Alderman Tom Tulley’s Boytoy City supervisor called African-Americans ‘wild animals’ in email: IG

The son of a former Chicago alderman used his city email account to buy or sell “at least four firearms and five cars” and send hate-filled emails describing African-Americans as “wild animals.”

Inspector General Joe Ferguson on Monday issued a quarterly report with several explosive new allegations about a Department of Water Management employee whom sources identified to the Sun-Times as former District Superintendent Paul Hansen.

Hansen is the son of former longtime Ald. Bernard Hansen (44th), who presided over Wrigleyville during the Cubs’ marathon battle for lights at Wrigley Field. The son’s checkered past with the water department includes allegations that his political clout helped him get his job back after a DUI conviction.

As the Chicago Sun-Times was first to report, Ferguson originally uncovered the racist, sexist and homophobic emails circulating in the water department while investigating allegations that Paul Hansen had used his city email account to sell guns.

New disclosures include a claim that the now-fired employee sent an email with the subject line “Chicago Safari Tickets” to multiple high-ranking water department colleagues.

“If you didn’t book a Chicago Safari adventure with us this 4th of July weekend, this is what you missed,” the email states, listing the number of people shot in Englewood, Garfield Park, Austin, Lawndale, South Shore, Woodlawn and other neighborhood plagued by gang violence. It concludes: “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.”

Yet another email with the subject line, “Watermelon Protection” includes the image of a Ku Klux Klan robe on a stick in the middle of a watermelon patch. Another under the subject line, “U Know U be In Da Hood” contains several photos, including one of a wheelbarrow full of watermelons with a sign that states, “Apply for a Credit Card. Free Watermelon.”

Hansen was further accused of: “repeatedly” sending sexually explicit photos and videos; using his city email account to negotiate personal purchases or sales of at least four firearms and five cars and using a city computer to access websites unrelated to city business on thousands of occasions over a four-month period, including accessing sexually explicit videos on YouTube.

Hansen hung up on a Sun-Times reporter seeking comment on the new allegations.

Ferguson’s quarterly report also reveals a Water Management chemist “harassed” a former and current employee “through the transmission of multiple text messages and phone calls that included derogatory and threatening messages.”

The alleged harassment occurred “after both employees had already filed multiple complaints–including with the Chicago Police Department, the Department of Human Resources, and OIG — against the chemist for aggressive and threatening behavior toward them.

Newly-appointed Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner followed Ferguson’s recommendation to fire the chemist, only to have the fired employee file a grievance. Arbitration is ongoing.

Another now-fired Water Management supervisor was accused of sending racist and hateful emails that referred to Muslims as “rag head —suckers” and describing African-Americans as “wild animals” who are “untamed” in response to Hansen’s “Chicago Safari” email.

The fired supervisor also suggested that people “should have thrown grenades at a black Italian politician instead of bananas,” Ferguson wrote.

Last month, a housecleaning in the department at the center of the Hired Truck and city hiring scandals swept out Commissioner Barrett Murphy, managing deputy William Bresnahan and Hansen.

Sources said Murphy was held responsible for the chain of racist and sexist emails; Murphy was among those receiving the emails but did not discipline the employee.

Ferguson’s investigation is ongoing and is almost certain to trigger more high-level firings, City Hall sources said.

Rahm Emanuel orders Niggers out of the Yard, Department of Water Management

Chicago Niggers in the Yard.jpg The City of Chicago is under full attack after finding out just a few of the violent racist emails that are circulating at the Chicago Department of Water Management. The City of Chicago is subject to more lawsuits in the future thanks to the great reporting of Chicago Clout. Chicago Clout is going to help every lawyer in Chicago that is going to give honest government back.

The City of Chicago under Rahm Emanuel has the Mosquito program.

“Crews led by the Chicago Department of Water Management and others are dropping larvicide briquettes down all 210,000 catch basins on the public way. The slow-dissolving briquettes will, for the next five months, prevent large amounts of mosquito larvae from developing into biting adults. Additionally, the Department of General Services is ensuring treatment of over 3,000 catch basins not on the public way.”

The real program is a political program to Southside reverends to supply blacks in need of a temporary job. Rahm Emanuel supplies money and taxpayer funded goodwill to his benefit. One Chicago employee with clout will take the minivan (leased) with a van load of blacks and make sure the work is completed. The program helps high ranking black commissioners keep the political clout train rolling. The Jackson Family got a taste of this loot.

