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updated: 5/9/2011 5:54 AM

Tollway political hires fired for slacking off, harassment

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  • Two tollway employees were fired after being caught sleeping on the job -- twice -- and two were disciplined for creating hostile work environments, an Illinois State Toll Highway Authority audit found.

      Two tollway employees were fired after being caught sleeping on the job -- twice -- and two were disciplined for creating hostile work environments, an Illinois State Toll Highway Authority audit found.
    GEORGE LECLAIRE/File

 
 

Good connections don't necessarily mean good attitudes for a few current and former toll road employees.

Sleeping on the job, bucking authority and creating a hostile work environment are among their flaws listed in an Illinois State Toll Highway Authority audit.

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The agency investigated 42 current and former employees after a media report identified them as political hires. The 42 started at the authority in 2003 and 2004.

An audit report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request indicates that nine of those workers did not meet the minimum requirements for their jobs.

Some of those hires also got away with actions you'd think would lead to being speedily canned. Here's some examples.

• Two employees hired as supervisors were disciplined for creating hostile work environments.

• One individual went through eight disciplinary proceedings.

• One employee went through 11 disciplinary proceedings and has been suspended twice.

• Two employees were caught sleeping on the job and fired after the second incident. One had been let go previously but rehired.

• Two employees quit after seven days on the job but were rehired.

Political hiring has dogged the tollway under both Republican and Democrat governors. Since those hires occurred, leadership at the agency has changed hands and most of the employees have left.

The tollway, in a statement, said that officials "take employee performance very seriously and (have) put new management policies in place to ensure that all employees are held to the same standards and that progressive discipline is consistently followed. We've also filled some key management positions to ensure professional and proper oversight are maintained."

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