Today I called The Chicago Department of Water Management offices to find out about the memo that many City of Chicago Department of Water Management Laborers are upset about. My call was forwarded to Gary Litherland, the DOWM spokesman. Gary knew nothing about this and did not get back to Chicago Clout for a comment. Many City employees are getting time off for not wearing proper gear. Many city workers get hurt thanks to a foolish lack of common sense safety rules. Chicago is broke and Alderman Burke has stopped paying injured City Workers because he is an idiot. Rahm left him to shake down venders for political contributions.
Many City DOWM employees feel D.C. Hightower is acting mighty uppity since Paul Hansen got removed for racist emails. One employee said, “Give a N@$$#$” some power and they act the fool”. I want all DOWM Management employees to know, wear your safety gear, and if they order you to work in a ditch with no shoring, call 911. You need shoring and all safety gear to live a decent life when you get old. Work safe, no exceptions. Chicago Clout is still waiting for the Konrad Tucharski Safety records. Do not allow Konrad to die in vain. Work safe. Work smart.
If you are verbally assaulted by any City of Chicago employee, call 911. Make a record of the actions. Do not tolerate any negative behavior against you. Take pictures. I never had a bad experience from Dwyane Hightower, he always acted in a professional manner toward me. I though he was very tolerant under the circumstances of blatant racism and outrageous behavior by Barrett Murphy and William “putz” Bresnahan. Most laborers are lucky to have a Union that cares about the working man, just imagine if you had a windbag like Mike Tierney from Plumbers Local 130 moping around. Count your blessings Local 1092, wear your gear and work as if your life depends on it, it might.
City of Chicago Department of Water Management employees at the Jardine water Plant gave a sigh of relief when they found out a couple of days ago, Plumbing Inspector Johathon P. Brennan decided to retire. Mr. Brennan was allegedly subject to a one-year investigation by the Chicago Inspector General’s Office. The Inspector General is a second-rate organization that drags on investigations with poor results. This might be the exception. According to video obtained by Jardine Plant security, a man with a crazy stupid look (Mike “Butch” Tierney) entered the Jardine Filtration Plant and met with Burt Resco to place Johathon on Administrative Leave. August 2, 2017. Some people like Carl Jackson and Michael Tucker could use a new Plumbing Inspector a.s.a.p. However, we know the Plumber’s Local 130 must approve the new Plumbing Inspector, so it again another political assignment. This would be a good job for an injured Plumber, but insider say the position is already spoken for. It is ironic that Michael Tierney a fat union goon, was accused of taking bribes while he was the North District Superintendent, a job just held by Paul Hansen. I would not let Tierney anywhere near the Jardine Plant, but phony contracts that pay the democratic political machine must be protected. Maybe John C. D’Amico should step in when he sees Plumbing Inspectors calling receptionists “Nigger”, but he has to protect his two jobs making $250,000.00 per year. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was sorry and asked media outlets to keep the story mum. I think the Mayor of Chicago needs to provide psychological services for employees now. As a City of Chicago Plumber, I would like to apologize to my fellow black employees and those that accept this behavior as normal. Alderman Burke needs to keep his clout boys under control.
Many city of Chicago employees suffer mental and physical injuries due to workplace violence and unsafe working injuries. This video will explain to people the many pitfalls of working in a dangerous environment. We explore the victims of hateful emails sent by employees of the City of Chicago and the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. Chairman Joann M. Fratianni has been asked to step in and stop insurance companies and the Chicago Committee on Finance, from stopping benefits when the consequences are so life threatening. Many factors play into forcing victims of workers compensation to have serious health issues and mental breakdowns, due to the criminal activities of lawyers sworn to protect the law. Many folks have mental issues and you need professional care. When you do hire a Licensed Professional that cares.
Disclaimer: This guest is not my doctor. I am grateful for her care towards other human being.
When you need a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, call Doctor Kathleen A. Krupica, Psy.D 4001 West Devon Ave Suite 206 Chicago Illinois 60646. She is also a witness “expert” in Workers Compensation cases. Get the care you need.
