All options being considered in effort to block IDOT move
Springfield-area officials met Friday to discuss legal options to block the move of 150 state transportation jobs to southern Illinois, but reached no conclusion.
Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, emerged from the one-hour meeting to say all possible parties to the case will continue to study their options.
“We’re not sure we’re going to do anything,” Bomke said. “We’re going to look at our options. We want to make sure we have the strong legal evidence to prevent the governor from moving before we do any filing.”
“This is a process, not an event,” added Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, who was also at the meeting. “There’s a lot of work to do before we file something. This is by no means ready to go.”
Bomke said possible grounds for a lawsuit include:
-- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has not signed off on the move as required by law.
-- State road fund money cannot be used to buy office space, as is the plan at the new location in Harrisburg.
-- The property the state wants to purchase to house the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Traffic Safety lies within a floodplain, and an executive order issued by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2006 prohibits state agencies from using buildings in flood-prone areas.
The lawmakers hope that a judge would at least issue a temporary restraining order that would put the brakes on the move until a more thorough court hearing is held.
Bomke, Brauer, Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, Mayor Tim Davlin and members of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce all participated in Friday’s meeting at the chamber’s offices. Representatives of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Teamsters union also participated. The two unions represent most of the traffic safety workers that Blagojevich wants to relocate.
Earlier this week, Bomke and others said a lawsuit might be filed after Blagojevich said he would proceed with the move despite a bipartisan legislative panel voting unanimously against it. The vote by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability is not binding on the governor.
IDOT says moving the traffic safety division will save the state money and provide an economic boost to southern Illinois.
Bomke, Poe, Brauer and Davlin argue that there is ample and inexpensive office space in Springfield to house the employees. They also say the move will cause financial and personal hardships on the workers.
Blagojevich has promised the current employees that none will have to move if they choose not to. He says they’ll be found other state jobs in the Springfield area with the same salaries and benefits.
Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527 email@example.com.