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March 6, 2003

Blagojevich moves to discharge top-level state employees locked into jobs by the Ryan Administration
Governor moves against those who tried four-day scheme

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Continuing his efforts to root out fraud and fight for reform of state government, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that disciplinary proceedings have begun against top-level state employees who last year improperly sought to lock in their state employment.

These employees left their positions for as little as four days, assumed a new role, only to return to their original position in a move designed to extend their protected status.

“I will not allow this blatant fraud on the citizens of this state to stand,” Blagojevich said. “These individuals have manipulated and circumvented the state’s personnel system and, in many, if not all, cases with the express approval and direction of the previous administration.”

Letters notifying 38 of the employees identified so far by the administration’s investigation are to be hand-delivered by the close of business Friday and the workers are to be immediately placed on administrative leave pending possible discharge. They have five working days to respond to the charges to personnel staff at the agency where they are employed and the agency, in turn, has five days to consider a response.

The administration’s investigation is continuing and further disciplinary actions will follow.

The governor’s staff began an investigation of these employees shortly after taking office in January and they are among a couple hundred state workers who have been identified as taking a variety of maneuvers to inappropriately protect their jobs.

Blagojevich said that these employees, beginning last summer and lasting into the fall, filed false statements that suggested they were resigning their jobs and taking a new position. In most cases, the employee purportedly was in the “new” job for only four days, resigned that position without performing any different duties and then was reinstalled in the old job with a new four-year term appointment.

“It’s understandable why the taxpayers and hard-working people of this state have become cynical about how government conducts its business,” Blagojevich said. “While various attempts have been made to burrow politically-connected people in high-paying jobs, this outrageous maneuver had even longtime insiders surprised at the audacity of the action. As I discover ways state workers attempted to manipulate the system to protect their job, I will take swift action to protect the integrity of state government.”

Published reports indicate that members of Gov. George H. Ryan’s administration instructed the workers on how to scam the system and fully participated in the attempt to secure their long-term employment with the state so that the new administration would not be able to undo the action. The employees were in term positions that would have expired after Ryan left office in January.

The names of the employees targeted for disciplinary action will not be released until they have had the opportunity to respond to the charges and had their appeals heard by the various agencies involved.


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