The City of Chicago is killing Chicago City Workers that come into contact with air-borne mists. These airborne dusts include limestone, asbestos, dusts. They are a threat to the entire community which includes the Chicago 45th ward. Ten years ago, Patrick McDonough, the whistleblower of Hired Truck Scandal, warded the entire neighborhood of this hostile dust clouds. This dusts can cause, Sore throat, blueish skin, coughing, sore throat, fever, chest pain, loss of appetite, and tiredness. It can also cause death. Please wear a mask when you are around 4900 West Sunnyside in the Chicago Northwest side.
Written By Fran Spielman Posted: 02/24/2016, 12:50pm Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago’s $100 million-a-year workers’ compensation program is an “executive branch responsibility” with jobs that should be “filled under the city’s non-political hiring plan,” attorney Michael Shakman said Wednesday.
Shakman filed the complaint that culminated in the federal ban on political hiring and signed off on a 2014 agreement that persuaded a federal judge to release Chicago from the 42-year-old Shakman decree that bears his name.
He painstakingly negotiated a hiring plan that made all City Council employees exempt positions.
On Wednesday, Shakman acknowledged that he made a “mistake” by exempting worker’s comp employees in the City Council’s Finance Committee chaired by Ald. Edward Burke (14th).
“It sounds like something that belongs in the executive branch and, therefore, should be a job filled under the city’s non-political hiring plan,” Shakman said.
“With respect to City Council employees, we should have done more and I regret not having done more. We did have an effort to bring the City Council into the fold . . . It didn’t go anywhere. The judge was not very sympathetic to the argument, and we didn’t push it. That was focused on all aldermanic employees — not on worker’s comp people. It was a mistake on our part.”
Still, Shakman argued that Jay Stone, maverick son of former longtime Ald. Bernard Stone (50th), has other legal hurdles to clear if he hopes to make the case that Burke administers workers’ comp in a way that violates the Shakman decree.
“Stone would still have to show, No. 1 that it’s impermissible for the City Council to allocate an executive job to a legislative officer and No. 2 that . . . Burke is using those jobs as patronage jobs,” Shakman said.
Still, Stone called Shakman’s support for the complaint he filed against Burke with Inspector General Joe Ferguson the “highest honor possible that I could receive.”
The late alderman’s son said he has no doubt that he can make the case that Burke has filled those worker’s comp jobs with “political hacks,” as he put it.
“Growing up and living in politics, that’s the way it works,” Stone said.
In 2008, Stone won a $75,000 award from the $12 million fund created to compensate victims of City Hall’s rigged hiring system.
A federal hiring monitor believed his claims that he lost his 2003 aldermanic election against Ald. Ted Matlak (32nd) because Matlak had the support of the political army commanded by now-convicted former First Deputy Water Commissioner Donald Tomczak.
Stone said he decided to file the complaint against Burke after his friend, Pat McDonough, a city plumbing inspector who spoke out about abuses in the city’s Hired Truck Program, got a letter from the Finance Committee last month cutting off his disability pay. (January 8, 2016)
“The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I could not understand why the Finance Committee was administering duty disability. And more importantly, my friend was denied due process. They just stopped his pay. The letter said he was non-cooperative. It didn’t say how or who said so,” Stone said.
“My friend is a three-time whistleblower. He reported corruption. They could use the giving or taking away of workers’ comp to help those who are precinct captains and punish those who work against the machine.”
Referring to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, Stone said, “If Ald. [Pat] O’Connor goes to Ed Burke and says, `One of my guys was injured on the job. Take care of him,’ you can be sure Burke is going to take care of him. But if a political upstart who raises trouble gets duty disability, they’re not going to get the same treatment. Workers’ comp has got to be taken out of the political process.”
Before empowering Ferguson to investigate aldermen and their employees, the City Council voted 25 to 23 to deny the inspector general the right to audit workers’ comp and programs administered by aldermen.
Even so, Stone maintained that Ferguson has the power to investigate Burke after assuming the all-important power of policing city hiring in the post-Shakman era when federal hiring monitor Noelle Brennan was dismissed.
