Employees see chaos from traffic safety move to southern Illinois

Ryan Keith

Cathy McGill isn’t ready to retire after 38 years on the job at the Illinois Department of Transportation. She and other employees of the traffic safety division definitely don’t want to give up their lives here and possibly leave family and friends behind.

She and four co-workers talked with reporters this afternoon from their union’s headquarters about the personal and professional fallout they fear will come from the division moving to southern Illinois.

“It’s unbelievable what will be affected by this move,” McGill said at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees building in downtown Springfield.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has pushed to move the traffic safety division to Harrisburg to give a depressed area an economic boost and put state government in closer reach of southern Illinois.

But traffic safety employees say it will throw their lives into chaos and hurt government and those served by the division by needlessly disrupting a smooth-running operation.

A panel of state lawmakers will have a public hearing next Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Capitol to review the move. Employees, lawmakers, IDOT officials and others are among those scheduled to debate the pros and cons of the idea.