Corrective Actions Aim to Improve Accountability, Restore Public Confidence
CHICAGO, IL â€“ Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica BorggrenÂ announced a series of personnel reforms that are underway to improve accountability and restore public trust at the Illinois Department of Transportation. The measures announced today are the result of a directive by Governor Quinnâ€™s office to ensure the agencyâ€™s hiring practices are held to the highest standards.
â€œGovernor Quinn deployed me here to IDOT to lead an important mission and take strong, quick action to ensure all of our hiring and personnel actions, as well as everything else we do, is fullyÂ above board, â€ Borggren said. â€œThese initiatives that we are putting into effect immediately show that is exactly what we are doing.â€
The reforms announced by Acting Secretary Borggren today are part of a broader reform effort and cover three main areas:
- Material reorganization. To streamline operations, the staff assistant position will be eliminated. The 58 staff assistants currently at IDOT will be laid off and the position abolished entirely. The decision comes after IDOT worked for months to reclassify these positions once an internal audit determined that employees in many cases were performing duties not in their official job descriptions, a practice that has been in place for at least 10 years under multiple administrations. This internal review will continue and any future problems will be addressed immediately.
- Creation of Merit Board. Today, Governor Quinn signed an executive order creating a Department of Transportation Technical Merit Board to ensure the integrity of all personnel matters involving employees covered by IDOTâ€™s technical code, the hiring policies and protocols that are separate from the stateâ€™s regular Personnel Code. This external, independent body will help to oversee the technical code process and provide greater accountability and transparency. The merit board also will collaborate with the agency as it works to better define which positions should be under the technical code.
- Maintain freeze on the establishment of new Rutan-exempt positions indefinitely. In addition to these reforms, Acting Secretary Borggren is ordering that the moratorium on the creation of new Rutan-exempt positions first instituted by Governor Quinn be continued indefinitely.
With these steps taken today, IDOT under Acting Secretary Borggren has completed or has initiated all nine of the directives issued by Governor Quinnâ€™s office to reform the agencyâ€™s personnel practices. This guidance included a comprehensive independent audit of all Rutan-exempt positions, stringent annual evaluations to make sure employees are fulfilling their correct job responsibilities, and Rutan training for IDOTâ€™s personnel and executive staff, which is ongoing and will be complete soon.
â€œThe Illinois Department of Transportation performs a critical mission and impacts all communities in the state,â€ Acting Secretary Borggren said. â€œOur stateâ€™s economy depends on a safe and efficient network of transportation. But to effectively meet our goals, we must have confidence from the public. These reforms and our ongoing efforts will only help to make IDOT the best agency it can possibly be.â€