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Exempts from public inspection certain information collected by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission from self-insureds and papers, documents, reports, or evidence relevant to a workers’ compensation fraud investigation conducted by the Department of Insurance. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 regarding workers’ compensation fraud penalties. Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act. Makes changes concerning: when an accidental injury shall not be considered to be “arising out of and in the course of employment” if the accidental injury or medical condition occurred while the claimant was traveling away from the employer’s premises; the maximum compensation rate for a period of temporary total incapacity; compensation awards for injuries to the shoulder and hip; the maximum allowable payment for certain service categories; the assignment and reassignment of arbitrators to hearing sites; the creation of an evidence based drug formulary; annual reports on the state of self-insurance for workers’ compensation in Illinois; and other matters. Effective immediately.
Editorial: Pull back curtain on Ald. Burke’s workers comp fiefdom
EDITORIALS 02/28/2016, 02:07pm
Ald. Ed Burke at the Chicago City Council meeting. Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Brian Jackson/ for the Sun-Times
For more than a century in Chicago, a mere City Council committee — now tightly controlled by a single powerful alderman — has called the shots on all worker compensation claims, in recent years shelling out what experts say is a “staggering” amount of money.
Feel free to scream about that the next time Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Council decide to jack up your property taxes. Demand that they take Ald. Ed Burke down a peg first and bring the Chicago Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation into the 21st century.
Across the country, big cities have placed the responsibility for overseeing millions of dollars in payments to municipal workers injured or killed on the job under the control of a city department.
The New York City Law Department handles the Big Apple’s worker compensation claims. In Los Angeles, the city Personnel Department administers them.
But in Chicago? Here, the Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation, bizarrely, is under the purview of the City Council Committee on Finance. Under the city’s municipal code, it’s been that way since at least 1913.
That means the city’s $100 million-a-year workers’ comp fiefdom is headed by Burke, alderman of the 14th Ward and longtime Finance Committee chairman.
The municipal code also gives Burke alone the power to hire workmen’s comp employees. Audits of the bureau’s claim decisions are not required.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson has no auditing oversight, thanks to a recent City Council “IG-Light” compromise that walled off workmen’s comp and other programs controlled by aldermen from IG audits.
Eugene Keefe of the Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates workers’ compensation defense law firm once called the city’s $115 million payout in 2011 workmen’s comp claims “staggering.”
“No municipality in the United States pays that much or anything close to that much for workers’ compensation benefits,” Keefe wrote back in 2012. “Finance Chairman Ed Burke has been running that money-hemorrhaging program with an iron fist and as secretly as it can be run for decades.”
We’ve seen little evidence that much has changed since – except that the city’s finances have worsened to crisis levels.
At a time when Chicago faces budget woes up the wazoo, the organizational structure of the Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation is a blazing example of bad government. It is rife with the potential for cronyism, waste and inefficiency just when Chicago has no pennies to spare.
Two aldermen are trying to bring this more than 100-year-old anomaly into the modern era.
A resolution by Aldermen John Arena (45th) and Scott Waguespack (32nd) calls for hearings into the city’s workmen’s comp practices by the City Council’s Committee on Budget and Government Operations.
The aldermanic pair want to hear exactly what procedures the Finance Committee uses to investigate and process claims and to check for fraud. They want to explore if it makes sense to move all these functions into the city’s executive branch — and if so, where.
They have suggested the city Law Department as one destination, although that city bastion could be busy at the moment battling nagging questions about police shootings.
Finance Committee officials insist workmen’s comp auditing is done. For at least the last two years, Aon Risk Solutions has conducted a “Workers’ Compensation Reserve Analysis and Forecast.” Those numbers are eventually plugged into the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
The problem is, Waguespack said, the number crunchers “are given dollar amounts and they add them up and see if 2 plus 2 is 4. But they don’t look at how you got 2 plus 2.”
Pulling back the curtain on the operations of the city’s workmen’s comp program with a public hearing would be a welcomed move.
