Metro-east hirings among those examined in IDOT investigation

News-DemocratAugust 22, 2014 

The Illinois Executive Inspector General's review of hiring practices at the Illinois Department of Transportation included an investigation into the hiring of a handful of employees from the metro-east.

Those metro-east employees included ones whose political connections were questioned.

In the hiring of at least seven metro-east employees, IDOT may have circumvented rules that are designed to ensure hirings are based on merit, not clout.

Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza issued a report Friday on his office's investigation into IDOT hiring. The report lists the questionable metro-east hires by number, not by name.

The metro-east hires mentioned in the report include:

* Employee 88, a Belleville woman who was hired in 2004 after she contacted former St. Clair County Clerk Sam Flood. Flood, at the time, was working for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

* Employee 20, who told investigators that she met Flood during a campaign event for Blagojevich. After the election, she was offered a job at IDOT.

"Employee 20 said she did not apply or interview for the staff assistant position," the report states.

Flood, in an interview Friday, said he recalled only helping Janet Delaney get a job at IDOT. Flood said her hiring was for an "exempt" position, the type which can be filled based on political loyalty. Those types of positions are supposed to involve managerial-type or policy-making duties.

But a few months after being hired, Delaney moved to a non-exempt position, the type often covered by a union. That type of transfer was common at IDOT, and was used to skirt the hiring rules, according to the investigation.

Flood said Delaney's hiring did not include any agreement that she would be transferred to a union job.

"She was an exempt position," said Flood, who is now retired. "I don't know what she's done since then, whether she's gone into the union or what. I don't know anything about that."

Delaney could not be reached for comment. She is the wife of former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney, who resigned amid allegations of mistreating employees.

* Employee 182 "worked as a legislative liaison for state Rep. Jay Hoffman," according to the report. Hoffman is a Swansea Democrat.

* Employee 56 "contacted Senator Clayborne, whom he has known since childhood, about a position at IDOT," according to the report. Sen. James Clayborne is a Belleville Democrat.

* Employee 212 had worked as a legislative assistant for Hoffman.

Clayborne and Hoffman were not immediately available for comment Friday afternoon.

Other hires mentioned in the report:

* Employee 87 had worked as an intern for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

* Employee 36 is a brother of state Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton.

* Employee 218 listed Hoffman as a reference.

* Employee 185 worked for Hoffman at one point.

The Executive Inspector General's report is available here: http://www2.illinois.gov/oeig/Pages/default.aspx

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