Rauner lays off final 29 patronage hires made by previous governors

Rauner lays off final 29 patronage hires made by previous governors

Gov. Bruce Rauner has laid off dozens of workers at a state agency, all political hires under previous governors.

Rauner said late last week that he would be laying off the remaining 29 Illinois Department of Transportation employees who were deemed patronage hires by then-Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn. Rauner moved to terminate these employees shortly after taking office in January 2015, but the employees were in positions with union protection, and they sued to keep their jobs. A recent settlement allowed Rauner to lay off the rest of the employees in that case. Rauner called the layoffs a “step to restore citizens’ faith in state government so it works for them and not the political insiders.”

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, ran against Quinn in 2010 and feels vindicated in that the practices he tried to shine a light on are being resolved.

“Claims that we made against the Quinn administration’s misdoings were proved accurate, just as they have been with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative and other things,” Brady said. “They discriminated against veterans and other individuals in a very improper way. I’m really pleased to see the Rauner administration tackle this head on and bring back some credibility to state hiring practices.”

The hires were all classified as staff assistants. Per a 2014 inspector general report, they were all skirting procedures to get around tougher rules to keep state jobs from being politically doled out.

The political hires’ last day will be next Thursday.

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