8 months ago From suntimes.com
From From suntimes.com:
In a blow to Gov. Pat Quinn, his former transportation secretary has accused his office of pushing “the vast majority” of improper political hires in her agency even though an ethics report released Friday shied away from blaming the governor’s office.
A report by state Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza alleged that “countless” legitimate job applicants for state jobs were sidestepped by hundreds of political appointees installed in state transportation jobs for which politics weren’t supposed to play a role.
Meza’s report centered on four former Illinois Department of Transportation employees, including two ex heads of the sprawling state bureaucracy for presiding over the allegedly improper hiring scheme but largely was silent on the governor’s office playing a direct role.
But former Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said in a rebuttal to Meza’s report that it was the governor’s office and not her personally responsible for filling non-political positions with political hires.
“It is my recollection that [the] vast majority of Rutan-exempt hires were chosen from those recommended to me or my staff by the governor’s office,” Schneider said, referring to the landmark Rutan U.S. Supreme Court opinion that placed limits on political hiring in government jobs.
“The governor’s office would have been provided resumes of all such candidates and would have requested that we complete the process of having the recommended person approved for the open position,” she said.
Schneider went on to say that she felt unable to turn away any recommended hires pushed by Quinn’s office.
“Neither I nor my staff were in a position to reject the recommended individuals for these exempt positions as no additional interview process was required,” she said.