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That is so Illinois

Monday, Jun 24, 2019

* Finke

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.

#FacePalm.

IDOT agreed to end the practice.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - Iggy - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    and the even more Illinois thing to do would be follow the rules for this season, but then start doing it again next year.


  2. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    ===“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.” ===

    Oof. Reminds me of living in a fraternity house at ISU when we had pirated the cable TV hook-up. One of the new guys calls the cable company because HBO wasn’t coming in clearly.

    After that call, HBO and everything else wasn’t coming in at all.


  3. - Steve Rogers - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 10:36 am:

    To make it even more so Illinois, it would have included this coda: the ETP employee was recently promoted with a 20% pay raise. /s


  4. - Father Ted - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    If the ETP employee contacted the OEIG staff after a training to thank them and offer up a perk, is it safe to say that the training couldn’t have been very good?


  5. - skeptic - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    To make it even more more Illinois, add “The Governor has not been charged with any wrong-doing.”


  6. - Nick Name - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    ===Specifically, after meeting at a training session===

    Unclear on the concept?


  7. - A Jack - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    Now we know that the EIG is a Cub’s fan.


  8. - d. p. gumby - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    Unclear of the concept for sure. Was there a parking shortage at the IDOT lot such that Sox fans were taking spaces needed for official business or where they vacant spaces? Makes one wonder about parking in an empty state lot…If this is the best the Inspector General can do???


  9. - lincoln's beard - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    What a waste of time and resources. Here’s something that any normal business would do for employees and friends and nobody would think twice about it, but apparently when State employees do it it’s a big deal. Unless there’s an allegation that it affected responsiveness or somebody was profiting, this is stupid.


  10. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Also this is Illinois: Lost keys to Ohare Airport or five figures to replace
    https://chicago.suntimes.com/…/ohare-airport-master-keys-security-access-lost-chicago


  11. - Huh? - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    Well, the report doesn’t mention that the IDOT employees were charging for the parking. They should have at least charged a nominal amount to cover the cost of filing out the paperwork.


  12. - The Original Name/Nickname/Anon - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    Maybe IL should consider offering $10 parking in this lot. I understand that they can use additional revenue and it sounds like there is space.


  13. - Excitable Boy - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    Hey at least they weren’t charging and pocketing the cash. I call that progress.


  14. - {Sigh} - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    =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.”=

    Who sends the OEIG an email saying it was nice to meet you? Wonder if the person feels the same after the OEIG interviewed them? {sigh}


  15. - NoNeck Williams - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    I love the “NO SOX PARKING” sign at the ETP lot entrance, as found on Google Maps! “Only the little people follow that!”


  16. - Grand old nonpartisan - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    Meh. The CPD essentially turns Shields - a public street - into a VIP parking only lot on game days. It’s not right, but it doesn’t really hurt anyone either.


  17. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    Oh cmon. It’s just parking at Guaranteed Low Interest Field. It’s not like it’s a benefit at a real ballpark.


  18. - MyTwoCents - Monday, Jun 24, 19 @ 7:45 pm:

    Some of these comments are so Illinois. The attitude of so what is a little disconcerting. There were people who took advantage of who they knew to derive a financial benefit from State owned property (which is what the OEIG finding was). Parking for free is a financial benefit because the people didn’t have to pay for parking or pay for public transit to the stadium. If a person attends games even a few times a year the benefit can really start to add up. Not to mention if people would have read the entire OEIG report it discusses the liability concerns with private vehicles on State property with larger trucks coming in and out of the lot.


  19. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Jun 25, 19 @ 1:14 am:

    Reminds me of going to games at the old park with a friend. He’d always pull up next to the park and say he was his father’s son, giving his father’s name. The cops would let him park for free, figuring his father must be somebody important.

    I wonder if that still works?


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