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.


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.


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."

Illinois Road Projects On Hold For State Budget

Jun 9, 2016
"End Construction" by Flickr User Chris Lasher / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to spend about 2 billion dollars on road projects for the next fiscal year that starts July 1 -- if there's a budget.

The lack of a deal could kill the construction season. 

That's what business leaders, contractors, laborers and other members of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition say.

Co-chair Todd Maisch, who's also CEO of the state Chamber of Commerce, says no spending on roads this summer would cause construction firms to close, or lay off workers.