Chicago Clout thanks Chicago Sun-Times and Fran Spielman for Human Resources Story

Fired city inspector is back at work
'BETRAYAL OF PUBLIC TRUST' | His job was to bust people for working with no permit — he did side job with no permit
December 23, 2009
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
A $93,840-a-year Chicago plumbing inspector caught doing a side job with no permit, city license or secondary employment form allowing him to perform the "side job" is back on his main job.
The Human Resources Board, which is appointed by Mayor Daley, has overturned James Kendrick's firing and converted his punishment to a five-month suspension without pay, which he has already served. Kendrick returned to work Thursday for the first time since July 17. He refused to comment.
The board agreed that Kendrick's behavior "warranted substantial discipline," but not the firing ordered by Buildings Commis- sioner Richard Monocchio, said Buildings Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey.
"We felt justified in terminating him. This was a betrayal of the public trust. He's a plumbing inspector in the Troubled Buildings Bureau. He . . . knows that, in order to work, you need a permit," McCaffrey said.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported last summer that Kendrick was installing a flood-control system for a homeowner in the 3500 block of North Octavia when he inadvertently broke the water pipe leading to the home.
When Water Management investigators arrived, they found that the homeowner who hired Kendrick had not obtained a permit and that Kendrick did not have city licenses to perform the work.
The violations were particularly egregious because Kendrick was assigned to a task force that busts people for working without permits. He was further accused of asking investigators for city-owned parts — lead packs and copper — to repair the broken pipe.
Pat McDonough, one of the responding investigators, was "disgusted" by the board's reversal.
"They have people engaging in criminal activity who come back to work, then they go after and fire people who don't have political clout," McDonough said, describing himself.
"They destroy their lives, take away their pensions and force them to spend their pensions fighting to get their jobs back," he said. "It sends the wrong message to guys like us who put our lives on the line squealing on these guys. Why bother blowing the whistle or showing up in court?"
McDonough helped blow the whistle on the Hired Truck scandal, got fired in 2005 for allegedly violating the city's residency requirement and was hired back after a city hearing officer reversed his firing.
In between, there was explosive testimony at McDonough's hearing from a co-worker who claimed overtime was for sale at Water Management and that gambling was rampant on city time at city work sites.
In the final ruling, hearing officer Carl McCormick described a work site "akin to a hellish nightmare" where bribery and bullying reigned supreme. He said it was "difficult to envision a worksite more indecent."
The reversal of Kendrick's firing comes one week after an Office of Compliance survey showed Chicago employees report only half the incidents of misconduct they witness — compared to two-thirds in other cities –because they don't think anything will change or because they fear retaliation.
"It sends a horrible message to all city workers," McDonough said.
Mayor Daley needs to figure out people are broke and tired of corruption in Chicago. Thank you again to Fran Spieman, she has a bright light and uses it!!!

5 Replies to “Chicago Clout thanks Chicago Sun-Times and Fran Spielman for Human Resources Story”

  1. Your going to talk about it for a week… blah blah blah, and we’ll move on to the next story. Big deal, he works for the city and has clout. Like we never saw this before. Living on taxpayers money is the only way in Chicago. Move out of the City if you don’t want to get raped by these people. You people who live in the City are idoits… Wake up people. I get a great laugh out of this website. You uncover all of this bull s??t week after week and nothing ever gets done. Oh yeah, and the only one with balls (your ex-inspector general) even bailed on you. He was your only hope. Keep paying suckers…..

  2. Christmas Eve a no-pay day off for most city employees
    December 23, 2009 9:46 PM | No Comments | UPDATED STORY
    Most non-emergency city offices will be closed Thursday, with those employees taking a day off without pay in an effort to fight the budget crunch.

    To save an estimated $8.3 million throughout the year, Chicago picked three days — including Aug. 17, the day before Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve — to shut down most city services, leaving only a skeleton crew to handle emergencies and conduct necessary city business.

    Police officers, firemen and privatized parking meters were scheduled to be working, but very few other city offices and no libraries were to be open.

    About 11,000 workers are expected to be off without pay on Christmas Eve. City workers also have been taking furlough days throughout the year to help reduce payroll costs.

    With Thursday being Christmas Eve, and Friday being Christmas, a federal holiday, the following services will be affected:

    Schools: Most Chicago public schools will be closed until Jan. 4. Many suburban schools will be closed through New Year’s Day; check with the local district.

    Government offices: Federal, state, county and city offices will be closed Friday. City Hall and other city buildings will be closed Friday and also Thursday because of the reduced-service day. All emergency services will be fully staffed, however, and garbage will still be picked up on Thursday.

    All secretary of state offices and facilities will be closed Thursday and Friday.

    Postal Service: Most post offices in the Chicago area will close by noon Thursday and will remain closed through Friday. There will be no regular pickups Friday. Express mail, however, will still be delivered.

    The main Chicago post office will have its lobby open until 5 p.m. Thursday, as will some suburban offices. Call 800-ASK-USPS for information on specific post office locations.

    Libraries: All branches of the Chicago Public Library, including the Harold Washington Library Center and the Woodson and Sulzer regional libraries, will be closed Thursday and Friday.

    Financial markets: Floor and electronic trading will be closed Friday at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, according to a CME spokeswoman.

    Courts: Federal, state and county courts will be closed Friday, except for Cook County Central Bond Court.

