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Local legislator questions governor's hiring priorities

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[JUNE 1, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Recent revelations that the Blagojevich administration has hired 1,900 new employees in the last five months has state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, concerned about the governor's priorities.

Just last week, the governor threatened to lay off 5,000 state employees to balance the budget, and this week 60 employees at the Illinois Department of Transportation received pink slips.

"Obviously the governor has his own staffing priorities," said Bomke. "But, in light of his recent hiring, I do not find layoffs in key state agencies here in Springfield appropriate. The governor's priorities obviously do not match those of central Illinois."

The Blagojevich administration recently laid off 60 employees at the Department of Transportation in a "restructuring" effort to streamline the agency. In recent months, the governor has hired 29 new employees for his own office, plus many more high-salary administrative positions at other agencies.

"The governor hired a $60,000 speech writer and then reduces the work force that oversees transportation. That tells us his priorities loud and clear," said Bomke, who is Republican spokesman for the Senate Transportation Committee. "I would have a hard time finding someone in my district who places the governor's speeches ahead of jobs and transportation needs in central Illinois."

 

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Bomke has long been critical of the governor's diversions from the state Road Fund, which funds road construction projects throughout Illinois.

"The governor's removal of employees at IDOT while at the same time boosting employment rolls at other agencies -- including his own office -- further underscores the Blagojevich administration's low priority for taking care of Illinois' roads and highways," said Bomke. "These are not the only downstate priorities being ignored. How long will our roads and our downstate communities play second fiddle to Chicago priorities?"

[Illinois Senate Republican Caucus
news release]

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