Chicago Private Tow Companies get off easier than this City Worker

Pease read Mark Brown's article on the punishment of a Chicago City Worker. As a Chicago City Worker, I will explain what really happened. A politician and candidate for Cook Country States Attorney parked her car illegally. She was at a political event. She is a lawyer and knows the law does not provide for the poor and unprotected. She got her car towed. Her political friends that protect each other, win or lose made the call for her car. The tow was a "mistake" because she is more important than the average taxpayer. The call was made to high ranking political city employees that know they need to break the rules because of the possible political backlash if they refuse a favor. The tow truck driver is blamed. He panics because of the impending punishment, and needing to make a payment on his bills he is behind on, tries to get some help from someone that just got a big favor. Remember when you were a child and got in trouble, you sometimes get in more trouble trying to get out of trouble. Well Pete Paglivco has no power and realized the power of Anita Alvarez and his bosses. Just to make the matters worse, they are going to attack Pete with the Chicago Inspector General. The Inspector General hoping to make a good impression on the inevitable new States Attorney should make a hell of an example of Pete Pagliuco. And the politicians will not need to remind the new States Attorney of the Chicago Political Culture. It is about the favors and privilege. And Mark Brown could had gave them hell, but gave Anita an out. Inspect the favors given to Anita, Mr. Hoffman!!! Patrick McDonoughTow driver sheds light on clout
He compounded his own error, but tale shows how city works
February 27, 2008
BY MARK BROWN Sun-Times Columnist
Pete Pagliuco, a city tow-truck driver, spotted a Buick SUV just before 8 a.m. on Dec. 12 that had been ticketed by police for illegally parking in a rush-hour tow zone at Clark and Armitage. He put it on the hook and took it to the pound.
Unbeknownst to Pagliuco, the car belonged to Anita Alvarez, the Democratic nominee for Cook County state's attorney who at the time was just one of six candidates running in the primary.
Before that day was done, Alvarez would get her car back at no charge and Pagliuco would be on his way to a costly 15-day suspension from work, later reduced to seven days.
The story is much more complicated, but Pagliuco can't get past those essential elements. He doesn't think it's fair, which is why he complained to me.
When you hear the whole story, you may agree with him or decide the outcome was entirely reasonable. Either way, you will have received another valuable lesson in how the City that Works works.
Honest mistake?
Pagliuco's mistake, as best I can tell, wasn't so much that he towed the wrong car as that he allowed the wrong car to get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle at the city's central auto pound — a problem that may be familiar to other Chicago motorists. What might be less familiar to the average citizen is how far the city went to rectify the situation.
You see, when Pagliuco delivered Alvarez's car to the pound that morning, he failed to make sure it had been properly inventoried before he parked it in the lot and headed back out for another tow.
Pagliuco says it was an honest mistake resulting from a backup of cars waiting to be inventoried and the pressure he felt to return to the street to meet his daily quota of 10 tows — an unwritten standard that the city denies but is nevertheless well known among its tow drivers. The city says Pagliuco's mistake was caused by him socializing at the pound instead of concentrating on business.
The result was that when Alvarez emerged from a morning breakfast meeting, her car was gone, and the city had no record of it being towed. It would take nearly the entire work day for the city to discover its mistake. By then, after about eight hours of worrying and searching, Alvarez had contacted police to report the car stolen.
That's why city officials say they apologized and gave her the car at no charge, which even Pagliuco concedes took place despite protestations from Alvarez that she would gladly pay and wanted no special treatment. She also later paid her parking ticket, so I'm casting no blame in her direction, and for that matter, neither is he.
Alderman steps in
In fact, there's no evidence Streets and San officials were particularly concerned about Alvarez's plight at all until they received a call about 3 p.m. from Ald. Tom Allen (38th), one of her opponents. Alvarez had run into Allen at a campaign event and mentioned her missing auto. He tried to use his contacts to help.
The story of looking for Alvarez's car was laid out in a two-page memo prepared that day by Steve Sorfleet, acting deputy commissioner of Streets and Sanitation, apparently in anticipation of disciplining Pagliuco.
Sorfleet details how he first checked the car's license and VIN in the city computer system, then started calling the various auto pounds. He contacted the chief equipment dispatcher and asked him to check for any record of a request to tow the vehicle, then called Chief Auto Pound Supervisor John Rachmaciej to make inquiries at the central pound.
Finally, he ordered Rachmaciej and acting assistant general superintendent Ron Calderone to go to the location where the car was last seen to determine if it had been relocated.
It was only then that Sorfleet received a call from the chief equipment dispatcher informing him the vehicle had been found at the pound during the afternoon shift change by someone performing their regularly scheduled yard inventory.
Sorfleet said he instructed the pound supervisor not to charge Alvarez for the tow and to have a supervisor escort her to her car. He sent Rachmaciej to personally apologize.
Nice treatment, if you can get it
I keep remembering how others have reported less courteous treatment at the pound.
When he contacted me, unfortunately, Pagliuco left out one important part of the story: how he later went to Alvarez's River Forest home and left a restaurant gift card with her baby-sitter along with a request to intervene with his supervisors about the suspension. Alvarez made him take the card back.
Now that Pagliuco has heated up the incident again, the department has asked the inspector general to investigate. I hope they go easy on him. I don't want the lesson to be: Never call the newspapers.

