Gov. Bruce Rauner campaigned on a promise to shake up Springfield. He started that process on Tuesday, his first full day in office, by seeking to rescind numerous appointments and hires by his predecessor and setting new ethics rules for employees of executive branch departments and agencies under his command.
Under a new executive order, which Rauner signed during his first press conference as governor, executive branch state employees would be forbidden from negotiating potential jobs with lobbying firms while they are employed by the state. Once they've left state government, executive branch employees will be forbidden from working as lobbyists or for lobbying firms for a year. (Executive branch employees are those who work for state entities over which the governor has control. These are among the biggest components of state government -- the departments of transportation, corrections and human services are three prime examples.)
It's a pretty stringent rule. A fairly common career path for high-ranking state officials involves spending time in government to learn the system and the people and then going to work as a lobbyist -- at considerably higher pay -- to influence the same system and people. This especially is true in highly technical, highly regulated fields like energy, transportation, gambling, health care and environmental issues, to name just five. It's so stringent that Rauner gave it an effective date of Feb. 15 to allow former Quinn administration officials to stay on during the transition period and still be free to pursue lobbying jobs when they leave at the end of the month.
Read more about Rauner's busy first day in office at Reboot Illinois.
These Day One actions come after an inaugural speech in which Rauner asked his fellow Illinoisans to join him in sacrificing for the state.
Addressing a large and enthusiastic crowd at Springfield's Prairie Capital Convention Center immediately after taking the oath of office, Rauner sounded at once conciliatory -- he thanked his predecessor, Gov. Pat Quinn, and urged bipartisanship several times -- and stern. He lamented the state's economic decline while also issuing a rallying cry to "return Illinois to greatness."
Read more recap and analysis of Rauner's first speech as governor at Reboot Illinois.