Many of the black kids were treated like crap and told not to use the bathrooms and stay away from the regular white and Hispanic crews. They were treated very poorly. One supervisor would always call them niggers. The fuckin niggers are here again. The high ranking North District boss said, “I’ll get rid of those niggers”. Many of the workers would laugh. One black kid had an accident after he was told, “take a shit somewhere else”. The way these black kids were treated was something out of a horror movie. I reported this behavior but nothing was done.
The Inspector General has known about Paul Hansen for years and nothing was done. The Chicago law department has had complaints about the rigged promotion of Paul Hansen, and nothing was done. Maybe Alderman Tunney will return my calls and he can explain why he put told Rahm Emanuel to put Paul in as District Superintendent. Maybe Plumbers Local 130 can explain their part in this mess.
I will have some more items for your interest. I hope the lawyers contact all those black kids and get them some relief. I’ve got some video for the upcoming election. Change. Frank Coconate is going to have some more action soon. “revenge is a dish best served cold”

Water Management employees file federal lawsuit

CHICAGO 06/29/2017, 12:02pm A bronze plaque hangs outside of Chicago’s City Hall
A group of employees have filed a class-action lawsuit over workplace conditions at the city’s Department of Water Management.
Fran Spielman

The pre-emptive strike didn’t work.

On Thursday, four current and two former Water Management employees filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the department at the center of the Hired Truck and city hiring scandals.

The lawsuit accuses the city and top Water Management officials of “deliberate and unlawful policies, patterns and employment practices to create and proliferate a hostile and abusive work environment based on race that includes violence, intimidation, retaliation, constructive discharge against the plaintiffs and the class of similarly situated former and current” employees.

It seeks “unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorneys fees and declaratory and injunctive relief.”

Named plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit were identified as: current employees Derrick Edmond, Katherin Ealy, Craig Robinson, Eddie Cooper Jr. and Robert T. Laws Jr.; and former employees Vicki Hill and Adebola Fegbemi.

All six are African-American, and according to the lawsuit, all “have been subject to the ongoing and continuing violations of a hostile work environment and/or deliberate acts of discrimination during their employment based on their race.”

Indeed, the suit claims the on-the-job actions against the plaintiffs “weave a tapestry of hostility that dominates every aspect” of their job.

That tapestry includes getting less-desirable shifts and work assignments and being denied promotions, transfers, overtime and training opportunities.

Black women were routinely referred to as “bitches and whores,” the suit contends. Those who dared to complain about the discriminatory treatment of African-Americans were also punished with “unfair, arbitrary and capricious discipline, plaintiffs claim.

And in spite of a shake-up touched off by the offensive emails that has already swept out five high-level managers, the city has “done nothing to remedy” the toxic environment, the suit contends.

Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

At his confirmation hearing earlier this week, newly-appointed Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner assured sympathetic aldermen that he would “change the culture” in a department with a history of intolerance and scandal.

Conner is named as one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. So are: former Commissioner Barrett Murphy; former Ald. John Pope (10th), who is now a deputy commissioner in the Department of Water Management and three other high-ranging department officials.

Last month, a housecleaning in the Department of Water Management at the center of the Hired Truck and city hiring scandals swept out Murphy, managing deputy William Bresnahan and district superintendent Paul Hansen.

Sources said Murphy — whose wife is a close friend of Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule — was held responsible for the chain of racist and sexist emails sent by an underling whom the commissioner failed to discipline, even though Murphy was among those receiving the emails.

The Chicago Sun-Times was the first to report that Inspector General Joe Ferguson uncovered the racist, sexist and homo-phobic emails circulating in the Department of Water Management while investigating allegations that Hansen had used his city email account to sell guns.

Murphy’s ouster was a stunner, even in a city department with a history of corruption that’s notorious for its ugly, hate-filled culture.

That’s because it came at the risk of losing two close friends.

Lockwood once chaired a political fundraising committee for the mayor. She’s an Emanuel appointee to the Chicago Public Library board who helped organize the 2012 NATO Summit for the mayor and had a one-year, $160,000 consulting contract with the tourism agency known as Choose Chicago.