5 Replies to “Chicago Private Tow Companies get off easier than this City Worker”

  1. Let me get this right. This site is all about uncovering corruption, exposing fraud, and reckless municipal employee conduct. Pete did have clout, only his clout (Danny Katalinic) went to jail because he was a beefer too, just like Pete. Monkey see monkey do. Pete tried to bribe his way out by going to Ms. Alvarez’s house. How did he get her home address? Probably by sifting thru paperwork hat he had no business looking in to. That is a violation of Ms. Alvarez’s privacy. Pete’s a crooked conning employee who should be dealt with like any other employee who tries to bribe someone, “conduct unbecoming a public employee”. This is a fireable offense.

    (Response) Lets make this a public debate. Mayor Daley likes to hide the facts. Lets have Mara Georges debate the City’s adjenda, I suggest Frank Avila debate Pete’s side. Put this debate on channel 11. Well? Lets find out when the phone calls were made and when. Lets put this on camara. Patrick McDonough

  2. Are you really dismissing Tony Peraica’s candidacy in this contest?

    Or do you know, for a fact, that there is ‘no way’ Peraica will be allowed to win this race?

    As in, no amount of vote fraud will be spared to ensure the election of the party/machine loyal Alvarez?

    What do you know and how do you know it?

  3. Mr. McDonough are you aware of privacy laws that prevent an employer(including the city) from directly commenting on an individuals personnel matters in public. I see from your years of posting here where you or an employee is blasting the city for certain personnel issues, it is one side.

    Why because if the employer, the City says one public comment, they are breaking the law. Sorry but Personnel issues concerning an employee are not open up to a public debate where the employer or any agent of theemployer can comment. If they did I am sure you or any other employee or former employee that you have featured here would sue.

    So even if the did not have a case before, the employee would if the employer tried to adress some of the crap that appears here.

    If they could I am sure that Fran and other reporters would not have as many stories as they would be non stories..

    How many managers at your employer would like a crack at the stuff you have said about them. Well they can’t.( but I love to hear what they have to say)

    CAMPAIGN 2008
    His own free-trade truce
    William Daley believed in NAFTA when he helped get it approved during the Clinton years, and he still likes it. That results in ‘a difference of opinion’ with Barack Obama, for whom he is an adviser,
    By David Greising, TRIBUNE REPORTER Tribune reporters Christi Parsons, who was with Obama, and Rick Pearson, who was with Clinton, contributed to this report

    February 29, 2008

    In the taut contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, no stump speech revs up the party faithful quite like an attack on NAFTA.

    Hillary Clinton thinks the treaty between the U.S., Mexico and Canada skimps on labor and environmental protections. So does Barack Obama. Obama vows to junk the treaty if the Mexicans won’t renegotiate those issues. So does Clinton.

    And in the middle of it all, shifting uncomfortably as personal loyalties and political beliefs pinch and poke from different directions, is William Daley. The man President Bill Clinton tapped 15 years ago to get NAFTA through Congress today works for candidate Obama as an economics and political adviser.

