“It is incredibly irresponsible what’s happened at the tollway. Paying for staff lunches and making blatant political hires who are connected to lawmakers is not how a government agency is supposed to operate,” said Carroll. “We now need to seek greater transparency and higher standards for the tollway’s management structure to end the ongoing dysfunction.”
The Illinois Tollway Authority was found to make unethical decisions, which included use of patronage with staff hirings, contract management and frivolous expense of tax dollars. From 2010 to 2016, tollway staffers spent $3,790 to attend banquet and luncheons. Between 2017 and 2018, a smaller timespan, those staffers spent 130 percent more than past years combined.
Further questionable decisions include spending nearly a million on wages for six political insiders with the Republican Party and approving a $157 million contract with a firm that has ties to numerous board members. Carroll, joined by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, passed legislation that will terminate current board directors’ terms and allow the incoming governor to make new appointments, helping prevent favoritism and reduce conflicts of interest.. The bill was Senate Bill 1298.
“This bill allows for a fresh start at the Illinois Tollway Authority that is clearly needed to reestablish trust and accountability there,” Carroll said. “These changes ensure that operations may resume efficiently and effectively while protecting taxpayer dollars.”