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Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Speaker Madigan’s chief of staff Jessica Basham…

Good morning, members –

Please see the information below, which I shared with staff just a bit ago.

Many of you have asked about suggestions and guidelines for the re-opening of your district offices. While your office may wish to mimic some of the guidelines I plan to put in place for the Office of the Speaker, your offices are each unique and also more public-facing. The following are some suggestions for your consideration:

    · Regarding your staff, develop a schedule that blends in-office and remote work, in order to reduce the number of staff in the office at one time.

    · Meet with constituents by appointment only, if a remote (video or call) meeting is not possible. Provide face coverings for members of the public who come into the office.

    · Limit the number of public that can be in a waiting area at one time.

    · Share information (on your website, social media, newsletter, and/or posting at your office) about your protocols regarding meeting with constituents.

    · Refrain from inviting large groups to visit the office.

    · Provide access to face coverings and sanitization products for staff, and add additional cleaning responsibilities to staff’s assigned duties.

As always, you will choose how and when to make operational changes for your district offices. The points above and below are suggestions for your consideration.

If you have further thoughts about these plans, or ideas that you’re developing for your offices, please share them. As we navigate these uncharted waters, I’m happy to share them with the whole caucus for further consideration.

Take care and be well,


* Memo to staff…

Good morning, staff –

First, thank you to everyone for working almost exclusively remotely over these last many weeks. As the State enters into Phase 3 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois re-opening plan, the Office of the Speaker (the “Office”) has been reviewing the public health guidance to develop a plan for safely return to the workplace.

Beginning June 8, 2020, employees of the Office are directed to report to their offices in Springfield and Chicago on a limited basis, while continuing to work remotely for the remainder of the work week. Each staff member will be required to be in the office for 12 hours, unless otherwise directed. In the coming days, your supervisor will be in touch to discuss shift assignments. Shifts will be arranged in such a way as to minimize the amount of staff physically present in the office at any one time in order to facilitate social distancing.

The following safety precautions are being taken to support the work of the Office in this next phase of operations:

    · A cloth face covering will be provided to staff members. Staff should wear a face covering at all times when coming within 6 ft. of another person, and at all times when coming to and from the office or walking around the office space (e.g., to and from the restroom or break area).

    · Staff members should perform a daily temperature check before coming to work. Alternately, staff members may visit the on-site paramedic (Capitol Room 206, 8a-5p Mon-Fri) to have their temperature taken. Those with an elevated temperature or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should not report to work.

    · The Capitol and Stratton Buildings will remain generally closed to the public, unless that person is accompanied by a state employee. Staff are discouraged from taking any in-person meetings; instead, meetings should continue to be conducted remotely whenever possible. If interaction with a member of the public is necessary (e.g., a constituent meeting), those should be done by appointment only.

    · Only a limited number of people should ride elevators at once, to maintain social distancing. Guidelines, which may differ depending on the elevator size, will be posted at the elevators.

    · The janitorial staff will be working additional hours to continue a robust sanitation protocol. They will be supported by the Secretary of State janitorial staff, who will be returning to the office full time beginning Monday, June 1.

    · Additional hand sanitizer stations have been added to the buildings.

    · Plans concerning the Bilandic Building are still under development; however, staff should anticipate a requirement to wear a face covering, as well as limitations on public access and elevator capacity.

    · Staff members who report to the Bilandic Building and are reliant on public transportation will be eligible for reimbursement of parking expenses for their required shifts.

Next week, we will have an all-staff call to review more specific safety precautions and answer other operational questions.

Thank you again. Take care and be well,


Jessica Basham, Chief of Staff

Office of the Speaker

Illinois House of Representatives


  1. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    I work for DHS and have been instructed to continue working remotely until further notice. My understanding is DHS office will remain closed until things like physical barriers to promote social distancing protocols are in place.

  2. - Precinct Captain - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:07 am:

    What are the other caucuses planning?

  3. - DownStater - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    What is meant by “Staff members who report to the Bilandic Building and are reliant on public transportation will be eligible for reimbursement of parking expenses for their required shifts.” Are they being asked not to take public transportation and instead their parking will be reimbursed?

  4. - Mr. K. - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    Are they being asked not to take public transportation and instead their parking will be reimbursed?

    Yep. It’s crazy — especially in Chicago.

    I don’t have a car so I need to take Metra — but other staff (apparently) are told to rent a parking space — and that that rental cost will be reimbursed.

    I have no idea how it is in Springfield, but a “rental parking space” in Chicago is incredibly, incredibly expensive — potentially 1.5x to 3x more than public transit.

    Makes no sense at all. This is gonna cost the state a fortune.

    I’m hoping there’s still going to be an option for telework, but from what I’m hearing — those days are coming to a swift end.

    Plus, in small offices, I’m not sure what the plan is. You can’t just pack everyone in like it was two months ago. Or can you?


  5. - SaulGoodman - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:23 am:

    Why? Why do staff need to be in the office 12 hours a week?

    99% of the work that caucus staff can and should be able to be done from home. I don’t understand why they are requiring staff to now come in to the office?

  6. - Mr. K. - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    99% of the work that caucus staff can and should be able to be done from home. I don’t understand why they are requiring staff to now come in to the office?

    This is exactly what many state workers are asking. I know, because I’m asking.

    I worked two months from home — my job is IT — and there’s no reason — zero — I need to be in a specific physical space (i.e., an office in downtown Chicago) when 100% of my job can be performed anywhere.

    However, there are — apparently — arbitrary rules that require a human body in a physical chair in a specific space. Hence, XX hours in the office per week are required.

    I wish AFSCME would get on this — or, maybe they’re already on it, I dunno — but this is crazy — especially when it’s safer for everyone (employee, other employees, and employers) to keep as much distance as possible.

    But, no, bodies need to be in specific chairs at specific times. I have no idea who sets these rules — or why that kind of “12 hour a week” rule was ever set in the first place.

  7. - tea_and_honey - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    Agreed Saul and Mr. K.

    I work for a state university and I’m required to be back in my office full time starting June 8th. All summer orientation programs, classes, admissions events etc. have been moved online but for some reason it is super important that I physically occupy my office space 40 hours a week.

  8. - Sonny - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    It’s silly. The rule is if you can continue to work from home, you should and that should be the message from government from top to bottom. We In Chicago and Cook County are not out of the woods by any means.

  9. - snarknado - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    To those asking “why” the Speaker’s staff should be expected to return to the office for 12 hours a week - is there anything they could do that you would support? If they didn’t have people return, someone would claim they’re bilking the taxpayers. if they had them all return at the same time, they aren’t taking the virus seriously.

    The speaker seems to be taking a more tempered approach and bringing people back in shifts and gradually. Staff has to return at some point, and the set up of their offices allows them to work without interacting with visitors.

    By the way, do you know what is going on in “the real world”? Most non-governmental jobs are ordering employees to return to the office next week or the following week.

  10. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:43 pm:


    How many ‘real word’ employees do you suppose are working remotely out of efficiency and cost savings? The issue is many State workers could continue working from home but aren’t being allowed to for no good reason.

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