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Pritzker asked about the return of state workers to job sites and reopening Thompson Center to the public

Friday, May 7, 2021

* From Gov. Pritzker’s press conference earlier today…

Q: What about state workers who have been working remotely? Do you have a plan of when are they returning? Are they coming back five days a week? Or are you going to have a hybrid plan?

A: Each agency has a plan for bringing its workers back. As you know, some agencies are right on the front lines talking directly to consumers, residents of our state or directly to businesses. And other agencies don’t interact with the public in person, but rather by the phone typically. And so each agency has a plan for bringing bringing back their workforce. All of them are in the process of doing exactly that.

Q: And just to follow up on that, Governor, what does this mean for the Thompson Center and for state offices that are there? Is that going to reopen to the public?

A: Well, we’re first reopening to workers and state government. That’s the most important thing. We want to make sure that we’re adhering to the right disciplined, reopening measurements that the IDPH has set out for buildings. So you’ll be seeing the public eventually being able to come into the Thompson center. The first thing that’s got to happen is to get all of our workers back in the Thompson center working.

…Adding… Speaking of reopening…

This week brought positive news for Illinoisians who have been looking forward to getting back to normal. Governor JB Pritzker announced a few days ago he was optimistic Illinois was on the path to be fully reopened by July 4th. Earlier this week, Governor Pritzker stated he was looking forward to this year’s State Fair in Springfield. And yesterday more good news. The Governor announced, barring reversals in metrics, Illinois will move into Phase 5 — normal business operations — as soon as Friday, June 11th.

For 34 years, the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA) has kicked off Democrat Day (now Governor’s Day) at the Illinois State Fair. This year’s County Chairs’ Brunch is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18th at 9am at the Crowne Plaza Springfield.

IDCCA President Kristina Zahorik released the following statement:

“Thanks to Governor Pritzker and the thousands of frontline healthcare workers, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I cannot wait to see so many friends from throughout the state at the County Chairs’ Brunch on August 18th. We followed the science, and for more than a year did virtual events, masked up, and socially distanced, so we could come together again. It will be amazing for everyone to feel the energy in the room and to connect in person.”

“This year’s Brunch will have an added hybrid feature to allow virtual participation. We will strictly adhere to all public health recommendations. This will allow people to participate in whatever way they feel comfortable.”

The keynote speaker for the 2021 Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Brunch will be announced closer to the event. Previous guest speakers include US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg (who filled in last minute for President Joe Biden), and US Senator Amy Klobuchar. Tickets are expected to go on sale mid-June.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Merica - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:22 pm:

    Why would you bring everyone back? Most agencies demonstrated that employees can work on a rotating shift or remotely and it actually increases productivity.

    Here, you could sell buildings or stop leases and save hundreds of millions per year. Go plug a hole in a budget with that, or fund pensions.

    You’ve just gone through one of the most interesting sociological experiments in modern human history. learn from it and make the State a better place.

  2. - Paddy Cullerton - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:40 pm:

    Somehow I doubt we’ve seen efficiency in state government. Is there software that is monitoring actual work time ? Maybe we will learn we need fewer employees except in the unemployment offices

  3. - Arsenal - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:56 pm:

    ==Maybe we will learn we need fewer employees except in the unemployment offices ==

    This state will never be in want of a justification to fire people.

  4. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:15 pm:

    Most if not all of the Capitol Complex-based employees have been all back to work in office since fall. In fact, all Secretary of State employees in the Howlett and other SOS buildings have all been back to work, and no remote work, since June 1st last year.

  5. - Alice - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:25 pm:

    If there is no need for them in office and the last 15 months has shown employees are effective at home- then downsize office space, save on lease space, and everyone will be better off.

  6. - Boating fool - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:54 pm:

    Does DNR know this? Try renewing your boat registration or finding answers about your application. Good luck. They need to bring workers back.

  7. - Homebody - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:13 pm:

    == Somehow I doubt we’ve seen efficiency in state government. ==

    I’ve worked in both state government and private practice (in a number of disparate fields). I promise you government work is not special in any way compared to private practice. You have driven people in both, lazy people in both, but mostly just people who want a paycheck and to go home at the end of the day in both.

    We can’t just go around pretending that movies like Office Space didn’t get get written for a reason.

  8. - Jason - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    Keeping workers at home who have the capacity to work from home is a win, win, win for everybody. First, the State saves money in heat, air, capacity, office supplies, electricity, and many workers are more productive working at home/remote just to name a few of the many benefits. Second, the unsolvable ever increasing traffic jams and waste of gas including the pollution of the environment is solved because the roads are a lot less crowded and this leads to a cleaner environment. Finally, workers are happier and can get healthier by using the hour and a half to two hours each way (the usual commute in bigger metro areas when the Metra or other public transportation is infeasible or non existent between their work and home) for exercise and home cooking their dinner. Even if public transportation is available and feasible the commute is for most over an hour each way.

    Many companies are switching to either total work at home/remote or a hybrid model of two days in three days remote. I personally have friends who are permanently working remote and two that are going to be on a hybrid model after Labor Day for one and August for the other.

    Remote work is the future that started last year. It should be an option and any employer that wants to recruit, or keep good qualified employees should switch to the future which is now

  9. - Sickntired - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 4:15 pm:

    As a retiree, I’d love to see state workers go back to work. There would be a lot less mowing and bike traffic in the neighborhood. When they go back, I hope to get some piece and quiet.

  10. - Colin Robinson - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 4:18 pm:

    Kind of a non-answer, leaving it up to agency directors.

  11. - Fred - Monday, May 10, 21 @ 9:32 am:

    Sinkntired, what makes you say that they are State Workers. It sounds to me like you are just making that up.

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