“The federal decree trumps any ethics ordinance. It’s a higher authority. They can’t use an ethics ordinance to block or circumvent an agreement signed in federal court,” he said.
No matter what Ferguson does, Stone urged Emanuel to move immediately to seize control over the workers’ comp program.
“Mayor Emanuel has abdicated his workers’ comp duties and responsibilities to Ald. Burke,” Stone said.
“He has gone after the teachers. But he wouldn’t dare go after Burke because of Burke’s knowledge and control over the Finance Committee.”
Written By Fran Spielman Posted: 02/23/2016, 08:00pm
Chicago’s most powerful aldermen was accused Tuesday of violating the Shakman decree by allowing “political hacks” to administer a $100 million-a-year workers’ compensation program that belongs in the executive branch.
Jay Stone, the maverick son of former longtime Ald. Bernard Stone (50th), filed a complaint with Inspector General Joe Ferguson, asking Ferguson to investigate Ald. Edward Burke (14th), chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee.
In the complaint, Stone accused Burke of turning the workers’ comp program over to “his handpicked political appointees” in violation of the Shakman decree banning political hiring.
The 2014 agreement that persuaded a federal judge to release Chicago from the 42-year-old Shakman decree made City Council employees exempt positions. Stone’s complaint attempts to get around that loophole by claiming that the workers’ comp program “belongs in the executive branch of government.”
“Burke’s workers’ compensation exempt jobs should have been classified as Shakman non-exempt jobs based on the type of work that the workers’ compensation employees are doing,” Stone wrote in the complaint, forwarded to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Once Chicago’s workers’ compensation program moves from the legislative branch of government to the executive branch, then the designation of workers’ compensation employees will change to the proper Shakman non-exempt classification, and the city will have to hire the most qualified and abled employees to run the program.”
Stone notes that the executive branch administers workers’ comp in “all other major U.S. cities.” Chicago would be no different, if an “archaic” municipal code had not allowed the Finance Committee Chairman to “improperly run” the program.
Burke could not be reached for comment.
The late alderman’s son likened Burke’s alleged hiring violations to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s decision to “wrongfully classify” hundreds of jobs as “staff assistants.” That paved the way for the hiring of political appointees under two former governors, Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn.
“The Chicago municipal code has allowed Burke to do the same. [It] . . . has turned obvious Shakman non-exempt jobs into Shakman-exempt jobs,” Stone wrote.
“The municipal code sanction of Burke’s Finance Committee . . . is not about finding a successful loophole to avoid Shakman. Rather, it’s about the municipal code and Burke’s blatant and wanton violation of Shakman and separation of powers.”
Before empowering Ferguson to investigate aldermen and their employees, the City Council voted 25-23 to limit Ferguson to investigating potential violations of the law by aldermen and their employees.
Program audits that Ferguson routinely conducts to determine whether taxpayers’ money is being wasted will be off-limits when it comes to the City Council. The workers’ comp program will be safe from Ferguson’s scrutiny. So will the $66 million-a-year aldermanic menu program.
The question now is whether the watered-down ordinance prevents Ferguson from investigating Stone’s claim that Burke is violating the Shakman decree.
Michael Shakman, who filed the landmark complaint, could not be reached for comment on Stone’s claim that city employees who administer the workers’ comp program should be non-exempt.
Two years ago, Ferguson assumed the all-important power of policing city hiring in the post-Shakman era after U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier released Chicago from the Shakman decree and dismissed federal hiring monitor Noelle Brennan.
Ferguson refused to comment on Stone’s complaint. The ordinance empowering him to investigate aldermen and City Council employees does not take effect until March 16.
At the same City Council meeting where aldermen walled off the worker’s comp program from Ferguson’s watchful eye, Ald. John Arena (45th) introduced a resolution urging the City Council to explore transferring control over the program from the Finance Committee to the city’s Law Department.
It’s not the first time that Jay Stone has ruffled feathers at City Hall.
In 2008, Stone won a $75,000 award from the $12 million fund created to compensate victims of City Hall’s rigged hiring system.
