Posted on April 1, 2008 by chicagocloutChristopher Kozicki Resigns, Goodbye, don't come back, ya hear?
4 Replies to “Christopher Kozicki Resigns, Goodbye, don't come back, ya hear?”
Admitted city job-rigger resigns
Daley refused to fire ally who helped hire teen son of carpenters union boss
By Todd Lighty and Laurie Cohen
10:33 PM CDT, March 31, 2008
A city official who helped rig the hiring of an unqualified teenager as a building inspector has resigned, nearly 14 months after Mayor Richard Daley refused to fire him.
Christopher Kozicki, who has close political ties to the mayor, has stepped down from his $129,528-a-year job in the Planning Department, officials said Monday. They did not give a reason for his departure.
The city’s inspector general recommended in December 2006 that Kozicki be fired for his role in the 2004 hiring of Andrew Ryan, the 19-year-old son of a carpenters union leader. At the hiring-fraud trial of Daley’s patronage chief and other city officials, Kozicki testified that he inflated the teenager’s score on an interview to guarantee that Ryan would be hired.
Kozicki was given immunity from prosecution for his testimony but kept working at City Hall. In January 2007, Daley rejected Inspector General David Hoffman’s recommendation to fire Kozicki, saying that such a move would deter others from cooperating with authorities.
Attempts to reach Kozicki were unsuccessful. His lawyer, Ann Tighe, declined to answer questions but said in a statement that Kozicki had left to “pursue other opportunities,” which she did not specify.
Kozicki, 41, is the second top Daley administration official from the mayor’s native 11th Ward to resign this year. Robert Forgue, Daley’s first deputy in the Revenue Department, left in January after Hoffman accused him of taking a personal trip in 2003 paid for by a city contractor.
Kozicki got his start at City Hall in 1993 as an aide to the 11th Ward alderman and was a ward coordinator for the mayor’s 1995 re-election campaign. He used to drive Cook County Commissioner John Daley, the mayor’s brother.
Noelle Brennan, appointed by a federal judge to monitor city hiring, repeatedly has criticized the Daley administration for failing to discipline employees who were not charged criminally but were implicated in the federal investigation into hiring abuses.
Told Monday about Kozicki’s resignation, Brennan said the city should have accepted Hoffman’s recommendation to fire him months ago. She said she hopes the city starts disciplining those involved in past hiring violations in order to “send the message that that type of behavior will no longer be accepted or condoned.”
Last fall, the U.S. attorney’s office told the city that it could take action against employees as long as it first notified federal prosecutors.
Jenny Hoyle, spokeswoman for the Law Department, said the city was reviewing Kozicki’s case when he resigned.
Accountability? Not in Daley’s government
April 2, 2008Recommend (9)
CAROL MARIN firstname.lastname@example.org
With surprising suddenness, Christopher Kozicki quit his $130,000-a-year job in the city’s Planning Department this week.
The reason is unclear.
The good news — for him, anyway — is that he got to walk out under his own steam when he should have been flat-out fired more than a year ago.
But when you hail from the South Side enclave of Bridgeport, the bosom from which two mayors named Daley and an army of city workers have sprung, a certain lucky fairy dust more often than not attaches to your shoulder.
But let’s dial back to 2004. And a story that was first reported in this column. It had to do with a 19-year-old kid named Andy Ryan, who — by some miracle of city hiring — got a phenomenal entry-level job as a city building inspector with a very handsome salary of $50,000 a year.
It didn’t matter that a porch had collapsed in this city and a nightclub had burned, with people dying terrible deaths in both. Nor did it matter that in each case there were serious questions about the quality of the building inspections preceding the disasters.
Nope. Somebody’s kid needed a job and knew how to put the fix in to get it.
The kid, Andy Ryan, had a clout-heavy dad who was a big honcho in the Carpenters Union, which had given massive campaign contributions to Mayor Daley. And so, in the end, it wasn’t important that a 19-year-old who barely knew which end of a hammer to use was suddenly going to make life-and-death decisions about building safety.
Christopher Kozicki was the city official who rigged the test scores to make sure that young Andy got the job. Kozicki admitted to that in federal court in the trial of Daley patronage chief Robert Sorich and three others accused of all manner of illegal patronage hiring.
Usually, when you get caught doing something wrong, there are consequences. Especially, when what you do is funded by the taxpayers, whose interests are supposed to be protected.
But we in Chicago know better.
It didn’t matter that the city’s own independent inspector general, David Hoffman, urged Kozicki’s firing.
It didn’t matter that the court-appointed federal hiring monitor, Noelle Brennan, backed him up.
Mayor Daley and his people weren’t going to budge. Worse, the mayor’s minions came up with the utterly absurd, not to mention untrue, claim that they really couldn’t fire Kozicki because it would discourage others from coming forward to testify in federal court.
Oh, please. Kozicki, let’s recall, got immunity from the feds. That lucky fairy dust at work again, I guess.
He wasn’t prosecuted. He wasn’t fired. So why, then, did he quit?
Something certainly happened, some new heat perhaps coming from somewhere.
When I called Kozicki at home Tuesday and left a voice mail, it was his attorney, Ann Tighe, who returned my call. All she would say was that her client is “pursuing other opportunities.”
In other words, he quit, doesn’t have another job yet, but is looking. Somewhere else in government would be my guess. Cook County, maybe. Or the Park District, perhaps.
But Kozicki quitting doesn’t get the Daley administration off the hook.
“You can’t have integrity in the system if you don’t have accountability,” David Hoffman said Tuesday. “The only way to ensure a system of integrity is for people in and out of city government to see the city taking actions to hold people accountable.”
The mayor took no action.
And didn’t even bother to pretend to.
“His lawyer, Ann Tighe, declined to answer questions but said in a statement that Kozicki had left to ‘pursue other opportunities,’ which she did not specify.”
Consulting contract with the city and/or county.
Did Kozicki work for the City long enough to qualify for a pension?
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