And graduating from such a hearing to a successful City Council ordinance that would amend the Municipal Code and put workmen’s comp in the executive branch would be even better. Doing so would make workmen’s comp subject to IG audits that aldermen recently prohibited with their gutted IG ordinance.
But this is Chicago.
Chances are, the Arena-Waguespack resolution will never make it to a hearing. The parliamentary maneuvering has already begun, aldermen say, with moves afoot to transfer the resolution to Burke’s Finance Committee. Or, it could sit forever in the Rules Committee, never to see the light of day.
And Chicago could remain stuck in the 1900s when it comes to workmen’s comp — but with 21st-century-sized workmen’s comp bills.
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On January 7, 2013, city worker Reginald Williams Sr., who has worked with the Department of Transportation for over 20 years was injured on the job.
He was a passenger in an 18-wheel city truck when the driver miscalculated the height of a viaduct and ran into the overpass. The impact injured everyone riding in the cab and an ambulance was dispatched.
The next day, Williams was instructed to go to Mercy Works for Occupational Medicine and see the doctors that are part of the city’s workers’ compensation network.
Shortly after his accident, Williams applied for workmen’s compensation and was immediately awarded monthly benefits that started the same month of the accident, January 2013 and lasted until December 2014.
In a letter dated January 14, 2015, Monica Somerville, Director of the Workers’ Compensation Division, stated that Williams was to complete the paper work to be reinstated to “full duty” work in an “unrestricted capacity.” The letter was based on a Dr. Levin’s Independent Medical Examiner’s (IME) report that was written on December 3, 2014.
Dr. Levin, in addition to that report, also wrote a 53-page report addressed to a Patricia O’Connor chronicling Williams’ medical history throughout the life of his claim. The report is a compilation of all the visits that Williams made to the doctor’s office regarding his conditions while he received benefits, benefits that lasted for twenty-three months.
“I contacted my attorney and asked how could they terminate my benefits. He said it was based on the MRI report and the doctor’s opinion that I was able to go back to work full time,” Williams stated. “I told my attorney that someone was lying and he said we have to wait to see the report.”
Williams ended up firing his first attorney and hiring another after weeks went by with no progress on his case. Subsequently, he hired another attorney who also didn’t make any substantial progress and he too was fired after several months.
After obtaining a copy of the report, according to Williams, he came to the conclusion that Dr. Levin had incorrect information about his shoulder that wasn’t injured in the accident and somehow this information was used to justify terminating his case.
Attorney Mark Weissburg, who isn’t affiliated with the case, but specializes in Social Security and Workers’ Compensation is all too familiar with the decision to terminate clients.
“The City would have to explain its decision making process. Some employers fire injured workers as a way of scaring the remaining employees so they don’t report work injuries,” Weissburg said. “Other times an employer fails to follow the law and acts in ways that are contrary to the word and intent of the Workers’ Compensation Act.”
Throughout the 53 page report, it’s indisputably noted that Williams continues to experience severe back pain, and is commented on by several of the doctors that Dr. Levin uses in his final report.
“I continue to be in constant pain while taking Norco and Dr. Levin knows that I am,” Williams said. “I am sad that my request for surgery has been denied even though I did everything the city told my doctors to do. Just when I thought the city was about to approve my surgery, Dr. Levin said I didn’t need it. And my benefits were terminated.”
Attorney Weissburg said, “I’ve seen employers make decisions that not only hurt the injured worker, but are also not in the employer’s own best interests. When there are reasonable questions regarding the facts of a work injury, those should be investigated, but when it is clear that a worker was injured at work, the appropriate benefits should be paid in a timely manner.”
The question some ask is how the city of Chicago and one of its affiliated doctors says it is okay for a city employee, who is taking one of the most powerful pain killers known to man, to return to work in “full duty” in an “unrestricted capacity.”
The warning label for Norco states: “This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Norco will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.”
The Chicago Defender attempted to contact Dr. Levin, Monica Somerville from Workers’ Compensation and Mr. Williams’ attorney, George Argionis, all declined to comment on this story.