Gov. Bruce Rauner, criticized on the campaign trail for running companies in the past with few if any minorities at the top, on Monday ordered companies contracting with the state of Illinois to start counting how many veterans and minorities they employ or train.
Rauner hasn’t yet set any particular quotas or goals for participation by vets and minorities, nor did he lay out repercussions for those that don’t measure up.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” the newly installed governor said. “I want to measure the results. I want to see firsthand in the light of day, what is going on in training programs and in the apprentice programs in the organizations that contract with the state. Then we’ll decide from there when we know the facts and we see the trends, what appropriate action we can take further.”
Flanked by a select group of African-Americans, Hispanics and veterans, Rauner signed the executive order at Gage Park High School on the city’s Southwest Side, which hosted a Day of Service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday marking the birthday of the slain civil-rights leader.
The order also apparently requires all labor unions contracting with the state as well as contractors and subcontractors to report within 30 days how many minorities and veterans they employ and how many more they have in training apprenticeship programs.
And it orders the state’s Central Management Services department to assess by June 30 what state law requires regarding goals and preferences for the hiring of veterans in state contracts, and by December 31 a disparity study of how many minority- and veteran- owned businesses have been awarded contracts. Rauner said he wants CMS to recommend how to solve inequality in contract awards.
Rauner was called out during his campaign for a lack of diversity in top positions at GTCR, a venture capital company. Asked at the time why the company didn’t hire more minorities or women, he said, “We weren’t finding the folks. They weren’t there.”
Though the order doesn’t specifically mention businesses owned by women, the governor said they’d be included in his efforts to diversify the state’s work force.
As volunteers painted quotations and the people who uttered them on the walls of the giant school’s hallways, Rauner defended some of his recent appointments to top-level state jobs, pointing to Evelyn Sanguinetti as the state’s first Latina lieutenant governor; to the Rev. James Meeks, who’s to chair the Illinois State Board of Education; and to at least three other African-American women he’s called upon to head departments.
Rauner also said he would not rule out an expansion of gambling in the state to “maximize the opportunities to raise revenue that can help our social services” and education.
“Everything’s on the table,” he said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana , participate in City Year Chicago’s Martin Luther King Day festivities on Monday. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times
Gov Bruce Rauner participates in City Year Chicago’s MLK Day of service at Gage Park High School on Monday. | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times