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November 30, 2007

Chicago Department of Water Management Hero Michael McGann

Michael McGann.jpg
Excellent article by Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times. Michael McGann is one of the most intelligent Plumbing Inspectors in the City of Chicago. I read his report and he is 100% correct in his review of the troubled plumbing in the Chicago School. Read here: 'They're trying to make me the fall guy' SCHOOL'S WATER WOES | City inspector may be disciplined for faxing report on dangerous plumbing to principal

November 30, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter fspielman@suntimes.com
An $85,068-a-year city plumbing inspector who uncovered "two pages worth" of building code violations that left 1,100 children at Jose de Diego Community Academy without water for weeks is facing disciplinary acton for faxing a copy of his inspection report to the school's principal.
Michael McGann, a 14-year inspector assigned to the city's Department of Buildings, said he gave the Oct. 24 report to de Diego principal Alice Vera so she could use the information to try to expedite repairs that had languished for weeks, endangering students at the 116-year-old school at 1313 N. Claremont.
He can't believe he's being punished for it, simply because the embarrassing story of his bosses' bureaucratic bungling -- that prompted the school's 14 water fountains to be taped shut for weeks -- ended up in the Nov. 23 Sun-Times, with a copy of the inspection report posted on the newspaper's Web site.
The report contained two pages of code violations with "dead-ends everywhere ... uncirculated distribution lines that connected to and endangered" the integrity of the drinking water system, McGann said. It was faxed to Vera earlier this month.
"It's a disgrace. They're being exposed for not doing their job and, because I'm the one who made the inspection, they're trying to make me the fall guy, the scapegoat," said McGann, 52. "They should have processed the violation notice immediately . . . . Instead, they sat on it and did nothing."
Water reportedly back on
He added, "The principal was frustrated. . . . Nothing was happening. . . . She called me and we kept in communication. . . . It had gone weeks without any word from any of my superiors about getting the water back on in the building so the water was safe for the children. So, I sent her my report so she would know the severity of the violations and how they were to be resolved. . . . My motive was to protect the health and safety of the children of the school."
Buildings Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said McGann faces disciplinary action -- to be determined after hearings that got under way Thursday -- for violating internal rules that prohibit preliminary inspection reports from being shared with outsiders until approved by higher-ups. "Inspection reports are subject to review by immediate supervisors and chiefs. Until the report is approved, it is still a draft document. Once it's finalized, it can be distributed outside the department," he said.
Vera could not be reached for comment.
Last week, de Diego officials told the Sun-Times they had been instructed to ration water since Sept. 14, when a water main broke outside the school in the Humboldt Park/Wicker Park area. That meant giving students as little as a half a glass of water a day for eleven weeks straight.
According to McCaffrey, the water was turned back on at de Diego on Monday after new "check valves that prevent water from flowing backwards through the system" were installed to remedy concerns about "dead-end piping."
The school is also planning to take other steps to "remove some of the pipes that just end," he said.

Sounds like whistleblower retaliation, and I know whistleblower retaliation.
But remember, dead ends must be removed, check valves do not correct dead ends, Patrick McDonough.
Photo by Jean Lachat, Patrick McDonough

November 28, 2007

Chicago Department of Water Management Nightmare

boiler room.jpg
Expert Analysis by Patrick McDonough. Please enjoy this exclusive photo of a boiler system in the Jose de Diego Community Academy in Chicago. The Chicago Department of Water Management got a sock in the eye when a water main break was handled by the North District Department of Water Management. The North District suffered multiple embarrassments after drug, gambling, prostitution, hired trucks, and multiple investigations have surfaced the last few years. The North District workers include many Caulkers and Foreman that are not Licensed Plumbers, a political favor that will continue to plague the Department and the Taxpayers of Chicago. Chicago needs the Water Department to review who made the water main repairs, and make sure the proper procedures were followed when a water main is shut down. More on this later. Please click below to read the article. Plumber's Local 130 must "Protect the Health of the Nation" and review what was done at the water main break. I reviewed the PDF report by the Chicago Plumbing Inspector and reviewed multiple pictures of the boiler room. Why is the CPS hiring handymen and Pipefitters to handle work requiriing Licensed Plumbers. I want Tom McManus and Tom Durkin to investigate on behalf of Plumber's Local 130 members sitting at home with no work. Photo by Chicago Clout Investigator General Team.