Brennan believed his claims that he was a sure loser in his 2003 aldermanic election against Ald. Ted Matlak (32nd) because Matlak had the support of the political army commanded by now-convicted former First Deputy Water Commissioner Donald Tomczak.
“I’m in shock. I’m in awe,” Jay Stone said at the time.
“The message is we should hold fair and competitive elections in Chicago. I never stood a chance because I was up against a seasoned political army that was being paid for by the taxpayers of Chicago,” he said then.
Veteran aldermen branded the award “outrageous,” calling it evidence that Brennan “doesn’t have a clue.”
“We’ve got potholes to fix. We spend $20 million on snow removal, and the federal monitor decides in her infinite wisdom to give somebody $75,000 because they lost an election? Can I sign up for that program?” said then-Ald. Tom Allen (38th) who is now a Circuit Court judge.
“Somebody lost an election and, somehow, that’s an injury the city is liable for? It’s an outrage. This is crazy. What about all the people who lost elections against the union machine? This monitor has no clue,” said Ald. George Cardenas (12th), who was elected and re-elected with support from the now-defunct Hispanic Democratic Organization at the center of the city hiring scandal.
At the time, Brennan attributed the barrage of criticism to the fact that “aldermen and the mayor don’t have access to the same information that I do” about the impact of Tomczak’s army on Jay Stone’s campaign.
In 2012, Burke clashed with Ferguson over access to workers’ compensation claims administered by the Finance Committee.
At the time, Burke denied the inspector general access to databases related to the workers’ comp program for civilian employees on grounds that “duty disability” is governed by state law, not city ordinance; that Ferguson’s investigative powers are limited to misconduct, and Finance Committee staffers fell under the jurisdiction of the now-departed Legislative Inspector General.
Ferguson countered then that he routinely conducts audits to review city programs, identify waste and inefficiency, and recommend ways to prevent it. He referred to Chicago Sun-Times stories that identified waste, abuse and mismanagement in the $45 million-a-year disability program for police officers and firefighters.
“Blocking (my office’s) access is especially egregious in this case, as recent press reports have detailed anecdotal evidence of a city program very much in need of outside review, hopefully leading to improvements and savings to taxpayers,” Ferguson wrote. “The best way to determine whether there is waste, fraud or abuse in this city-funded program administered by the city for the benefit of city workers . . . is to subject the program to a thorough review.”
Rich Daley left the Office of Mayor in Chicago like a sick dog. Chicago is a town falling apart at its seams. I guess twenty years of theft; scumbag inside deals will destroy anything. Rahm the reformer took the keys to Mayor Daley’s Hired Truck Program and got her up and running. Rahm will need millions for Barack Obama’s re-election and no better place to get it than the Hired Trucks. Two City of Chicago Department of Water Management trucks idled at the corner of Warwick and Lamon while two Hired Trucks took loads from Union Local 150 Hoisting Engineers on September 19, 2011. For years, Hoisting Engineers put spoil on Hired Trucks while their Union Local 700 Teamsters starved at home. So if you are a Union Local 700 teamster sitting at home, make a stop to the goons’ headquarters in Park Ridge. Ask these goons to attempt to get up and go over to Chicago Construction Sewer sites and get your job back. It is a shame the misuse of minority programs and minority companies. I wish these trucks would haul all the crap out of City Hall starting with Rahm “Ditto” Emanuel. Photo by Patrick McDonough.
I was happy to hear Fran Spielman on the Roe Conn Radio show this afternoon. If you can find the link, please let me know. Fran Spielman wrote a very common sense review of Daley’s performance. Fran was also the brunt of Daley’s ignorant comments at City Hall. I suspect Daley expected every reporter to write what they were handed by the Daley propaganda machine. One of the other writers for the Sun-Times gave a candy coated review, Old Neil. Please enjoy the link to the Sun-Times site so you can review the article. http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/5169988-418/scandals-cronyism-cloud-daleys-legacy.html Daley was also surprised at the low turnout for his goodbye. People in Chicago just can’t wait for Daley to leave. Please, just leave quiet. Patrick McDonough]]> Continue reading “Fran Spielman's goodbye to Daley and guest on Roe Conn WLS-890 today”
Please read article from Chicago Sun-Times Fran Spielman. Fran Spielman gets her own truck now… GPS tracks city truck taken on a joyride
Vehicle swiped while Water Management crew on fast-food run
September 15, 2010
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Mayor Daley has installed GPS tracking systems in city vehicles to improve employee accountability and speed deployment of limited resources.
