Word on the Street: After 3 years, Rauner still not offering specifics on tech claim

Nobody has ever accused Bruce Rauner of being terribly original in his speeches to groups and organizations.

From event to event, his remarks have varied little in the three-plus years he’s been in office.

Last week while addressing the annual Innovations in Construction, Asphalt and Transportation conference, he uncorked one of the old classics, telling folks there (many of whom worked for or with the Illinois Department of Transportation) that the state doesn’t even have computers in a lot of departments.

We get that the state can sometimes be behind the times on its technology, but not having any computers seems … unusual.

As we’ve said, he’s offered up similar versions of this tale before, never with any specific example — like naming the department or agency and its union and bringing public pressure to bear.

So, we asked him Tuesday after his remarks which ones he was talking about.

His answer? “Haha. So, because it’s a negotiation with some of the unions, I don’t want to get into too much publicly. I’ll be walking through that list at the right time, but not right now.”

(Political columnist and blogger Rich Miller has noted several times that such a laugh at the beginning is a Rauner “tell” before a statement that may not exactly be accurate.)

Still, we wanted to check around some more.

Anders Lindall, the spokesman for AFSCME Council 31 representing some 40,000 state employees — easily the bulk of the state workforce — tells us this: “You can’t believe anything Bruce Rauner says, but you can always count on him to shift the blame. The truth is that technology is widely used across state government, and nothing in the union contract stands in the way of expanding or improving it.

“Since the governor has never backed these claims with any evidence, I suspect they exist only in his imagination,” he told us.

 

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