Report: Friends, family of Democrats hired under ex-governor

CHICAGO (AP) — A new report by a court-appointed watchdog charged with looking into patronage hiring at the Illinois transportation department details how friends and relatives of top Democrats were hired under former Gov. Pat Quinn, even as many had little or no experience. The Chicago Tribune reports the findings released Monday are the result of an inquiry that began in 2014 after a federal judge assigned a lawyer to dig into hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation. At issue were hundreds of people hired into “staff assistant” positions after administration officials bypassed strict personnel rules aimed at stopping politics from influencing Illinois hiring. Court monitor Noelle Brennan says Quinn’s office “played a key role in the staff assistant abuse at IDOT.” Quinn’s former chief of staff, Ryan Croke, says he had to “respectfully disagree” with the report’s conclusions.