Last week, two more high-level supervisors were placed on administrative leave pending termination proceedings.

Thomas J. Durkin, a $106,599-a-year general foreman of plumbers, has been placed on administrative leave without pay while Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner decides whether to follow Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s recommendation that Durkin be fired. Conner who is African-American, has been given carte blanche in a department with an ugly history of corruption and intolerance.

Sources said Durkin was accused of “sending and receiving” the same kinds of racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamaphobic emails that have already triggered the ouster of three other Water Management bosses.

John J. Lee Jr., the $128,088-a-year superintendent of the Water Management’s south district, has also been placed on administrative leave tied to the email scandal.

Durkin and Lee have since resigned.

Black workers denied promotions, called racial slurs at Chicago water department: lawsuit

African-American employees of the Chicago water department routinely were denied promotions, subjected to racial slurs and sexually harassed because of their race, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday that could further roil a department that’s become a racially charged problem for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court, comes weeks after a leadership shakeup at the Department of Water Management as a months-long watchdog probe that ferreted out racist and sexist emails shared among department supervisors.
The suit was filed on behalf of seven current and former employees of the department, and it seeks class-action status, which if granted could expand its scope. The employees alleged they were denied promotions and transfers, given less-desirable work assignments, harassed and wrongly fired in some cases because of their race.
It further states that department workers routinely used racial slurs or racially charged phrases, including the n-word and “you people,” to refer to black employees, according to the lawsuit. “Black female employees are called bitches and whores on a regular basis,” the filing reads.

And when they filed complaints about a hostile work environment, they were “subjected to unfair, arbitrary and capricious discipline for speaking out,” the lawsuit alleges. Department officials “have done nothing to remedy the hostile work environment,” it adds.
The lawsuit asks for a judge to rule that department officials violated federal fair labor laws, bar further discriminatory contact, and provide lost wages and back pay to the allegedly harmed employees.
City officials did not have an immediate response to the lawsuit.

A day before it was filed, Emanuel and the City Council were singing the praises of newly appointed water department Commissioner Randy Conner, an African American man from the South Side who was promoted amid the shakeup and confirmed by aldermen Wednesday. Conner is named as a defendant in the lawsuit because of his new role, but there are no specific allegations in the 40-page filing that accuse him of any specific wrongdoing.

Conner was appointed by Emanuel to replace Barrett Murphy, a friend of the mayor’s who resigned his post as the result of a city inspector general’s investigation that turned up the racist and sexist emails. William Bresnahan, who was managing deputy commissioner, and Paul Hansen, who was a district superintendent, also resigned.
The Tribune earlier this month first reported that Hansen sent to Murphy and Bresnahan emails in early 2014 that included anti-Islamic and racially insensitive language.
Hansen also sent an email that included sexist language as he made fun of a colleague in response to a lengthy message that colleague sent to Hansen about a frozen water main.
In addition, Thomas J. Durkin, the general foreman of plumbers, and John “Jack” Lee Jr., another district superintendent, later were replaced on administrative leave pending disciplinary decisions as a result of the probe.

Chicago Department of Water Management, home of “Wigs and Tits”

The City of Chicago’s Department of Water Management (DOWM) in its present state, is an absolute embarrassment to the entire United States and the whole world. Rahm Emanuel leaks more lies to the press, regarding the behavior and cover-ups of his most profitable enterprise and political money-making machine in the DOWM. Chicago Water Department. For decades, the Chicago Inspector General (Except David Hoffman) has been a willing participant in corruption, cronyism, bogus sweetheart contracts, and by allowing mayhem to ruin this great department.

Let’s talk about a few bright spots. Commissioner Powers did an acceptable job, but did not rein in his political subordinates. When you have a clout heavy employee POS going to the hockey games with the Mayor Emanuel, that who works under you, you cannot allow it. Powers did not control the crony’s idiots below him and paid a dear price. If you cannot control the clouted players, you are doomed. Powers did try to protect the drinking water in Chicago and in so doing, became the latest fall guy but got snuffed out by of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Rahm only cares about green issues when he is the political beneficiary. (his foil is Donald J. Trump). I wish Mr. Powers well and God speed.

