Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says it's time to decide how long state employees should be allowed to take paid leave while they're under investigation.
His remarks were prompted by a Chicago Sun-Times expose centering on three state fire marshal's workers who went on
paid leave in April 2003, as a joint state-federal probe of the fire marshal's office took shape. For most or all of the next
2 years, the three were paid to do nothing.
Two of the employees, Michael P. O'Donnell and John T. Brennan, weren't formally fired until February of this year; the
third, John "Jack" Ahern, wasn't dismissed until 3 months later. All told, the Sun-Times reports, taxpayers spent more
than $361,000 to keep the three on paid leave.
"That's a discussion we're having internally," Blagojevich said when asked about the matter. "We're going to make some
He didn't give any indication how much paid leave would be ideal. "You want to give enough time for the right information and
the truth to get out," he said, "and then you want to be in a position to be able to safeguard taxpayers' money and make sure
the taxpayers are getting the bang for the buck they deserve."
None of the former employees has been accused of criminal wrongdoing.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times