not gettin’ state moolah. Is there BigBrain can’t just ’splain

    Funniest part of BigBrain presser was he his new dodge on Trump and election and then fresh insistence 30 seconds later that election was real important…also dodged talkin’ about SandeckCyberWar and Tillman’s movie.

  8. - DuPage - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:20 pm:

    Who is going to take over the work that was done by the “staff assistants”?

  9. - pool boy - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:22 pm:

    How in the world can a non advertised, political patronage job be covered by a union? Thank you Blago!

  10. - Annonin' - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:27 pm:

    Looks everybody will still be workin and now we need a rack up on legal fees and who pays those

  11. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    Ask IBHE who “hired” the new external relations staff member, the one who used to be House Republican staff. Ask them for a copy of the job ad that was used during the “search” process? How many applications were received?

  12. - Honeybear - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 1:35 pm:

    –@Honeybear, I am sure it is just a coincidence that the patronage hires were put into the Teamsters in the first place.–

    Why of course! Ha! You made me guffaw!

  13. - Keyser Soze - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    Pivot to this. Word on the street is that hundreds of IDOT Teamsters are preparing to file grievances over a controversial job review / bonus system that has left most the employees hopping mad. Stay tuned.

  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    Didn’t Quinn move to fire all the staff assistants before the 2014 election? Did Rauner start the process to fire these people, or did Quinn?

  15. - Huh? - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    The political hiring is still possible with Rutan exempt positions. There is a fairly low level position that is Rutan exempt in District 3 that is currently filled by a temporary place holder with a politically connected person actively campaigning for the position.

  16. - Teamster - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 3:14 pm:

    @Keyser- It’s more than word on the street. Paperwork has been filed. Scores were changed. Favorites received bonuses along with managers and supervisors.

  17. - Teamster - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 3:18 pm:

    Out of hundreds! Only 29! What about the other patronage hires? The ones that aren’t staff assistants. There are hundreds of those still around.

  18. - Pot-Kettle - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 8:04 pm:

    IDOC just got some new ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS under Governor Rauner. I’m sure they are qualified and NEEDED.

  19. - Whatever - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 8:39 pm:

    Nothing about the ones who were hired into the staff assistant positions and then moved on to other unionized positions? What’s to brag about if they didn’t track them down and fire them?

  20. - Mama Retired - Tuesday, Sep 20, 16 @ 1:18 am:

    ==- Pot-Kettle - Monday, Sep 19, 16 @ 8:04 pm:
    “IDOC just got some new ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS under Governor Rauner. I’m sure they are qualified and NEEDED.?” ==

    Whoa… the patronage hiring scandal continues under our current governor. Its the old smoke and mirror trick.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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