IDOT employee fired over ethics violations

2014-02-08T05:30:00Z 2014-02-08T06:34:58Z IDOT employee fired over ethics violationsT.J. Fowler Times Bureau The Quad-City Times
February 08, 2014 5:30 am  • 

SPRINGFIELD — A former Illinois Department of Transportation employee in Rock Island will be fined for politicking while on the clock, according to a decision filed by the state's executive inspector general.

Robert Brown, 55, resigned in September after state investigators say he spent hours of state-compensated time advising Tom Skorepa's failed campaign for Rock Island County State's Attorney.

The inspector's report says that Brown, formerly a section chief for one of IDOT's road sign production facilities, will be fined $4,000 for violating multiple ethics rules for state employees.

Over several months in 2011 and 2012, Brown spent more than 10 hours speaking with Skorepa in more than 54 phone calls, offering him advice on getting nominated to the Democratic ticket for state's attorney.

The report notes that, outside of work hours, Brown helped design political ads, ran errands and handed out flyers for Skorepa's campaign.

Brown has been a state employee since 2008 and was receiving a salary of $76,860 during his final year working for IDOT.

When investigators began interviewing Brown in November 2012, he denied speaking to Skorepa during work hours.

During subsequent interviews, investigators say Brown admitted speaking to Skorepa over the phone, but he claimed he spoke to him only to see how he was doing.

Later, Brown admitted that he made the phone calls and intentionally misled state investigators.

The state's Executive Ethics Commission fined Brown $3,500 for engaging in political activity on state time and $500 for misleading investigators.

IDOT officials declined to comment on the incident but confirmed Brown's resignation.

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