  3. Reform is in the air in the Windy City

    December 25, 2009

    December in Chicago and the “hawk” is back, which means the “Windy City” is buffeted by the wicked winds of winter — the visceral impact of our moniker — not the metaphorical winds that arose in the wake of our successful fight to win the 1893 World’s Fair, after Chicago’s “windbag” politicians lobbied Congress to pick Chicago over the other competitors.

    Fast-forward to 2009, and it’s about wind again because political reform is in the air, and the only question is whether it fades away, like a gentle breeze, or intensifies into a hurricane of real change.

    Illinois has always been the Wild West of politics, one of the few states with no limits on campaign contributions and an indifferent approach to conflicts of interest. Politicians queue up for prison like kindergartners lining up for recess. Lawyers elected to represent taxpayers end up moonlighting as corporate shills and lobbyists who win tax breaks for their clients, which we end up paying for. Leaders bequeath coveted public positions to sons and daughters of dubious ability.

    And the public shrugs. “You can’t fight City Hall,” they say. Or that’s the price of “the city that works.”

    But the old attitude of helpless resignation is finally changing. A perfect storm that combines a national economic collapse with a meltdown at all levels of government in Illinois has created a climate for change and reform that may actually have as much staying power as a Chicago winter.

    Residents are “mad as hell and not going to take it any more,” like Howard Beale in the 1978 movie “Network.” They watched the imprisonment of one former governor, George Ryan, for presiding over a licenses-for-bribes scandal; the indictment and impeachment of his successor, Rod Blagojevich, for allegedly trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama and, in the words of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, engaging in a pay-to-play scandal “on steroids” that would have made Abe Lincoln “turn over in his grave.”

    We’ve seen Roland Burris weasel his way into Obama’s Senate seat, local Democrats elevate a bumbling political journeyman to his late father’s post atop the Cook County Board, and “America’s Mayor,” Rich Daley, wallow in a sea of corruption, nepotism, tax increases and inept public policy initiatives.

    Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI a year ago, and the transcripts of his profanity-laced bartering played out on late-night television for weeks, fueled by his narcissistic quest for notoriety and the media’s insatiable appetite for the bizarre.

    Illinois became an embarrassment, a national laughing stock — the New Jersey or the Louisiana of the Midwest — and people finally got mad. The voters — the enablers who return the “usual suspects” to office time after time — finally got engaged.

    Civic groups and editorial boards teamed up with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to put teeth into the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The Change Illinois coalition of civic and business groups finally forced state lawmakers to enact a semblance of campaign finance reform. Similar coalitions are successfully pushing back against the state’s craven rush into the toxic world of video poker. And new efforts are under way to reform redistricting, pensions and tax increment financing districts.

    Gov. Quinn, the ultimate grass- roots populist, sides with reformers when it doesn’t jeopardize his relationship with Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan. And they’ve occasionally signed onto causes. To an extent.

    So there’s a growing feeling that much more is possible if the reform movement picks its battles wisely and fights them strategically. Ripe targets include consolidating branches of government to eliminate wasteful duplication. Requiring more financial transparency. And expanding the power of inspector generals.

    All of this could still fail like a typical Cubs season. But I’m an optimist. I view the reform movement through the lens of sportscaster Al Michaels, who coined a memorable line after broadcasting Team USA’s improbable 1980 hockey win over the Soviets in Lake Placid, N.Y.

    “Do you believe in miracles?” Michaels asked when the final horn sounded.

    Hawk Harrelson has the right answer after every White Sox win: “Yesssssssss.”

    Reform is in the winter air. It’s chilling. But bracing. So let it blow. Let it blow. Let it blow.

    Until we finally have a city, a county and a state we can be proud of.

  4. Welcome back Jimmy.Glad to see you back.Thats a great Christmas gift for you and your family.Did our union do anything for you? I doubt it.Hey i wonder if Pat every did a side job for anyone?Pat have you?I bet you have you little devil you.Keep on rolling Jimmy and Merry Christmas to everyone even you Pat.

  5. The last post said “Abdy Shaw is going to save us” ? come on man are you kdding, this is what I believe, we have all of this corruption we got city workers complaining to the “office of compliance” that is good for crap!! its a fricking joke those people, I called and complained to them and nothing happened to anyone, the beef is how could someone be on “DD” and still got time to go to plumbing school and get his “license” if you on DD doesn’t the rules ( the unwritten rules or the written rules) say that you are not suppose to get some kind of training? So was this fricken “caulker” suppose to be getting his training to be a licensed Plumber? Something is wrong here? if that is the case Patrick, then I want equal treatment, I think everyone of us should file a class action claim, because I was never offered training while I was on “DD” I believe the city has discrimination charges against them !! But after further review I think that cauker has committed some type of crime because he is required to sign a card saying he never got training while on “DD” So he is in violation !! I think they call it STEALING, I THINK THE INSPECTOR GENERAL SHOULD INVESTIGATE THIS. But of course the clout he has will try to push this under the carpet. Hey Patrick do you think ANDY SHAW would like to hear about this. Or should we not say nothing to nobody because the people in power will wash this away anyway. Just like that plumber that got his job back, he had committed those crimes and still got his job back, In my opinion he should of been fired, and stayed fired !! In my Opinion I think the more corrupt you are, the more you get promoted!!
    I would like to see these people that are corrupt in Prison where they belong, but when will this all come to fruitation Patrick.

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