Barrett Murphy was just fired from the City of Chicago. He took the reins in May of 2016. I give him credit because when he was number two, he did his job to check on the DOWM crews now and then. When Murphy took over he again did not gain control the madness at the DOWM. Some people like to delegate and some like to control. Murphy would delegate and as a result, his employees under him screwed him in record time. Murphy looks like an absolute fool for allowing William “Bareback” Bresnahan and Paul “Hot Dog” Hansen to run amuck for years. I really doubt Murphy is a racist, and I really doubt he found humor in Paul Hansen’s actions. Murphy is another real fall guy but not for the reasons the Chicago Tribune’s Hal Dardick and Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun Times wrote about him.

William “Bareback” Bresnahan was one entitled clouted player POS from Mt. Greenwood. Typical 19th Ward Clouted POS CPD enabler. Yes Sir, ole William Bresnahan is going home to his Chicago Police Captain wife and is going to need to explain how they are going to take a massive pay cut. Latest I heard is the possible removal of Bresnahan’s police powers. Who the hell wants someone with police powers acting out of control. William Bresnahan has been on my radar for a long time. He testified in court with Paul “Hamburger” Hansen during disciplinary hearings. Chicago hired an arbitrator, bought all the lies from Paul “Hotdog” Hansen.

Alderman Hansen’s son was an absolute self-engrossed idiot if I ever saw one. Since I started with Paul, I could not believe someone would not only hire him, but promote him. Every couple of years, old Paul would receive a promotion. Paul was not capable to do anything except talk big. Talk, talk, and talk shit. Paul Hansen was constantly in trouble but nothing became of it. He broke into cabinets, did as he pleased. He always acted as if anything he did, would have no consequences. Paul had a few guys he counted on to prop him up. They would be in his office every morning. Paul would drive like a fool making a cloud of dust. What a ham. If you think Paul Hansen is done with his city problems, you are wrong. Lawsuits regarding shoring are in route. The cover-ups of Paul Hansen transferring workers from district to district. What Paul Hansen did to Steve Broumas was unreal. Steve Broumas wrote up Paul Hansen at the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Paul went to Steve’s jobsite after and wrote him up. A clear act of retaliation. The entire top brass at the Department of Water Management needs to be fired. They cover up all the time for political hanks. Paul acted up at safety investigations, and was always confrontational. Paul blamed everyone except himself for years. In fact, years ago, Chicago Clout request Paul Hansen’s emails and then was blocked by the FOIA Officer. Yes, Chicago Clout is aware and has friends everywhere.

The future of the Department of Water Management. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the cover-up and email obstructionist, enlisted at taxpayer’s money a law firm to fix the culture of the Department of Water Management. Rahm really hired them to provide political cover for his next election. Rahm wants this company to provide training for racial and behavioral oversight only for supervisors. Rahm does not want regular workers to know the law. This clout heavy law firm will provide a black lawyer to oversee the mess. If you remember my fellow City of Chicago Workers, the Shakman mess, they had workers filling out forms and then never promoted. The workers that filled out the information got the shaft. The water department cannot be fixed because they left people like Lucy Pope Cozzi Anderson to run things. Luci needs to explain why she was in Paul Hansen office on a regular basis. She needs to explain why her husband made it up the promotional ranks so quick. Rahm Emanuel must fire all the people that took illegal promotions. Nothing ever stopped because the bosses are all dirty. If you are at the Chicago Department of Water Management and you are a boss, this is what happens:

The Chicago Department of Water Management gives contracts to over 100 hundred separate companies. Since the Department has spent decades hiring and promoting people like Paul Hansen, it has no competent leadership. The private contractors are hidden from the public eye because of the false and fake “safety, security concerns”. What a crock of shit. These contractors provide nice second jobs after clout heavy families receive their first massive public pension. These companies provide the support to keep the ball rolling and provide political cover for the massive theft and fraud machine Rahm Emanuel controls. No one knows what these contractors do. Joe Ferguson has done nothing to open the books. Nothing. The Plumbers’ Union in Chicago is a willing participant in this ongoing fraud scheme. The lead in the Chicago drinking water is a mess. The recent death of a Chicago City Bricklayer is a mess. The Lack of shoring is a mess. The lack of qualified workers is a mess. The firing of the three bosses a mess. The recent promotion of Randy Connor, Rahm Emanuel knee jerk reaction to put a black commissioner to run the water department, is a nightmare in the making. The only way, Mayor Rahm Emanuel can fix the Department of Water Management is do the following:

Wait, that would put Chicago Clout out of stories. Keep doing the same shit Rahm, I will write about it. Suggestion to Paul Hansen, Superdog is on the Northside, maybe you can bring your grill skills. But I would leave the “Wig and Tits” bullshit disrespect for good. Superdog would not tolerate your bullshit.

