An interesting Executive Inspector General report came out last week dealing with parking at an Illinois Department of Transportation facility in Chicago.
Specifically, it was parking at an Emergency Traffic Patrol operation that’s about a five-minute walk from Guaranteed Rate Park, which is where the White Sox play.
Now why would the inspector general do an investigation about that? Because some IDOT workers at the facility were letting people attending Sox games park for free in the ETP parking lot, which is against IDOT policies. Parking in the area for Sox games costs $15 to $20, the inspector general said, so there’s an incentive for people to seek out the freebie.
Investigators interviewed some IDOT workers involved in the parking deal. It makes for interesting reading about the protocols involved in trying to accommodate parking requests. For example, one email reminded workers that to get on the list of people approved for parking a person must be a current employee of IDOT, the state police (as a trooper or administrator), the governor’s office or a legislator’s office. Friends and relatives of those people were supposed to be denied. However, when investigators conducted surveillance of the lot, they found some license plates that could not be traced to state workers.
* This is how the OEIG office found out about the issue…
In April 2018, the OEIG became aware that the ETP facility’s parking lot was potentially being used for White Sox gameday parking. Specifically, after meeting at a training session, an ETP employee emailed OEIG staff saying it was nice to meet them, and “If you guys ever need anything (from help with your vehicle on the Expressways to parking for a White Sox event), please feel free to contact me.” After conducting an initial surveillance of the ETP parking lot on a White Sox gameday in May 2018 and observing several vehicles park at the ETP lot before entering Guaranteed Rate Field, the OEIG self-initiated this investigation to determine the nature and extent of this use of State resources.
IDOT agreed to end the practice.