    And Daley still thinks the North American Free Trade Agreement was a good deal for the U.S. “I have a difference of opinion with Barack” about NAFTA, Daley said in a telephone interview from his Chicago office. “But he’s the candidate, and I’m not.

    “Barack makes the judgments. He believes we’ve gone too far. We haven’t been tough enough on labor and the environment. We shouldn’t let corporations write our trade treaties.”

    Indeed, even though it was 15 years ago that Daley helped get the treaty passed, NAFTA is a hot topic because concerns over the future of the U.S. worker in the global economy have become even more intense over time.

    Daley noted that NAFTA plays differently in Ohio, where labor groups blame the treaty for a loss of nearly 15,000 jobs since 2003, and Texas, where studies claim employment actually has grown in southern Texas because of cross-border trade and investment.

    “Nobody is running to the southern part of Texas and talking about how bad NAFTA is,” Daley said.

    Obama, campaigning in Texas on Thursday, acknowledged what he described as anecdotal evidence about NAFTA’s positive impact in the state. But he also pointed out that a related issue, illegal immigration, is tied in with NAFTA because agricultural aspects of the treaty have hurt Mexican agricultural workers and farms.

    “I can’t look just anecdotally at where it has helped, I want to look at, overall, can we improve this so that it’s good not only for workers in Ohio and workers in Texas, but also good for workers in Mexico who right now can’t support themselves and end up coming here and potentially depressing U.S. jobs as well,” Obama told reporters on a campaign flight from Austin to Beaumont, Texas.

    Clinton, campaigning in Ohio, continued to push hard on the negative aspects of NAFTA and other treaties that she said make too many concessions and don’t win enough in return.

    “We’re tired of being treated like patsies. We’re going to have reciprocal trade, or we’re not going to continue to let our market be open when other markets are not,” Clinton told reporters while campaigning in the southern Ohio community of Hanging Rock.

    Broader meaning

    Daley believes NAFTA has come to stand as a kind of shorthand for everything from the flight of manufacturing jobs to concerns about product quality to the growing U.S. trade deficit. The debate over NAFTA in some ways serves as a proxy for concerns over China’s growing economic might.

    Concerned as voters are about their jobs, fears about losing health-care coverage are in some ways a more politically volatile issue. “People understand that jobs are going to be lost in a dynamic economy. What sets them off in an apoplectic fit is when they lose their health care when that happens,” Daley said.

    While Obama and Clinton have said they might walk away from NAFTA if Mexico refused to reopen talks about environmental and labor protections, Obama also has said he considers the treaty so enmeshed in the U.S.-Mexico relationship that it would be nearly impossible to unravel.

    Daley said the candidates must be careful not to carry their NAFTA rhetoric too far. “Saying to the Mexicans, if he were to win the presidency, ‘Now, I’ve got a political problem here. Can we work this out?’ That won’t work,” Daley said.

    Obama, Daley added, “has given himself enough wiggle room to not walk away from the treaty, which he won’t.”

    Daley said no one should be surprised that both Democratic candidates want to reopen the NAFTA treaty. “I don’t think that, just because you entered an agreement 15 years ago, it’s sacrosanct,” he said.

    Past resurfaces

    NAFTA is one issue on which Clinton’s role as former first lady has come into question.

    Acknowledging that reports vary on whether or not Clinton supported her husband’s trade treaty at the time, Daley said the only criticism he heard was about her concern that a fight over NAFTA might jeopardize her efforts to focus the Clinton administration’s attention and political capital on the major health-care-reform plan that she designed.

    President Clinton pushed ahead with both plans together, winning the NAFTA vote but losing the health-care battle.

    “I know she had a real problem with the timing of NAFTA and health care,” Daley said.

    NAFTA was a contentious issue within Bill Clinton’s inner circle. A group led by adviser George Stephanopoulos held deep reservations, while a faction led by Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin favored it.

    “If [Hillary Clinton] opposed NAFTA at the time, I can’t say I personally had any knowledge of that,” Daley said.

    One thing that hasn’t changed: Knocking NAFTA still plays to voters. “For 15 years, NAFTA has been the rallying cry for everything that’s wrong with the economy,” Daley said. “But is that an economic plan? No. Is it a jobs program? No. Can you win just by bashing NAFTA? No.”

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