Editorial | Hiring lawsuit | News-Gazette.com


A state patronage hiring scandal going back 12 years just won’t go away.

The political class in Illinois has an entitlement mentality, and not just those at the top of the political heap.

The mindset goes all the way down to the lowliest party patronage worker.

How else does one explain the recent lawsuit filed by eight workers who were illegally hired at the Illinois Department of Transportation, fired after the extent of the patronage conspiracy was disclosed and now are suing the state because they want their old jobs back?

The lawsuit, which alleges they were illegally fired after they were illegally hired, was filed last week in Sangamon County.

The IDOT illegal hiring scandal goes back to the days of former Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn. To get around state hiring rules requiring employment based solely on merit, they oversaw a plan where IDOT managers created new positions — staff assistants — that supposedly were managerial and not affected by the hiring rules.

After being hired, these staff assistants were assigned routine job duties that were subject to the hiring rules.

After a long investigation, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced in September 2016 that he had closed the book on the scandal by dismissing 29 IDOT employees who should never have been brought on the state payroll.

The position in the lawsuit of some of those who were fired is that after being hired illegally into a staff position, they obtained other positions in IDOT by going through the traditional hiring review.

That’s an arguable claim, with two caveats.

They should never have been hired in the first place. Further, a report prepared by a court-appointed outside monitor said many of those job application processes were as phony as the original hires.

At any rate, those illegally hired are challenging their dismissals and — who knows? — maybe they’ll win.

But their claims represent another bad joke on the people of Illinois who have come to resent the costly, ineffective and inequitable political business as usual here.



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