Little did he know one of the devices would be used to track down a stolen city truck taken for a joy ride.
A night investigator for the city’s Department of Water Management is in hot water after his truck was stolen early Saturday morning from the parking lot of a Burrito King on the Far Northwest Side.
The investigator and several members of his crew had apparently stopped for tacos, even though they are paid to work eight hours straight.
Thanks to GPS, the truck was recovered a few hours later at the Renaissance Apartments on River Road.
“Some time around 3 a.m. Saturday, we had a crew on the North Side having lunch. Apparently a truck was taken and driven for an hour or so,” said Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte.
“It was recovered using GPS and found out in the O’Hare area. There was nothing altered on the truck. There was no theft. We have the truck back, and the driver is facing disciplinary action.”
LaPorte acknowledged that the crew was supposed to be working eight hours straight and was not authorized to stop for food.
The GPS system was activated by the so-called “leak desk” at the Jardine Water Filtration Plant.
Leak desk employees, assigned to answering phones and prioritizing repair requests, were at the center of a 2005 payroll scam.
Those accused of falsifying attendance records over a two-month period by swiping each other in and out included the brother-in-law of County Commissioner John Daley, the mayor’s brother.
The assignment has long been dominated by 11th Ward loyalists. The Department of Water Management was at the center of the Hired Truck scandal, which branched out into city hiring. Photo by Patrick mcDonough
2009 flubs and fiascoes of Mayor Daley
ANALYSIS | Privatizing parking meters, failing to win Olympic bid leave the mayor reeling
December 27, 2009
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Mayor Daley has endured countless highs and lows in his 20-year reign, but the seesaw seemed to stop in 2009: It was one gigantic downer.
The city's parking meter privatization fiasco drove Daley's approval rating to an all-time low — and most of the $1.15 billion windfall was drained to fill a massive budget shortfall.
Daley's Olympic dream went up in first-round flames. Chicago learned it's losing talk-show icon Oprah Winfrey, two major trade shows at McCormick Place and the $2.5 billion deal that would have privatized Midway Airport.
One of Daley's staunchest City Council supporters was indicted after wearing a wire for more than a year. A former top mayoral aide was convicted. Another committed suicide.
And the mayor's wife of 37 years suffered two more cancer setbacks.
Between punches, Daley did manage to use a $25 million city subsidy to lure United Airlines to Willis Tower and a $16 million settlement with Bensenville to remove one of the last remaining obstacles to his massive O'Hare Airport expansion.
He also celebrated 20 years in office. But even that milestone — on April 4 — passed with little notice. "I was surprised. I thought somebody would ask me a question on that," a visibly hurt Daley told reporters five days after the anniversary.
The year began on a sour note for the mayor, with the city forfeiting $153 million in federal funds to create bus-rapid-transit service that would have sped the commute for thousands. Federal bureaucrats refused to grant a 13-day extension to approve one of the strings attached: congestion-reduction fees for downtown parking and deliveries.
Then came a rare Daley retreat. In a city where the Blizzard of '79 buried then-Mayor Michael Bilandic, a City Council rebellion forced Daley to reverse a snow-removal policy that saw City Hall use less salt, plow side streets during normal working hours to avoid costly overtime and skip side streets altogether after minor snowstorms.
Chicago turned into a national laughingstock when a 14-year-old police impersonator scammed his way into going out onto the streets with a real officer for five hours, even driving a squad car. Police Supt. Jody Weis called the incident "unforgivable" and "horribly embarrassing." The mayor was livid.
The Daley shuffle continued with the appointment of CTA President Ron Huberman to replace Arne Duncan to head the city's schools. Before departing to become President Obama's secretary of education, Duncan had recommended his chief education officer, Barbara Eason-Watkins, as his replacement. Daley ignored the advice and picked Huberman, who had endeared himself to the mayor as the City Hall chief of staff who cleaned house after the Hired Truck and city hiring scandals.