'It's not enough'
WATER RATION | For 11 weeks, students at Jose de Diego Community Academy have been given as little as half a glass of water a day, since a water main break Sept. 14 uncovered plumbing problems

November 23, 2007
BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter/rrossi@suntimes.com
"I need water.''

That was the plea this week from 12-year-old Kahiara Vazquez, one of 1,100 children at Jose de Diego Community Academy who have been given as little as half a glass of water a day at school for the last 11 weeks.

De Diego officials say they have been told to ration water since a main outside the Humboldt Park school broke Sept. 14.

Afterward, a city Water Management Department inspection uncovered plumbing problems at de Diego, built 116 years ago.

All 14 school water fountains have been taped shut ever since, leaving some kids to feel faint from thirst after gym class, some mothers to worry whether their children will have enough water to take medication, and pregnant teachers to lug bottles of water around with them in the school at 1313 N. Claremont.

After a Chicago Sun-Times reporter visited the school Tuesday and called three city agencies, the water was tested Wednesday. Results are due today, and Chicago Public Schools officials say if all goes well, drinking fountains should be flowing again by Monday

"It shouldn't have taken this long,'' said CPS spokesman Michael Vaughn. "We apologize for that.''

Kahiara's mother, Judy Vazquez, said the school has been stuck in a bureaucratic limbo since the water main broke during the second week of classes.

"Everyone talks, talks, talks, talks,'' said Vazquez, de Diego's local school council president. "I definitely want something in writing saying the water is clean. We've waited 11 weeks.''

A Sept. 21 letter to Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan indicates Water Management ordered a water fountain shutdown after a post-water main break inspection uncovered "water quality issues ... due to internal plumbing problems.''

However, said de Diego Principal Alice Vera, of eight recommended steps, only one was taken: installing new "check valves" that feed into a boiler room water storage tank.

By Oct. 24, CPS managing engineer Joseph Claire forwarded Vera an e-mail from Water Management saying tests indicated the water had "much improved'' and the school could lift the water restrictions, as long as it flushed all water fountains and kitchen sinks for a minimum of two hours on the first day of the school week for the next six weeks.

That same day, Vera said, a Building Department inspector showed up, based on an anonymous call about the school's water quality. Vera said that inspector told her "the wrong check valves were installed, and they were installed improperly.'' She later received a fax listing 21 "alleged building code violations'' and a handwritten note citing "health & safety issues -- children/school/teachers.''

One "alleged violation" ended with an exclamation point: "Throughout premises -- check, flush and disinfect the complete potable water supply system, especially the drinking fountains!''

Faced with a long list of Building Department complaints that sounded ominous, Vera said, she wanted written clearance from the Building Department that it was safe to turn on water fountains. She has yet to receive it, she said Wednesday.

"All I received from them is the runaround,'' Vera said.

"I want something in writing telling me what's going on. I'm not a plumber. I can't determine when something can be on and when it can't be. ... I'm responsible for 1,100 students. All I want is what's best for them.''

The check valves have since been replaced again, CPS has promised to address other problems -- none of which affects water quality -- during winter break, and CPS was never formally cited for building code violations, CPS and Building Department officials say.

On Wednesday, extra drinking water arrived in huge bottles. That's good because all Kahiara knows is she'd like more than 4 ounces of water a day, the amount distributed at lunch in plastic cups with foil covers.

"I drink it, and I want more,'' said Kahiara, an asthmatic who is especially parched after gym class. "It's not enough. I need water.''

November 21, 2007

Mayor "I don't know" Daley hires new Compliance Leader

Tony Boswell Chicago.jpg
Mayor Daley and the rubber stamp alderman have destroyed the powers of the Inspector General. Anthony Boswell a corporate lackey knows the chain of command well. Feed the information up the ladder and do what you are told. Remember Chicago City Workers, you will now have two departments to fight if you targeted by the Daley Administration. Your chance of getting your job back after a termination will be reduced. I suggest if you are a loafer to get some clout and quick. Read this article by Gary Washburn of the Chicago Tribune.

