Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Dim View Of Brilliance

Would someone please turn on the lights for the powers-that-be in Illinois? The combined wattage being used to grade state employees test results wouldn't turn on a refrigerator light bulb.

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois Inspector General Over Civil Rights Violations


Press Contact:
John Bambenek

Champaign, IL, Jan. 26, 2007 – on Friday, John Bambenek, an academic professional at the University of Illinois, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Office of the Executive Inspector General alleging 15 different civil rights infringements.

Late last month and early this month about 16,000 state employees received notification that they were in violation of state law because they took the annual ethics training too fast. These notifications summarily declared them guilty of violating the law, asked them to read an ethics packet, and included a form that indicates that they read the material and admit they were non-compliant.

According to Bambenek, “the state cannot summarily declare you guilty of a legal offense without the benefit of a hearing, providing the evidence, allowing challenges, or the ability to appeal. The Inspector General’s office, in a rush to railroad the smartest employees of the state, completely tried to do away with due process and tried to coerce those employees into signing confessions.”

The Inspector General has apparently come up with some guideline which has not been released to determine who took the test too fast. This ended up snaring ten percent of state employees including professors, graduate students, and other highly intelligent staff. One such person who got a letter has 32 years of legal experience and teaches ethics law at SIU.

The letters that were sent out to the accused also stated that if they did not sign the letter they were subject to other disciplinary action “up to including termination.” The Illinois Ethics Act provides only for fines up to $5,000 for violations relating to ethics training, termination is applied to cases that are usually also Class A misdemeanors.

An emergency hearing for a preliminary injunction preventing the Inspector General from carrying out his threat to fire those employees is pending.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The case number is 07-2012. Documents relating to the case can be seen at online.

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 3:11 PM