NEWS

Springfield mayor waits for hearing on IDOT move

Chris Wetterich

Mayor Tim Davlin expects the next step in his strategy to stop more than 100 Illinois Department of Transportation jobs from moving to southern Illinois will not take place until the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability has a hearing in July or August, a spokesman said Monday.

Davlin wrote a letter to Gov. Rod Blagojevich decrying the move and published the letter in a full-page advertisement in Sunday’s State Journal-Register. 

His spokesman, Ernie Slottag, said the letter was hand-delivered to the governor’s office before it was published in the newspaper.

The ad, which was paid for with $5,467.69 from the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, said state government “pays the bills, feeds the kids, puts roofs over the heads of our citizens.”

“Because our city has provided the workforce for state government over the last 169 years, we have not attracted other major industries,” Davlin wrote. “So when you make a decision to move jobs — and the families who rely on them — to new geographic locations within Illinois, you tear at the very fabric of Mr. Lincoln’s hometown.”

While Davlin wrote the letter, he declined to confront the governor personally before the end of the legislative session in May, when he had the chance at a meeting with the fellow Democrat about an unrelated subject.

“I didn’t have that opportunity,” Davlin said last week after being asked why he had not talked to Blagojevich about the job relocations. “I know that he certainly knows I’d like to talk to him about it. We’ll certainly be putting out our pleas to him.”

Slottag said the mayor thought it was appropriate to publish the advertisement because Davlin wants “to continue to support the momentum to keep the jobs here.”

Slottag said Davlin had written the letter himself, although aides did “some tweaking.”

“It was primarily his letter,” Slottag said. 

Sarah Wolin, a chamber spokeswoman, said the group will continue working with Davlin and public employee unions to save the jobs. 

“We’re really working with those partners,” Wolin said. “Anything we can do to make that a reality is important to us.”

Chris Wetterich can be reached at (217) 788-1523 or chris.wetterich@sj-r.com.