Public Accountability Report Public Accountability Report

Office of Executive Inspector General
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
  FY 2019 FY 2018
Reporting Programs Expenditures Headcount Expenditures Headcount
General Investigations $ 4,955.2 53.0 $ 6,199.5 52.0
Regional Transit Board Investigations $ 1,105.0 8.0 $ 1,006.0 7.0
Hiring and Employment Monitoring (HEM) $ 508.8 9.0 $ 587.9 7.0
External Compliance and Outreach $ 147.4 3.0 $ 362.0 3.0
Totals $ 6,716.4 73.0 $ 8,155.4 69.0

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Agency Narrative

Pursuant to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (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, 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 prevention 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.

Investigations

Within 30 days of receipt, each complaint must be evaluated to determine whether there will be an investigation, 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 when 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 2019, the OEIG received 2,546 complaints, initiated 96 investigations, and completed 99 investigations. Of the 99 completed investigations, 27 resulted in findings of reasonable cause to believe that there was wrongdoing. Moreover, 15 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 2019, 97 investigations remained open.

Revolving-Door Determinations

The Ethics Act requires the OEIG to determine whether certain state employees, appointees, and officials are restricted from accepting specific employment opportunities or compensation after 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 2019, the OEIG investigated and made 189 revolving-door determinations.

Ethics and Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

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 calendar year 2018, state employees, board members, and elected officials participated in over 185,000 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 Governor, and approved training plans and materials used by the four Chicago-area Regional Transit Boards and the nine state public universities.

In November 2017, the Governor signed Public Act 100-0554. Among other things, that law amended the Ethics Act to require each officer, member, and employee to complete annual sexual harassment prevention training beginning in 2018. The law required the OEIG and the EEC to oversee that harassment prevention training. The harassment prevention training in calendar years 2018 and 2019 focused on sexual harassment prevention. Beginning in 2020, per Public Act 101-0221, harassment prevention training will expand to other types of unlawful harassment and discrimination, as well as sexual harassment.  

As part of overseeing harassment prevention training for the agencies within its jurisdiction, the OEIG has worked with the EEC to review and approve harassment prevention training program materials. In calendar year 2018, the OEIG reviewed and approved 33 harassment prevention training programs. In that same year, entities under the OEIG’s jurisdiction reported that over 160,000 harassment prevention training programs were completed. In addition to reviewing training materials, the OEIG also advised entities of the new harassment prevention 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. 

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 2019, HEM reviewed 14 hiring sequences, performed 38 desk audits, and engaged in 2,266 assessments of position classifications, qualifications, and duties. Additionally, HEM worked extensively 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 (IDOT) was expanded in May 2017 to include a review and listing of all positions under the Governor’s jurisdiction to determine if they are 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 – and its work contributed to the publication of the Shakman Exempt List this fiscal year, which is inclusive of over 1,000 positions. HEM staff also assisted in the review and identification of IDOT’s technical positions to determine if they were deemed appropriately exempt under the Personnel Code: HEM evaluated the proposed minimum required qualifications for over 1,000 proposed technical IDOT positions.     

HEM staff also worked extensively with its partners on the formation of a statewide comprehensive employment plan governing most state hiring, the initial work for which resulted in the entry of an agreed federal court order detailing general hiring-related principles and commitments, as well as detailed processes for hiring into exempt positions.

Fiscal Year 2020 Activities

During fiscal year 2020, the OEIG will continue to focus its resources on matters that are complex, significant, 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.