Report: IDOT workers abused parking for White Sox games

Report: IDOT workers abused parking for White Sox games

While ordinary fans paid up to $20 for parking at Chicago White Sox games, a recent report shows Illinois Department of Transportation employees offered free parking at a nearby state facility to special contacts.

A recent report from the Office of the Executive Inspector General, or OEIG, revealed state employees abused government resources to offer free parking privileges for Chicago White Sox games.

The report comes following an ethics investigation into improper use of a parking lot at an Emergency Traffic Patrol site overseen by the Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT.

Parking for White Sox games typically ranges from $15 to $20 near the facility, which is located less than a quarter mile from Guaranteed Rate Field. But some had access to free gameday parking spaces, so long as they had a connection at the IDOT facility.

This ran afoul of agency protocol, according to OEIG’s report. IDOT’s Personnel Policies Manual states that “employees shall not use State property for personal or private use,” and that “employees shall not permit other persons to use State property without authorization from a supervisor.”

OEIG first became aware of these abuses after an Emergency Traffic Patrol employee emailed OEIG staff following a training session. “If you guys ever need anything (from help with your vehicle on the Expressways to parking for a White Sox event) please feel free to contact me,” the email said.

That email prompted the inspector general’s office to surveil the facility’s parking lot. Although the agency allows select state employees to use the lot for White Sox parking, OEIG was unable to trace many of the license plates to an authorized individual’s vehicle.

Interviews with employees revealed that supervisors had known of these abuses for years but had not disciplined any employees. One employee said it was an “unwritten rule” to accommodate free parking requests for White Sox games, and that he’d been aware of the practice since 1979.

IDOT agreed to stop misusing the lot after the release of the report, according to the State Journal-Register.

While this is just a small example of government abuse, it is one part of a larger problem that has given way to Illinois being recognized as the third-most corrupt state – and Chicago as the most corrupt city – in the nation.

Without improved accountability, Illinois will continue to be a state known for corruption, rather than good government.

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