The Illinois Department of Transportation is doing some house cleaning after being accused of illegal patronage hiring. The agency is laying all 58 of its staff assistants. IDOT has been accused of using that title to get around rules against politically motivated hiring. IDOT’s acting secretary Erica Borggren says those practices have led to the public not trusting the agency.
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“That’s because there haven’t been systems in place,” Borggren said. “These kinds of decisions can’t happen, whether they were intentional or not, they couldn’t happen, so we were looking to restore the confidence through these reforms.” IDOT was sued in an attempt to force an investigation into these very positions, as well as to appoint a federal hiring monitor to the agency. Borggren claims the layoffs are not related to that lawsuit.
Borggren was appointed acting head of IDOT after her predecessor, Ann Schneider, resigned after it was revealed her stepdaughter had been hired at the agency.