Friday, May 12, 2006

State employees fired

Two state employees have been fired after a year-long investigation into the hiring practices of the state’s main administrative agency, Central Management Services. The agency director, Dawn DeFraties, and her deputy, Michael Casey, were fired for allegedly fudging 28 applications for civil service jobs. That made the applicants more likely to be hired even if they weren’t qualified. Not all of the 28 people were hired, according to a governor’s spokeswoman, Abby Ottenhoff.

In a Chicago press conference Monday, John Harris, the governor’s chief of staff, and Bill Quinlan, chief counsel to the governor, said the investigation started when the state brought in a consultant to help streamline operations. The consultant reported several irregularities, which made their way up to the state’s independent inspector general.

The governor’s office also hired a law firm to take a broader look at the entire hiring process, which is ongoing, Ottenhoff said.

Findings were turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s office, with investigations still pending. “There could be potential criminal activity, which is for the attorney general’s office to decide,” Quinlan said.

Both employees have appealed.

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