Tuesday, July 25, 2006

0 for 3 in Rolling Meadows

Governor Rod Blagojevich, his deputy governor and his press secretary couldn't come up with a single answer when asked today why his administration continues to change its story about the exploding hiring scandal in their office.

Blagojevich probably doesn't want to dig himself any deeper after this interview in October 2005 with the Tribune.

Blagojevich said that in the weeks after he won election but before he took office in January 2003, he and his staff consulted with numerous lawyers and former Gov. James Thompson, who headed his transition team, about the best way to make hiring decisions. Blagojevich promised to reform state government following the scandal-scarred administration of George Ryan, who is currently on trial.

"I think, in many ways, I was fortunate enough to be governor in the wake of the previous administration, Gov. Ryan's administration. As we were building our administration, we were mindful of some of the things that happened before, some of the structures that were not in place," he said. "And as we constructed our administration, we were determined to make sure we built in systems that could make sure that we protect the taxpayers' money and that we do the best job we possibly can to make sure that people work, work honestly and do the people's business to the best of their ability."

He said that his administration stressed that qualifications were key in all state employees who have been hired since he became governor in January 2003. "Qualifications. All the time. Again, the decisions that are made when it comes to who gets hired in different places, those decisions are made through a whole system that we have established," he said.
But if he isn't going to answer questions, why not Deputy Governor Brad Tusk, who, after all, is in charge of the office's communications efforts and the agencies that are under federal investigation for hiring abuses.

In deflecting some questions a few weeks ago, Tusk told journalist/blogger Jeff Berkowitz he "doesn't do politics." Apparently he doesn't do government, either.

Press Secretary Abby Ottenhoff might as well bring a giant spinning wheel with different excuses and give it tug every time a reporter asks a question. The Wheel of Misinformation. A new lottery game! Maybe that lottery scheme will work after all, Bradley. Then you might be able to pay for one of your new focus group phrases like All-Kids. I love it when a plan comes together.

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