Rahm Emanuel demands changes in water department announced; offensive emails released

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is moving to insulate itself from discrimination claims and lawsuits tied to the email scandal that forced a high-level shake-up in the city Department of Water Management.

Additional training for department employees, and an outside review of city policies, were announced Friday, three weeks after a housecleaning swept out Water Commissioner Barrett Murphy, managing deputy William Bresnahan and district superintendent Paul Hansen.

Later Friday, the city released copies of the offensive emails — messages that included racist, Islamophobic and sexist remarks.
Article by Fran Spielman Chicago Sun-Times

In March 2014, Hansen sent an anti-Muslim chain email to Murphy and Bresnahan. The email — with the subject line “Muslims My Ass…” — decried a perceived lack of Muslim influence in American culture, concluding with a reminder that Muslims carried out the Sept. 11, 2011, and 2013 Boston Marathon terror attacks.

“Have you heard a Muslim orchestra? Have you seen a Muslim band march in a parade? Have you witnessed a Muslim charity?” the email read.

The email went on to rhetorically ask: “Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era of this country? Not present. There are no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. or helping to advance the cause of Civil Rights.”

(Malcolm X, a leading voice in the civil rights era, was Muslim.)

Meanwhile, it was announced that all managers and supervisors in the water department — which also had been at the center of past scandals involving city hiring and the Hired Truck Program — will be required to undergo additional equal employment opportunity training.

The training was unveiled by Human Resources Commissioner Soo Choi and newly appointed Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner. It will be rolled out to other city departments “in the coming months.”

Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel also announced he has hired the Foley & Lardner law firm and attorney Z Scott, a former executive inspector general for the governor, to conduct an “independent, third-party review” of the city’s diversity and equal employment opportunity policies.

The firm will “make recommendations to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace,” Siskel said.

Changes will be made to ensure that “not only are employees and supervisors aware of the policy, but that complaints are reported and investigated in a timely manner,” officials said.

The moves are aimed at staying ahead of any lawsuits or harassment claims; the water department email scandal could provide fodder for such legal action.

Sources said Murphy — whose wife is a close friend of Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule — was held responsible for the racist and sexist emails sent by Hansen; the commissioner failed to discipline Hansen, even though Murphy was among those receiving the emails.

Another one of those emails was sent in January 2014. It was a chain email Hansen sent to Murphy, and it included a series of caricature-like images of President Barack Obama holding signs, with some reading “Thank you for your support citizens peasants comrades! [sic]” “Don’t call your Senators, I and my trusty czars will handle everything!” and “If you’re a soldier, a Christian, or a hunter, you’re probably a TERRORIST!”

Like most chain emails, the messages encouraged recipients to forward them on to others.

Choi said Friday that the city “is committed to ensuring equal opportunity in the workplace, and no acts of discrimination will be tolerated.”

Conner is the new African-American commissioner in a department with an ugly history of corruption and intolerance. He’s been given carte blanche to clean house.

“As the incoming commissioner, I am committed to fostering an inclusive, welcoming environment,” a City Hall announcement quoted Conner as saying.

Like the Water Management shakeup, the new moves were announced late on a Friday — City Hall’s traditional burial ground for bad or embarrassing news.

Laura Washington Two jobs. And more B.S. from the Sun-Times.

That’s all it took to spur six black aldermen to convene a news conference last week, in praise of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


On Wednesday, the members of the Chicago City Council stepped up to the microphones to “thank” Emanuel for appointing African Americans to lead two major city agencies.

The aldermen — Michelle Harris (8th), Derrick Curtis (18th), Michael Scott (24th), Walter Burnett (27th), Carrie Austin (34th) — “are among Emanuel’s staunchest City Council supporters,” the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reported.

They praised the mayor for moving quickly to replace Water Department Commissioner Barrett Murphy, who resigned in the wake of allegations of racist, sexist and homophobic emails that circulated in the department.