The City Hall version of musical chairs also shifted Aviation Commissioner Richard Rodriguez to the CTA. Huberman is an education neophyte. Rodriguez has no background in mass transit. Both moves exposed how thin the mayor's bench of trusted advisers had become.
The mayor later also replaced his chief financial officer, chief procurement officer, budget director, inter-governmental affairs director and inspector general in 2009, along with the CTA Board chairman and commissioners of streets and sanitation, aviation, health, human resources, general services, fleet management and animal care and control.
In March, years of globe-trotting — in part to promote Chicago's ultimately failed 2016 Olympic bid — came back to haunt Daley. The mayor and his wife were accused of taking multiple trips aboard a $31million jet owned by a nonprofit under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and Congress. Daley insisted he had no tax obligation from the trips.
It wasn't long before the mayor was back in his defensive crouch. Former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez, longtime head of the Hispanic Democratic Organization Southeast, was convicted of rigging city hiring and promotions to reward soldiers in the HDO army who campaigned for Daley and his handpicked candidates.
Following an all-too-familiar script, the mayor read a statement apologizing for the rampant hiring fraud on his watch. But he refused to answer questions about politically damaging trial testimony — which might be replayed now that a federal judge last week ordered a new trial for Sanchez.
Fallout from the Sanchez verdict was nothing compared with the backlash that followed the 75-year deal that privatized Chicago's 36,000 parking meters. Steep rate increases that forced drivers to stuff their pockets with quarters would have been bad enough. But broken pay-and-display boxes and overstuffed and improperly calibrated meters made it even worse.
No other issue during the Daley years — not even the mayor's infamous midnight destruction of Meigs Field in 2003 — has resonated more with Chicagoans than the parking-meter mess. For political opponents, it's the gift that keeps on giving, with pay-and-display boxes freezing up during a recent cold snap and another rate increase scheduled to take effect as 2010 begins Friday.
Drivers vented their anger by vandalizing meters and boycotting on-street parking, punishing already-struggling local merchants.
The issue saw aldermen run for cover from a deal they'd approved in record time. Daley defended it but acknowledged that City Hall botched a too-quick transition.
Inspector General David Hoffman piled on by concluding that taxpayers would have been $974 million better off if the Council had raised rates by the same amount and kept the meters for the next 75 years.
Chicago was deprived of an even bigger windfall when Daley's $2.5billion plan to privatize Midway Airport collapsed for lack of financing. That left taxpayers with a $126 million down payment but no apparent way to shore up underfunded city pensions that threaten to become a financial albatross for future generations of property owners.
The Midway deal fizzled just as a burgeoning financial crisis triggered a dire warning: Without another round of unpaid furlough days for city workers and other union concessions, Daley would lay off 1,600 employees. All but three city unions ultimately agreed to the mayor's demand, reducing the number of pink slips to 431.
With city revenues plummeting, the mayor also yanked off the table a five-year, 16.1 percent pay raise that police officers had deemed inadequate to begin with.
Thousands of police officers chanting, "Daley sucks," marched around City Hall in a protest timed to embarrass the mayor during the International Olympic Committee's final visit to Chicago.
Daley had more important things on his mind. His wife, Maggie, underwent a biopsy of a lesion on her spine, a sign that her 7Â½-year battle against metastatic breast cancer, which has defied the odds, had taken a dramatic turn for the worse. It would be the first of two major setbacks for Chicago's 66-year-old first lady. By year's end, she was temporarily using a wheelchair while undergoing radiation treatments for a malignant tumor in her right leg.
Her health wasn't the only Daley family crisis. Federal subpoenas issued to city employee pension funds prompted the mayor's nephew Robert Vanecko to drop out of a risky real estate venture involving $68 million in pension funds.
It wasn't soon enough for the mayor, who insisted that he had tried to get his nephew out of the deal nearly two years earlier, only to be ignored.
The Daleys are a close-knit family, usually closing ranks at the first whiff of trouble. This was the first time the mayor had ever aired the family's dirty laundry in public.
