Hiring friends and family has limits, and a news report suggests the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn crossed those limits in hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation. “Many of these people were hired because of their political positions as county chairpeople and (who) also happen to support the governor,” says State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), who makes it clear he's no fan of Quinn. “Certainly, people have the ability to practice politics, but they shouldn't get the job based on their political position.”
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The Associated Press reported that 25 of 45 non-exempt hires at the Department of Transportation had connections that could be considered political: Four held jobs in Quinn’s office or worked for another Democrat before moving to IDOT; nine are relatives of officeholders, party officials, union representatives or others who are politically connected; seven are politically active, either as officeholders or party officials; three donated to campaign committees; and two served on campaign payrolls, including for legislators.
Franks says the way people vote and the way they donate their money should not be a factor one way or the other in getting the kinds of “non-exempt” jobs in the report. Franks says it’s probably too late in the spring to do anything about this before the May 31 adjournment.
As for Franks not wanting to support Quinn, Republican challenger Bruce Rauner should not count on Franks’ backing, either. Franks says Rauner hasn’t shown him any specifics, including on how he would be different from Quinn on patronage hiring.