CHICAGO (Associated Press) -
Gov. Pat Quinn has ordered a moratorium on political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation and is requiring executive-level staff in every state agency to undergo training about proper hiring practices.
The Chicago Democrat's actions come amid questions about whether state jobs were improperly filled based on clout rather than qualifications.
The Associated Press obtained copies of memos sent Thursday by Quinn's attorney to IDOT leadership and the heads of all agencies, boards and commissions.
According to the memos, Quinn also is ordering an outside audit of all IDOT political hires to determine if the positions were properly filled.
IDOT Director Ann Schneider resigned earlier this week. Her departure followed a news report that Schneider's stepdaughter might have been among those whose hiring sidestepped the rules.
Quinn has also released salary information for two new high ranking officials after Schneider's resignation.
Former Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren was appointed as transportation secretary on Monday. Her salary is $150,228. Rodrigo Garcia will now serve as director of the Department of Veterans Affairs. His salary is $115,613.
A campaigner against political clout in government hiring, Michael Shakman, says he has little confidence in new efforts by Gov. Quinn to clean up how jobs are awarded at Illinois' transportation agency.
Shakman responded Thursday to Quinn ordering a moratorium on political hiring at the agency and an outside audit of past hires. He has asked a federal court to appoint an outside monitor for IDOT hiring. He says the history of government agencies fixing their own patronage problems is dismal, and that Quinn promising to fix IDOT's problems isn't reassuring.
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