Illinois Senate Republicans say there’s a cost to the improper patronage hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation. They didn’t have a dollar amount, but they mentioned the salaries paid to workers who shouldn’t have been hired, the cost of litigation and ultimately the cost of a court-ordered hiring monitor, intangibles such as the consequences to those who didn’t get jobs – and the cost to local governments, says State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), the minority spokesman on the Senate Transportation Committee.
“It’s well known in units of local government that IDOT has been in short supply of the professionals, professionals like engineers who are needed in order to supervise projects, to review documents in order to get local projects passed,” she said in a news conference Thursday afternoon in Chicago.
She said local governments are missing out on federal funds, or are hiring engineers at their own cost in order to get plans approved on a timely basis to be able to take advantage of federal funds.
Also, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) suspect there was improper patronage hiring in other agencies. “The problem is we have such a culture in this state of corruption that it’s highly unlikely that it’s not going on in other agencies,” she said.
The improper hiring was brought to light by the executive inspector general, who identified 255 people over a five-year period who were hired through a political process but were placed in jobs that are not supposed to be political. The governor has said he has cleaned up the department and will cooperate with the monitor.