Governor Bruce Rauner laid off 29 employees at the Illinois Department of Transportation Thursday, all hired under the Quinn and Blagojevich administrations.
“Our administration has put an end to the illegal patronage hiring that started under Blagojevich and continued under Quinn,” Rauner said in a statement. “Since taking office, we have worked for taxpayers to ensure proper hiring at all of our state agencies. This is an additional step to restore citizens’ faith in state government so it works for them and not the political insiders.”
The employees let go were all "staff assistants," a classification once given to hundreds of IDOT workers who did not have to go through stricter personnel procedures.
In 2014, a report by the State Inspector General found that staff assistants were illegally hired and either transferred into protected government positions or allowed to perform duties that had little or no relation to their job description, according to Rauner's statement. The union representing them sued the state of Illinois to stop layoff attempts, but according to the governor, Thursday's layoffs were a result of settling that lawsuit.
The layoffs are effective September 15, Rauner said, and IDOT will no longer have "staff assistants" moving forward.