Springfield mayor urges gov. not to move IDOT jobs in ad

By The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The mayor of the capital city scolded Gov. Rod Blagojevich in a newspaper ad Sunday for trying to move more than 100 Department of Transportation jobs to southern Illinois.

Tim Davlin, a Democrat who has had friendly relations with the governor, argued the transfer would hit Springfield the same way a mine closing would harm southern Illinois or a factory closing would affect Rockford.

“Since the seat of government was moved to Springfield in 1839, government has been the industry of our city. It pays the bills, feeds the kids, puts roofs over the heads of our citizens,” Davlin said in the ad in The State Journal-Register.

Money for the ad came from the Springfield chamber of commerce and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, among other groups.

Blagojevich’s press office didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the ad.

The Democratic governor announced last month that he wanted to move IDOT’s traffic safety division out of Springfield. He said the division was paying too much rent for its Springfield office and could get a better price in southern Illinois. Blagojevich also argued that Springfield shouldn’t be the only community to get an economic boost from state government.

AFSCME and Springfield-area legislators oppose the move and have discussed legal action and labor complaints to block the action.

Blagojevich hasn’t specified where the jobs would be relocated, although Benton has been mentioned as a possibility. Davlin’s ad says the state won’t save any money.

“I share the sentiments of thousands when I say we dearly hope that yours was not a political decision,” the ad said. “I know it wasn’t a business decision because Springfield has tens of thousands of square feet of commercial office space that is available at costs lower than market averages.”