IDOT Hiring May Get Federal Scrutiny

IDOT Hiring May Get Federal Scrutiny

Photo: Newsradio WTAX

A federal judge is being asked to appoint a monitor to keep an eye on political hiring in the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The request comes in a motion filed by Michael Shakman, the plaintiff in an anti-patronage federal court case in Cook County that began in 1972 and resulted in consent decrees against patronage hiring.

Patronage hiring in all but top policy-related positions is forbidden in state government under the 1990 Rutan decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Better Government Association says perhaps 200 IDOT workers were given jobs for political reasons, and these were not policy-setting jobs that are exempt from the rules against that, says Patrick McCraney, who investigated the situation for the BGA.

According to the BGA, the jobs were posted with descriptions that contained buzzwords such as “policy” or “spokesman,” which allowed the Department of Central Management Services to declare the positions Rutan-exempt, when in reality they should not have been.

“These jobs were just basic, run-of-the-mill jobs pumping gas or working in a mail room or something like that, where it’s really – I think Shakman used the word “inconceivable” in his filing, and I think that it’s a good word here – it’s inconceivable that somebody who’s wording in a mail room would be doing policy for the governor,” McCraney said.

In addition to the appointment of a monitor, Shakman is asking that the employees in question be removed from their jobs and the jobs then be filled through a non-political hiring process.

An IDOT spokesman says the agency launched an audit “immediately” after the BGA report was published. He says at least 50 positions the administration deemed exempt from Rutan will be reclassified.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

HOLIDAY TV: What to watch this week


This week is packed with programs to get you in the holiday spirit.

in Entertainment

Bono, Clooney, Kardashian part of all-star campaign for AIDS

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Bono arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. A New York City doctor says U2 singer Bono suffered multiple fractures and had to have two surgeries after his weekend bicycle accident. Orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Dean Lorich says Bono underwent a five-hour surgery on his elbow in which three plates and 18 screws were inserted on Sunday night. Bono had another surgery to repair a fracture to his left pinkie on Monday. Lorich says Bono will need therapy but a full recovery is expected.

Bono is a launching an all-star campaign featuring "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" like walking the red carpet with Meryl Streep or visiting the "Game of Thrones" set.

in Entertainment

WHAT’S ON: New on Netflix, Amazon & Hulu in December


Get your remotes ready for a new round of binge-worthy movies and TV.