Winter storm proves Illinois has plenty of ‘non-essential’ government workers


By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Snow plow drivers, state troopers, prison guards and Gov. Pat Quinn (and his spokespeople) are apparently just about all the state government Illinois needs.

In the grasp of a “polar vortex,” Illinois closed state government offices and told all non-essential government workers to stay home.

“We said to all of those in critical response, ‘You gotta be here,’” Quinn said at an apparently critical news conference in Chicago on Monday. “My job is to be here when people really need our help…I think it’s important that our government be here when people need us.”

But that begs the question, who is a non-essential government worker?

Thousands of people who answer phones in the massive state bureaucracy were told to stay home. Same with the folks who sell license plates and the people who run Illinois’ universities. Even the folks implementing Obamacare got a day off because they are not needed.

The danger from the winter storm that has frozen the United States is real. Illinois’ Department of Transportation spent the weekend plowing miles of interstates. The Illinois National Guard was deployed to help stranded drivers and the Illinois State Police have been trying to help keep the roads safe and clear.

The cost for that, Quinn said, will not be known for a while. Though the governor doesn’t sound as if he cares.

“You don’t scrimp when it comes to public safety,” Quinn said. “In the end we will calculate it. “

Schools across the state canceled classes (more for a fear of the cold wait at the bus stop than anything else), and cities and counties also closed their doors.

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