Office of Executive Inspector General
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
Totals may not add due to rounding.
Pursuant to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, the Office of Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor (OEIG) is an independent state agency that investigates allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, misconduct, nonfeasance, misfeasance, malfeasance, and violations of the Ethics Act and related laws or rules by entities under its jurisdiction. The OEIG’s primary functions are: Investigations, Revolving-Door Determinations, Ethics and Sexual Harassment Training, and Hiring and Employment Monitoring. The OEIG’s jurisdiction includes the Governor; the Lieutenant Governor; more than 300 executive branch state agencies, departments, and boards; the nine state public universities; and the four regional transit boards (the Regional Transportation Authority, the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace), comprising more than 170,000 public employees, appointees, and officials.
Within 30 days of receipt, each complaint must be evaluated to determine whether there will be an investigation, a referral of the matter to another agency, or a declination of the matter. Upon conclusion of an investigation and a finding of misconduct, the OEIG provides a copy of its Final Summary Report to the affected state agency and the appropriate ultimate jurisdictional authority, such as the Governor or the board of trustees of a state public university. When the OEIG makes a finding of misconduct, it may recommend employee discipline or termination or other remedial action. Public disclosure of OEIG Final Summary Reports is subject to the authority of the Executive Ethics Commission (EEC). The EEC’s public disclosure of an OEIG report is mandated in instances in which an employee is terminated or receives a suspension of three days or more. The EEC has discretion to release an OEIG report when misconduct is found but does not result in an employee’s termination or suspension for three or more days. Public disclosure of an OEIG report is not permitted when misconduct is not found. If the OEIG finds a violation of the Ethics Act has occurred, the OEIG may request that the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, on behalf of the OEIG, file a complaint regarding the matter with the EEC. If a complaint is filed and the EEC determines that a violation of the Ethics Act has occurred, it may levy a fine or issue injunctive relief. In fiscal year 2018, the OEIG received 2,724 complaints, initiated 90 investigations, and completed 96 investigations. Of the 96 completed investigations, 24 resulted in findings of reasonable cause to believe that there was wrongdoing. Moreover, 14 OEIG Final Summary Reports were publicly disclosed, resulting in greater public awareness of employee misconduct and serving as a deterrent to improper acts by public employees. At the close of fiscal year 2018, 100 investigations remained open.
The Ethics Act requires the OEIG to determine whether certain state employees, appointees, and officials are restricted from accepting specific employment opportunities or compensation prior to terminating state employment. Generally, revolving-door restrictions under the Ethics Act are intended to prevent former public servants who participate in contracting, licensing, or regulatory decisions from accepting employment from an entity that was directly implicated in those decisions.In fiscal year 2018, the OEIG investigated and made 181 revolving-door determinations.
All state employees, board members, and elected officials under the jurisdiction of the OEIG are required to complete an ethics training program overseen by the EEC and the OEIG on an annual basis. In fiscal year 2018, state employees, board members, and elected officials participated in 185,015 ethics training sessions overseen by the EEC and the OEIG. The OEIG produced ethics training for more than 50,000 employees and officials in agencies directly under the Illinois Governor and approved training plans and materials used by the four Chicago-area regional transit boards and the nine state public universities.
Sexual Harassment Training
In November 2017, the Governor signed Public Act 100-0554. Among other things, that law amended the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to require “each officer, member, and employee [to] complete, at least annually beginning in 2018, a sexual harassment training program.” 5 ILCS 430/5-10.5. Further, new employees must complete initial sexual harassment training within 30 days of the commencement of their employment or office. The law required the OEIG to oversee that sexual harassment training. As part of overseeing the sexual harassment training for the agencies within its jurisdiction, the OEIG has worked with the EEC to review and approve sexual harassment training program materials. In fiscal year 2018, the OEIG reviewed and approved 12 new employee training programs and five annual sexual harassment training programs. In addition to reviewing training materials, the OEIG also advised entities of the new sexual harassment training requirements, held one-on-one calls with ethics officers and Title IX coordinators to discuss the training requirements, and developed and circulated sample training materials. This is the first year that the OEIG has been charged with overseeing sexual harassment training, so the OEIG does not yet have a complete count of those individuals who took the sexual harassment trainings within its jurisdiction.
Hiring and Employment Monitoring
The Ethics Act directs the OEIG to “review hiring and employment files of each State agency within [its] jurisdiction to ensure compliance with Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois . . . and with all applicable employment laws.” 5 ILCS 430/20-20(9). The OEIG has created the Hiring and Employment Monitoring (HEM) division, which conducts compliance-based reviews of state hiring and employment procedures and decisions to ensure that they are lawful, merit-based, and/or justifiable. In fiscal year 2018, HEM reviewed 28 hiring sequences, performed 12 desk audits, and assessed 72 position classifications and related duties. Additionally, HEM works closely with the court-appointed monitor (Special Master) in Shakman, et al. v. Democratic Organization of Cook County, et al., a pending case in federal court that generally prohibits consideration of political affiliation or support, or lack thereof, in connection with hiring and other personnel decisions. The Special Master’s ongoing appointment related to the review and remediation of hiring issues at the Illinois Department of Transportation was expanded in May 2017 to include a review and listing of all positions under the Governor’s jurisdiction appropriately exempt from restrictions on hiring or affecting employment conditions on the basis of political reasons or factors. As called for in the Court’s Agreed Order, HEM has had significant involvement in the expanded review of exempt positions, including efforts to survey, verify, and analyze job duties being performed. This expanded review – which included providing initial recommendations for a particular agency at the end of fiscal year 2018 – is extensive; it is anticipated that initial recommendations regarding all exempt positions for the approximately 37 agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction will be made by the close of calendar year 2018. In addition to promoting awareness, HEM staff also engaged in numerous activities, including conducting hiring file reviews and monitoring interview sequences as they occur. HEM also plays an integral role in advising on appropriate changes to hiring and personnel procedures and decisions at state agencies, which is often done in consultation with the Special Master.
Fiscal Year 2019 Activities
During fiscal year 2019, the OEIG will continue to focus its resources on matters that are complex, significant, and systemic and that involve abuse of authority and resources, violations of the Ethics Act, and/or have the potential to materially influence the future conduct of public employees. The OEIG will also continue to conduct compliance-based reviews of personnel processes and decisions within the agencies under OEIG jurisdiction.