Daley chooses leader of new compliance office
By Gary Washburn | Tribune staff reporter
November 21, 2007
Mayor Richard Daley named an executive with extensive private sector experience to head the controversial new Office of Compliance on Tuesday, insisting once again the office will not infringe on the turf of the city agency charged with ferreting out wrongdoing.

Anthony Boswell, 43, a lawyer, comes to the city after serving as a principal with the Denver-based Institute for Corporate Ethics and Governance, which helps companies implement ethics and compliance programs.

"The department will complement the existing function of the inspector general, and we anticipate the two departments working together," Daley said. "The inspector general will continue to be responsible for investigating any allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing."

Critics have questioned whether the new compliance office will undercut the authority of Inspector General David Hoffman, who has demonstrated independence from Daley. Hoffman has voiced concern over the new department's role, particularly in regard to enforcing terms of a federal consent decree banning political considerations in hiring and promotions of most city employees.

Boswell said he doesn't "anticipate any problems" with overlap.

"Investigations are an important part of a quality compliance program. What we'll do is assess risks through audits and, to the extent audits determine that there are issues that exist [and] investigations that need to take place, his office would take care of that," swell said.

As for city hiring, Boswell said, "The specific role, in my understanding, is going to be determined by a judge but that aspect of compliance is only a small piece of the full compliance spectrum of activities and initiatives that we plan to undertake."

U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen, who presides over a long-running civil lawsuit that led to the Shakman consent decree banning politics from most city hiring, has not yet ruled on what department will monitor personnel processes.

The new office will consolidate work now done in multiple departments and will "centralize and streamline" compliance with a multiplicity of laws, regulations and judicial decisions, Daley said.

"These are complex times for local government," he said. "We must comply with a constantly expanding list of federal state and local requirements and with court actions."

Assuming City Council approval, Boswell will be appointed to a four-year term at an annual salary of $150,140.

One of his first tasks will be to draft a code of conduct "so that the employees of the city will know what the rules are and will follow the rules," Boswell said.

Daley, whose administration has been the subject of federal investigations into contracting and hiring fraud, was unable to say whether the city now has some form of code.

"I don't know," he said.

But personnel rules are used to govern worker conduct and impose discipline on violators.

Before joining the Institute for Corporate Ethics and Governance, Boswell was senior vice president of ethics, compliance and U.S. government relations for AMEC, an international engineering firm based in London. From 1998 to 2003, he was vice president and corporate counsel for Laidlaw, a transportation services and health-care company.

November 16, 2007

Commissioner Frank Avila's New T.V. show for kids

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Commissioner Frank Avila is on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. He was elected to this post in 2002. On December 14, 2007, Commissioner Frank Avila will host a show to inform children on what happens to water after it comes out of a faucet. My sons helped Commissioner Avila tape some Public Service Announcements (PBAs) last week. I cannot wait for this children's show to broadcast, if you have some children that would like to be on the show, please contact me asap. You might have a star for a child. Pictured with the Commissioner is Michael McDonough on the left and David McDonough on the right. Photo by Patrick McDonough

Chicago City Worker's Must See Video Channel 2 News

Commissioner John Spatz of the Department of Water Management kept mum when the questions were flying from Chicago's Channel 2 news hit regarding the "Rainblocker Vortex" nightmare. Many Chicago basement are flooding because of a poorly implemented and under-engineered design. Mayor Daley should know many Sewer Workers have been helping Channel 2 News and are providing information on the weaknesses of the "Rainblockers". Thanks guys, you get a gold star, keep exposing fraud, watch this video, http://cbs2chicago.com/local/home.floods.rainblockers.2.569235.html
Special thanks to "Deep Water" for his assistance. Special thanks to Amy Le a friend of mine. Patrick McDonough.

