Laborers’ Local 1092 warns members about Retaliation at Chicago Department of Water Management

Local 1092 Warning.

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 [email protected]$$#$” 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.

Chicago Department of Water Management demands Plumbing Inspector Retire

Chicago Water Department Plumbing Inspector.jpg 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.

Chicago Firefighter Robert Alamo talks to Chicago Clout and Frank Coconate

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
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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.

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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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State worker retiring amid probe of racist emails in water department scandal

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission Picture.JPG

A veteran state employee whose personal email address was a source of racist, sexist and anti-gay emails that circulated among bosses in the Chicago water department is retiring, state officials said.

Frank Capuzi’s decision to retire effective Monday comes as the state began a review of his conduct following Tribune inquiries into offensive emails sent from his address to a high-ranking water department official and others. Among those emails was one describing a fake “Chicago Safari” adventure tour that made light of the shootings of children in black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

Capuzi, an investigator with the Workers’ Compensation Commission, “gave notice of his retirement” on Thursday, said commission spokesman Ben Noble.

Noble indicated that the commission’s investigation was not over and said that Capuzi left on his own. “Capuzi freely exercised his right to retire,” Noble said. “The commission cannot comment on an ongoing investigation. It takes seriously these allegations.”

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Diana Rickert, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner, confirmed that Capuzi is leaving his state job. “We take these allegations extremely seriously, and we’re not going to tolerate any type of misbehavior that we are aware of,” she said.

Capuzi, 62, has worked for the state for more than four decades and makes more than $114,000 per year. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

He was a longtime GOP committeeman on the West Side, having won the 26th Ward post as recently as 2008 and the 27th Ward at least as far back as the early 1980s, according to records from the Chicago Board of Elections. He is the son of a former Republican state lawmaker, Louis Capuzi of Chicago.

Racist emails scandal moves beyond Chicago as Illinois opens investigation into state employee’s role
Earlier this month, the Tribune revealed that Capuzi’s AOL address was a source of emails at the center of a widening scandal in the city’s water department. The “Chicago Safari” email was among at least four of the most offensive ones that circulated among water department bosses that came from Capuzi’s personal email address.

Even though Capuzi did not use his government email address, ethics experts told the Tribune that this type of matter should be looked into to determine whether any violations of state law, rules or policies have occurred, including conduct unbecoming a state employee.

The Rauner administration’s code of personal conduct states, in part, that employees should conduct themselves “with integrity and in a manner that reflects favorably upon the state.” That code, a union bargaining agreement and the state ethics law are all part of the review, the commission said.

Racist emails show Chicago official joked about ‘safari’ tour to see violence in black neighborhoods
City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson uncovered a string of racist, sexist, anti-gay and anti-Muslim emails while investigating another matter in the water department. His findings led to five water department bosses being ousted, including Commissioner Barrett Murphy; his deputy, William Bresnahan; and Paul Hansen, a district superintendent and the son of former Democratic Alderman. Bernie Hansen.

The Tribune obtained nearly 1,300 water department emails from the water department via a public records request, including several emails forwarded from Capuzi’s address to Hansen.

The Chicago Safari email, sent in July 2013, states that if “you didn’t book a Chicago safari adventure,” for the Independence Day weekend, “you missed” the shootings of a 5-year-old boy and two others in West Pullman; the shooting of a 7-year-old boy in Chatham; and the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in Humboldt Park.

“We guarantee that you will see at least one kill and five crime scenes per three day tour. You’ll also see lots and lots of animals in their natural habitat. Call and book your Chicago Safari today,” the email reads. An image depicts four white people in safari gear taking pictures of black people trying to break into a car.

Others included a July 2014 email titled “Watermelon Protection” that included an image of a scarecrow dressed in a white KKK robe amid a watermelon patch; an April 2017 email titled “Today is Heterosexual Male Pride Day;” and a March 2014 email about an essay contest that had to include elements of religion, royalty, racism, disability and homosexuality. The “winning” essay read: “My God,” cried the Queen, “That one-legged nigger is a queer.” Chicago tribune Ray Long

He Gone

Goodbye Frank Capuzi. IWCC Chicago Clout. He is retiring on July 31, 2017