"I love my nephew. It's difficult for me to have my disappointment in him made public," the mayor said, offering an explanation that was difficult for many Chicagoans to swallow.
An even tougher sell was the mayor's surprise promise in June to IOC members meeting in Switzerland. After repeatedly insisting that he would never put a blank check behind Chicago's Olympic bid, Daley offered to sign a host-city contract that amounted to an open-ended guarantee from local taxpayers.
Blindsided by the mayor's promise and burned by the parking-meter deal, aldermen demanded another City Council vote.
To insulate taxpayers and keep public support from hemorrhaging, Daley asked Chicago 2016 committee Chairman Pat Ryan to line up more than $1 billion in private insurance. And he ordered Ryan to hold a series of public hearings in all 50 wards.
It worked. After extracting concessions, aldermen approved the blank check. That set the stage for what Daley hoped would be a "defining moment" in Chicago history akin to the Great Chicago Fire and the World's Columbian Exposition.
The mayor's spirits soared even higher when President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey agreed to join Daley in Copenhagen for the final sales pitch to the IOC.
On Oct. 2, thousands of volunteers jammed Daley Center Plaza for what they thought would be a celebration. Instead, Chicago suffered a knockout so stunning it took the city's collective breath away. The 2016 Games would be held in Rio de Janeiro. Chicago was knocked out in the first round of voting. After exhausting his political capital on the Olympics at the expense of higher priorities, the mayor had virtually nothing to show for it — only 18 first-round votes.
Daley returned home to face a $520 million city budget gap, a $300 million CTA shortfall and the continuing fallout from the horrific videotaped beating death of a Fenger High School student.
Some wondered whether the Olympic debacle would mark the beginning of the end for Daley. They questioned his will to dive back into Chicago's toughest problems without the bonanza of federal funding, jobs and contracts that an Olympics would have provided.
The mayor responded by showcasing a political resiliency that has long been underestimated. He threw more money and police officers at the vexing problem of youth violence, turned up the heat to end the stalemate over allowing more Wal-Mart stores and ribbed reporters for dancing on his grave.
"You have my obituary already set. You've been writing that for years. … I don't know why you already put me in the grave," he said.
Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) dug his own grave by allegedly accepting $40,000 in home improvements, meals and sports tickets from a West Side developer in exchange for zoning changes that netted the developer millions. But it was Carothers' decision to wear an electronic eavesdropping device that sent shock waves through City Hall. The alderman's wire has already led to charges against a Naperville businessman accused of trying to buy airport concessions.
The Carothers bombshell paled by comparison with what happened Nov. 16. The body of Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott, a longtime and invaluable Daley confidant, was found face-down in a foot of water with a gunshot wound to the head in a lonely downtown spot along the Chicago River.
The medical examiner ruled his death a suicide. A shaken Daley accused her of grandstanding and jumping to conclusions. The police kept investigating. They ultimately reached the same conclusion.
Months before committing suicide, Scott had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating how students are chosen for admission to some of Chicago's elite public schools. Questions have also been raised about school expense-account spending and about his development deals, some conflicting with his role as co-chairman of Chicago 2016's Outreach Advisory Council.
Scott's death left a giant void in Daley's shrinking inner circle and at the Board of Education, where budget troubles threaten to increase class size and force teacher layoffs, pay cuts and reduced pension contributions next year. Those painful choices were avoided this year after the mayor signed off on a $43 million school property tax increase.
Daley managed to avoid tax and fee increases in the city budget only after nearly using up reserves from the parking-meter deal that were supposed to last for 75 years.
He expected to be hailed for his foresight in helping Chicago avoid the tax increases and police layoffs faced by other deficit-ridden cities. Instead, he drew accusations of mortgaging the city's future.
Winfrey — for whom Daley closed North Michigan Avenue to make way for her 24th season premiere — delivered a knockout punch as 2009 mercifully drew to a close. She announced that the 25th season would be the last for her Chicago-based show. She was pulling up stakes for sunny California to focus on her cable network.
It was a painful but fitting end to a year that Daley would undoubtedly just as soon forget.
(Response) I think Fran Spielman gave the knock out punch! WOW!!!