IDOT

"Seatbelt plug" by Flickr User Benjamin Goodger / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Transportation says state traffic deaths have exceeded 1,000 this year, breaking records since 2008.

Officials say dozens have died during the New Year’s holiday period since 2011, including drivers who tested positive for alcohol. 

As the New Year’s holiday approaches, the agency says police are increasing efforts to keep road deaths down. Scott Kristiansen, with IDOT, says a change in driver’s habits may contribute to the numbers.  

IDOT

A federal judge has ruled that a court-appointed monitor investigating patronage hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation can also review hiring at other state agencies.

The State Journal-Register reports Judge Sidney Schenkier ruled in favor of the IDOT case's plaintiffs, who wanted the authority of the special master expanded to include positions labeled as exempt at all state agencies, boards and commissions.

Anti-patronage activist Michael Shakman says the request stemmed from discoveries made by the special master as she investigated hiring at IDOT.

IDOT

There no longer is any such position as an Illinois Department of Transportation "staff assistant," Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Monday.

An inspector general's report in 2014 found that previous administrations hired people into that role, which allowed them to skirt state hiring rules.

Then the workers often were moved into other jobs that would have been subject to merit testing. It was a way get people with clout on the state payroll.

Rauner says the inspector general is still looking for patronage hires in other departments.

IDOT

Gov. Bruce Rauner has laid off 29 Illinois Department of Transportation employees who were among those improperly hired based on political connections.

The Republican said Thursday he issued notices to the so-called ``staff assistants'' hired by skirting personnel rules under two previous Democratic governors. They were told their last day is Sept. 15.  

Hundreds of people were hired into the position starting in 2003. The state's inspector general found in 2014 that the politically connected hires should have been put into their positions based on merit.  

The Illinois Department of Transportation has begun informing contractors that all IDOT projects will begin shutting down starting June 30 if no state budget agreement is reached.

A statement attributed to IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says the move is "due to the majority party in the legislature’s failure to pass a balanced budget."

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