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Blagojevich Sat Aug 07 2010

Damage Done By Ousted Governor is Still Being Evaluated

Well I hear the jury went home today without a verdict in Blagojevich's trial. Who knows what's going on there as they continue to delibrate. Hay is being made of the political implications of not only Illinois Democrats but for President Obama. After all, this is Obama's old senate seat for whom Blago was charged with attempting to auction off.

In any event before he did finally self destruct what was Blago's legacy? This article from Quad-Cities online attempts to answer that very question via CapFax:

Ex-governor Rod Blagojevich has committed "crimes" against Illinois arguably worse than those of corruption. In his six years in office, Blagojevich mismanaged the state bureaucracy into demoralized chaos and projected to the world such unpredictability, instability and general buffoonery that business has come to see the state as a questionable place, at best, in which to locate or expand.

Blagojevich cut state personnel from 87,000 in 2002 to 70,000 in 2008, according to the Illinois Office of the Comptroller. Illinois now ranks 50th in the number of state employees per 10,000 population, at 97, while the national average is 143 per 10,000 population, and in Iowa, 179, and Indiana, 141.

Good you say, but at the same time, since 2003, he was increasing union contract wages by 36 percent (about 50 percent if you add in longevity step increases and compounding). This has had the effect of reducing the ranks severely while increasing total overall personnel costs

While union employees were reaping big increases, salaries for "merit compensation" (management and supervisory) employees were frozen.

...

Another management employee complains that under Blagojevich senior management ranks swelled to provide jobs for friends, while the employees who delivered front-line services were being cut back. "We used to have a director and one deputy director at our agency," my friend said. "Now we have so many deputy directors they are tripping over one another."

I am told there are 47 or more Illinois state government work sites where there are no supervisory employees present.

Under Blagojevich, the state's reputation as a place to do business has suffered as well. We should have a good reputation. Our business taxes are moderate overall; we are at the center of a huge market, and we have a rich transportation system. Yet according to CEO magazine, the Illinois business climate ranks 46th among the 50 states; Forbes, another business publication, says we rank 44th. Part of the reason for the abysmal ratings, I believe, is the perception that Illinois decision-makers are unpredictable and unstable. Business leaders crave predictability and stability, which helps them plan for the future.

...

Add to all this the surreal behavior of Blagojevich, twice elected as governor by Illinois voters, and you have a state which has become the punching bag of late night TV jokesters.

Illinois state government delivers direct services to about 3 million of our 13 million residents, not including those enrolled in education. Many of these citizens are aged, mentally ill, severely disabled. Good management of the state requires calm, reasoned, ideally inspirational leadership. Rod Blagojevich has instead been a study in dysfunctional management, and the state's most vulnerable citizens are worse off as a result. It's a real crime.

He likes to say that he was stolen from the people of Illinois. Blagojevich unfortunately didn't appear to have served the people of this state very well.

 

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