November 15, 2007

Hired Truck Scandal Keeps Sending them to Prison

Make sure you stay tuned as the mangy flea bitten carcases continue to head to jail for corruption in the Hired Truck Scandal. Mr Resa is going to jail because he lied. He is a former Water Department of Water Management employee hired for political reasons. The FEDS have a long way to go to to expose the corruption and clout at the City of Chicago. I am sad to admit, I will help them along soon. Hired Truck Scandal are not over yet. Patrick McDonough.

Perjury gets HDO official 15 months
CITY HIRING | Resa admits he lied to grand jury about getting jobs for volunteers

November 15, 2007
BY STEVE WARMBIR Staff Reporter swarmbir@suntimes.com
A high-ranking official of Mayor Daley's Hispanic Democratic Organization was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for lying to a grand jury when he testified he never tried to get city jobs or promotions for political volunteers.

John Resa, 49, had been given immunity when he testified in October 2006 before a grand jury investigating the political organization. The only way he could have been charged criminally was if he lied -- which, in his plea agreement, he admitted he did repeatedly

1 man who was charged will never go to trial because he died after a freak horseback-riding accident.
Resa, who was fired from his city Water Department job this week, was a Southeast Side political coordinator for HDO and a close friend of HDO lieutenant Al Sanchez, the former head of Streets and Sanitation, who is himself under indictment. Resa was a political coordinator who oversaw the political campaign and fund-raising work of up to 70 volunteer workers.

Resa lied to the grand jury when he testified he never gave Sanchez any requests from political volunteers regarding city jobs, according to his plea and people familiar with the matter.

Resa was also featured in a Sun-Times investigation of politically connected workers getting disability pay. He had been off his city job for three years since 2003, even after doctors gave their approval for him to return to work. The city found him a job only after officials became aware of the Sun-Times story on Resa.

On Wednesday, Resa apologized to the judge. His attorney asked U.S. District Judge George Lindberg not to put him behind bars, noting that Resa cares for an elderly father suffering dementia, and also that he has three children.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Manish Shah argued for prison time, saying Resa has never shown genuine remorse and that his lies undermined the justice system.

November 9, 2007

Chicago Inspector General Shakman Update

One of the items on my list has been to continue to put the light on the Shakman Violations that have continued in the Department of Water Management. Basically the posting of positions has been a sore point with me. The Department od Water Management has held up job posting for over a week in many cases. The scam works this way. A Job posting gets a date and the Unions are notified. The Shakman Monitor is also notified. I was told both are notified by E-mail. Amazing how this is always done proper. Then, after held up in the Water Personnel Department for a week, the worker's notification is made (posted). This gives advance notice to the insiders. This is a violation to the Shakman Decree. I have made numerous calls to the New and Improved Chicago Inspector General regarding this matter. Two postings of note are up for rebid, the Superintendents of Sewer and Water. This should make it fair for everyone. I am sure the "Banks Boy" might be a little upset, but so be it. The last post of note was the Plumbing Inspector positions, six. (6) This one was held up for a three day period prior to posting. Ms. Harris received a call the day of the posting from me regarding the lack of public posting. This position for the first time ever was posted on time in the Building Department. The notice to the water department facilities was held up. Progress is slow and I think someone should be fired for continuing to hold up job postings. Maybe the Inspector General should visit Luci Pope and get to the bottom of this. When a job is well done, I complement, nice going David Hoffman and the Chicago Inspector General. Patrick McDonough.

November 4, 2007

Chicago City Worker Caught Drunk

Drinking on the Job Chicago City Worker.jpg
Watch the video, click here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1043500753349352095 Photo by Patrick McDonough

Millions of Gallons of Wasted Water in Chicago Video

Watch this Video, click here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5246416885298981024 This is a City of Chicago Street Sweeper. The Chicago Employee parked his street sweeper next to this fire hydrant and washed his street sweeper. The water shot high into the sky. The entire intersection was drenched and flooded. This is a waste of water. There are pressure washing companies from Cicero that come to various Chicago Department of Water Management sites and clean the trucks. They may not be Union companies with Unions Workers, but if the Chicago Union Business Agents do not care, why should you. Video by Patrick "Deep Water" McDonough.