From the campaign of John Bambenek for State Senate (52nd District)…
Candidate Comments on Controversy Over Former Alderman John Rice
CHAMPAIGN, IL (February 9, 2012) — The Illinois Department of Transportation’s hiring of ousted 36th Ward Alderman John Rice is a prime example of the problems our state faces regarding corruption in government. Rice stated that he applied for the $84,420 per year position after seeing it posted online. However, Rice’s handwritten application dated November 21, 2011 was filed the same day he started with the Illinois Department of Transportation, according to records obtained by the Chicago News Cooperative. This was the same day the appointment became effective. In addition, Rice listed Mark Altman as one of three references on his application; Altman was a Chicago Fire Department captain who had been accused of assaulting a police office as police and fire marine units were conducting a rescue operation in November. While Governor Quinn has denied any involvement in this situation, IDOT blamed Michael Stout. Stout, who has since resigned, has denied he hired Rice. Yet, Rice was hired and has been working for IDOT.
State Senatorial candidate John Bambenek commented, “Rice’s hiring is a clear example of just how far current leadership in the State of Illinois has gone away from utilizing fair hiring practices. This situation is just one example of how Governor Quinn and his supporters have continued to promote the use of power and patronage regarding hiring instead of engaging in transparent, qualifications-based procedures. This is not a new development. According to Illinois Issues, in 1980, Quinn already has been involved in patronage such as this. If elected, I will push for reform in our state to create hiring practices so that those who are qualified, not just those who are already involved, have an opportunity to be considered.”
Bambenek continued, “I plan to propose and advocate for legislation that will create real hiring reform. I will establish that open positions are properly posted and regulations are enforced such that there is fair, merit-based competition. This will ensure that the State of Illinois has the highest quality staff. In addition, I plan to pass legislation designed to eliminate the influence of corrupt officials, such as Rod Blagojevich, so that our state workers are solely loyal to the interests of the citizens of Illinois.”
Protecting the interests of the citizens of Illinois is of the utmost concern to Bambenek, who opposes patronage and other practices that fail to provide Illinois agencies with qualified personnel.