Editorial | Compromised hiring process endemic to the state | Editorials

Given Illinois’ history, state officials don’t have much credibility when it comes to ending abuse in the hiring process.

Lawyers for Governor JB Pritzker recently went to a federal appeals court in Chicago to argue it’s time to end what they complained is the ‘endless’ surveillance of the hiring of the ‘state by a court-appointed monitor.

“The governor is committed to ensuring that all state hiring and employment practices are conducted according to the highest ethical standards,” his attorney said.

Not only is it administratively inconvenient to be held accountable by a court-appointed outside monitor, but the Pritzker administration is also unhappy with the cost — estimated at $1 million over the past 18 months.

There is no reason to dispute the governor’s good intentions or dismiss the resentment generated by the outside monitor. But the reason outside observer status seems “endless” is that efforts by state officials to violate hiring rules by giving special treatment to friends, family or political supporters are also unending.

Perhaps that’s why, just as Pritzker’s attorneys were calling the end of the Monitor, the Monitor reported another round of alleged hiring rule violations to the Capital Development Board, the agency that handles the contracts. of state building.

Pritzker’s attorneys summarily dismissed the issue. They claimed to have reported the hires to the outside monitor, Noelle Brennan, and further stated that their investigation found no wrongdoing.

Here’s a good question. If they had actually found wrongdoing, would they admit it?

Readers can answer this question for themselves by considering the facts reported by the monitor.

The Monitor reported the questionable hires of four people, two of whom had political connections but had been fired from former state jobs.

Brennan reported that another of those hired is the “son of a senior agency official.”

Two of the four were hired as “Contract Specialist III”, a position for which Brennan said they did not meet the minimum qualifications required. Mainly, they lacked, among other things, “in-depth knowledge of the public procurement code”.

The state’s position is that their investigation revealed no issues. Moreover, he said that each of the four performed beautifully during the interview process. While acknowledging “flaws” – what a nice word – in their history of working with the state, they said the state often gives people a second chance.

That may be one of the state’s problems – rehiring people it has already fired. By the way, what does it take to get fired from a government job?

Obviously, one doesn’t have to be unduly skeptical of what happened here to smell a rat. That’s why the public should always be skeptical that state officials will oversee a hiring process that gives all applicants a fair opportunity.

Readers may recall the IDOT hiring scandal that occurred under the governors. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn and senior officials involved flouting one hiring rule after another.

Circumstances may not be as stark today as they were then. But it’s just a fact that officials simply cannot be trusted to follow the rules because they have demonstrated on so many previous occasions that they will not follow the rules.

One thing the Monitor and Governor agree on is that the administration’s ongoing efforts to minimize hiring misconduct are nearing completion — possibly by mid-year. .

If so, let’s do it. Until then, the federal court should keep the comptroller on duty to ensure that more unqualified, but connected applicants end up on the state payroll.

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