Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, in a filing late Monday in federal court, contends a court appointed monitor is not necessary to ensure compliance with political hiring bans as suggested by an anti-patronage attorney.
In the filing by the attorney general's office, Quinn contends his response to allegations of political hiring in the Department of Transportation has been "prompt, appropriate and aimed at a long-term solution to preventing any such improprieties in the future."
Last month, Quinn aides announced the Transportation Department was laying off 58 people at the center of a state investigator's findings that more than 250 people were improperly hired for political reasons at the agency over the past decade. The report found that the questionable hiring of "staff assistants" accelerated under Quinn, despite his claims to have cleaned up the practices of his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich.
The issue boiled over in April when Chicago attorney and anti-corruption campaigner Michael Shakman filed a petition asking for the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee IDOT hiring. He was responding to a Better Government Association report in August 2013 that detailed political hiring in the Transportation Department.
Under a court decree known as "Rutan," most government jobs are supposed to be filled through merit and insulated from political considerations. But the decree allows a governor to hire political loyalists for positions that involve confidential information, policy making or public statements.