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State Ethics Exam Is Unethical, Lawyer Says

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A lawyer claims an ethics training exam for state employees is unethical because it uses a real-life example of two workers who were fired for arranging state jobs for politically connected applicants, but misleads users about the outcome of the example. Such a case backfired on Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration.

Gov Blagojevich's administration fired Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey. DeFraties and Casey claimed that the governor's office was behind the appointments and a Sangamon County judge agreed in an August ruling, calling the Blagojevich administration's actions "bizarre" and "Kafkaesque."

The questionable passage on the exam states: "An OEIG (Inspector General) investigation found that certain state job applications, which appeared to be sponsored by individuals on the basis of the applicants' political affiliation, received special treatment. The job applications from those individuals were handled separately by the state's central personnel organization. In some cases, applications were returned to the applicants so that they could be corrected and resubmitted, so that they might receive the highest grade, that is, 'A.'"

The problem is that when the user clicks on the outcome button, the exam reveals that the workers were disciplined.

"This is ethically and morally wrong," said Carl Draper, an attorney representing DeFraties and Casey. "They should not be using this as an example because they did not prove what the test says happened."

The exam is issued by the state's Office of the Executive Inspector General. Deputy Inspector General Gilbert Jimenez told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the question is a hypothetical situation.

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