September 21, 2018

Cites steps as improvements in ethics, transparency, efficiency

CHICAGO — Gov. Bruce Rauner today issued executive orders eliminating 53 boards and commissions that serve no public purpose and have been inactive for years, some for as long as two full decades.

“This is a matter of good government through transparency,” Rauner said. “The people of Illinois need to understand the ongoing work of the state. They should not be led to believe that people are still at work doing tasks that were completed 10 years ago, or that they are supporting advisory roles for which the need expired in the 1990s.”

Over the years, the State of Illinois has created more than 600 authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, committees, councils, task forces and other similar entities. Many of them have completed their work and no longer operate, yet they still appear in State publications, public-facing websites, and Legislative Research Unit reports as if they were still doing the people’s work.

Friday’s executive orders, EO 18-10 and EO 18-11, are a follow on EO 18-5 that Rauner issued earlier this year abolishing 19 other moribund entities. Collectively, the orders eliminate 72 redundant or inactive boards and commissions so that executive branch operations are more transparent and efficient.

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One of the organizations that Rauner eliminated, last Friday — the State Government Accountability Council — was formed in 1999 and there isn’t any recorded activity since that time. Another, the Illinois Board of Athletic Trainers, last met a decade ago in 2008.

Rauner has used his constitutional executive authority to address ethical issues ranging from personal codes of conduct, conflicts of interest, and recrimination against employees reporting illegal behavior. Along those lines, the governor today also issued Executive Order 18-12, eliminating nepotism in state hiring. The move brings Illinois in line with more than half U.S. states including Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan.

The order prohibits executive agency heads from the practice of nepotism in the appointment, promotion or recommendation of a relative to any agency or department under their control.

Rauner has supported ethics legislation as well. In June of this year his signature gave the legislature’s top watchdog freedom to investigate sexual harassment complaints without first having to get approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, a panel of lawmakers appointed by House and Senate leaders of both parties.

He also signed legislation banning members of the General Assembly from using any public funds, including their member office allowances, as “hush money” to keep someone silent as part of a settlement of a sexual harassment case.

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