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Significant “arson, vandalism, and bomb threats” and much more have kept IDES offices closed

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2021

* CBS 2

Arsons, bomb threats, and vandalism – we have been asking for months, and now for the first time, we are learning about the crimes keeping Illinois unemployment offices closed.

Jordan Abudayyeh, press secretary for Gov. JB Pritzker’s office, said in a statement that more two dozen “significant incidents” have been investigated at 12 Illinois unemployment offices in every region of the state since March 2020. […]

On Tuesday, CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov asked Pritzker when the offices will finally reopen.

“Shortly. As you know, we’ve had about 60 percent of our staff are completely back to work,” Pritzker said. “We’ve got the State Police assisting the agency to make sure that we’re doing it in the right way.”

* Full statement from Jordan Abudayyeh…

Since March of 2020 more than two dozen significant incidents have been investigated at 12 offices in every region of the state. Investigations range from acts of arson, vandalism, and bomb threats, among other acts of violence. Individuals have also shown up at IDES employees’ private residences threatening physical violence. This is in addition to countless threats made over phone, via email, and mail throughout the pandemic. Due to the pending investigations IDES is not able to share specific information.

As IDES has repeatedly said, the agency is working with colocated workforce partners on a phased reopening of offices by appointment this summer in a safe manner. Security plans and additional staff training are being put in place to ensure both staff and clients can accomplish their shared goals in a safe environment.

…Adding… This sort of thing is not unique to Illinois, either. From New Mexico

The former leader of the state Workforce Solutions Department that oversees unemployment benefits said his resignation in April was linked to threatening messages and incidents at the agency and elsewhere, in a string of Twitter posts Thursday. […]

[Former Cabinet Secretary Bill McCamley] said his concerns about personal safety grew after a state-owned car was destroyed by an incendiary device and a possibly deranged man called the state labor agency to blame McCamley for unemployment problems and to ask for McCamley’s address.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments »
  1. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 9:09 am:

    RE the co-location, even before Covid, the State was consolidating and co-locating various offices. It’s been a pretty big challenge.


  2. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 9:30 am:

    “after a state-owned car was destroyed by an incendiary device”

    I feel like “state officials threatened by car bombs” should have been a bigger national story…


  3. - don the legend - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 10:03 am:

    NIU grad, If it’s not the Covid variant, wildfires or Critical Race Theory it ain’t news. :)


  4. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 10:48 am:

    ===RE the co-location, even before Covid, the State was consolidating and co-locating various offices.===

    [Sarcasm font on] You’re playing Ed Bedore’s theme song …


  5. - Shytown - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 11:32 am:

    That’s a whole lot of messed up


  6. - 17% Solution - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 12:11 pm:

    This is why we can’t have nice things.


  7. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 1:20 pm:

    Is this a result of newspapers no longer sending reporters down to the police station every day to review reports and call logs and what not? I mean, if that was still happening, would some of this have been making it into the media?


  8. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    I’m sorry, but there has to be more to this story. I know Jordan Abudayyeh’s job is to spin a narrative for Pritzker, but I hope some journalists are not just taking her word that this is all related to safety issues.


  9. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 1:46 pm:

    ==Is this a result of newspapers no longer sending reporters down to the police station every day to review reports and call logs and what not? ==

    Our “beloved” SJ-R is among those newspapers not doing this anymore. Since their City beat reporter was laid off in past cutbacks. Police Beat seemed to be the most popular part of the SJ-R over the years. Now it’s been gone from the paper about 2-3 years.


  10. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 2:49 pm:

    Thanks, EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham. I loved the police beat. I miss the police beat. And yes, somehow, the SJR is still beloved. (Your comment sort of brought tears to my eyes.)


  11. - Advocate - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 3:23 pm:

    I track what IDES says pretty closely. They’ve repeatedly said that offices are closed due to threats. They have not repeatedly said that offices would open this summer by appointment. Throwing out bee info here while claiming it’s old news.


  12. - Advocate - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 3:24 pm:

    “New” info. Doggone autocorrect.


  13. - Staffer - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    I have sympathy for the employees of IDES and understand this isn’t an easy decision, but for about 16 months, this agency has remained closed and inaccessible to people in crisis. With absolutely no flexibility or ingenuity being employed to reach people in a way that’s safe for the IDES workers and claimants. Would love to hear what IDES is doing to ramp up security? Maybe we could request that information from them - anybody have a fax machine?


  14. - Shield - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    - Advocate - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 3:23 pm:

    Then try paying better attention because they’ve said they are working on opening by appointment during the spring to the legislature in public hearings.


  15. - Advocate - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 11:50 pm:

    Working on it is a meaningless term that could extend reopening to 2038.


  16. - Advocate - Wednesday, Jul 21, 21 @ 11:51 pm:

    People are going hungry and about to be evicted due to lack of UI. Ramp up security sure but get those offices open. IDHS has figured it out. Other state agencies in IL have. UI agencies in other states have. My sympathy for IDES ended a long time ago if it ever began. Easy to make excuses; time to do their jobs.


  17. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 5:09 am:

    ==Ramp up security sure but get those offices open. IDHS has figured it out. Other state agencies in IL have. ==

    So has the Secretary of State’s office and the drivers facilities. First major constitutional to reopen, immediately after the stay-at-home orders ended in June 2020. Had a few hiccups (with some facility outbreaks and short closures, plus facilities only closing during the resurgence last winter) but for the most part no issues.


  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 6:50 am:

    ===IDHS has figured it out===

    So, you’re thinking IDHS has been dealing with the same level of threats as IDES? It’s not just a matter of unlocking a door here.


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