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State Hiring Scandal Rolls On

By Amy Hart in News on Nov 8, 2005 5:29PM


If you want to get a job with the State of Illinois, it might help to know Representative Dan Reitz, a Democrat from Steeleville.

If you were like Chicagoist, you just asked yourself, “Where in the world is Steeleville?” Well, the Biggest Little City in Illinois is located in the southwestern part of the state, which proves that corruption is not just a Chicago thing.

Dan Reitz has served in the Illinois legislature since 1997, and his family and friends couldn’t be happier. As the Sun-Times reports today, his wife has a $32,556 a year position with the state parks system, the husband of his secretary makes $47,496 as a state park superintendent, and his son takes home a salary of $39,996 as an intern for the state’s agriculture department.

Wait… nearly $40,000 for an internship position?? Most government internships are unpaid.

Although the Governor’s office is being investigated for political hirings, Blagojevich himself is not accused of any wrongdoing, and he has welcomed the investigation. Spokesperson Abby Ottenhoff pointed out that the governor is serious about reform and has reduced the state government workforce from 69,000 employees to 57,000, and adds that the acquaintances of Reitz got their jobs because they were qualified.

Still, Blago's approval rating is tanking, and he is focusing on “feel good legislation” to boost his image with voters. First there was All Kids, then support for military families, and now safer working conditions for Latino workers.

Blago must be desperately hoping for a few days without any bad news so he can score some points with Illinois voters, because right now it seems like only a matter of time before somebody busts out a t-shirt that says, “I Voted For Blago And All I Got Was This Lousy Governor.”