Emanuel replaced Murphy with Randy Conner, an African-American, and appointed Samantha Fields to replace departing budget director Alexandra Holt.

“We’re here to say `thank you’ — to say that it’s a job well done, but it is not a job finished,” Scott was quoted as saying. “We want to continue moving African-Americans up the ranks through this city.”
Not just two jobs. Two big-shot jobs. These appointees are highly-paid, highly-employable bureaucrats in service of the mayor.

Speaking of jobs, Illinois now enjoys the dubious distinction of having the highest black unemployment rate in the nation, according to a new report from the Illinois Policy Institute.

In 2016, African Americans suffered a 12.7 percent jobless rate, compared with Latinos at 6.7 percent and 5 percent for white residents.

Only 51 percent of black adults in Illinois had some type of employment, shows the Institute’s analysis of data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Most probably live in black Chicago, in the same West Side and South Side neighborhoods those aldermen serve.

I wonder if the aldermen asked their constituents how they felt about that study? And what do they think about the tsunami of troubles for black Chicago? African Americans are on the receiving end of seemingly chronic police misconduct and abuse cases, vividly personified by the heinous police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Black Chicago suffers most from violent, murderous street crime, expressway shootings and carjackings. Our children are hostage to a public school system that is flirting with bankruptcy.

Yet, apparently, black Chicago has come such a long way that some aldermen are already endorsing Emanuel for reelection.

The man hasn’t even said he will seek a third term.

At the press conference, Austin said Emanuel should get credit where credit is due. “When he does something negative, nobody is short on printing that. But when he does something positive, everything is silent,” she was quoted as saying. “So we felt that we should be the ones to speak out when he has done something forward-thinking.”

Can’t we do better than two big-shot jobs?

How about enacting more effective policies and legislation that will address the vast needs of their neighborhoods? Now?

Instead of issuing meaningless endorsements, how about getting in the mayor’s face? How about pounding the podium, every day, in outrage at the poverty, violence and hopelessness so many of their constituents live with, every day? And demanding resources from Springfield and Washington?

How about remembering who you work for?

Sun-Times misses the point with Joe Ferguson Clown Prince of the Inspector General

Joe Ferguson, Chicago Inspector General first in line to steal credit. Ole Joe, tells everyone he separates the wheat from the chaff. When a Chicago City workers calls, or emails the O.I.G. you would expect an investigation. You would expect an interview to obtain a proper response to your concerns. I know for a fact when David Hoffman, the outstanding inspector general ran things, his staff was top notch and professional.
Not the case for phony Joe Ferguson, the psychic inspector general that know everything. Emails are not returned. Joe has not done a fucking thing about the corrupt promotion system still in place at the Department of Water Management. Joe covered up for Paul Hansen for over a decade.

But what we do know is the following, Joe Ferguson tips off the Sun-Times on a regular basis. Joe Ferguson tips off all departments when he faxes over inquires for information.
Joe Ferguson does not expose Chicago Commissioners that stall and refuse to discipline workers. When you ask for a FOIA from the Inspector General, they stall. Same treatment when you file complaints against corrupt FOIA officers covering up crime in Chicago. One thing we know for sure, Joe retaliated against whistleblowers and is a puppet of Rahm Emanuel. Most of the challenged I.G. complaints are dismissed in court as a farse. Most I.G. employees are part time pass through college grads waiting for a real job. But don’t worry, Joe will be the first in line to pose for pictures and take credit he does not deserve. P.S. Joe, remove that ugly mole from your nose.

Sun-Times Editorial Board
Just when you think Chicago municipal government is fully joining the modern world, somebody tugs open a closet door and out tumble the patronage hacks, the mopes who sleep on the job and the two-bit office bigots who really should shut up.

Feels like old times, you know?

That’s how we felt last week when we learned that goofs in the city’s Department of Water Management had been caught bouncing around emails that were racist, sexist and homophobic.


We can’t say we were surprised. The Department of Water Management has a long history of corruption and bigotry. But didn’t this stuff pretty much end when a federal court killed patronage politics? Once a judge handed down a series of rulings beginning in the late 1970s, known as the Shakman decrees, that banned hiring based on family or political loyalty, Uncle Al in Streets and San could no longer hire Cousin Bob or protect him when he screwed up.

Or so we thought.

We asked Don Rose, the veteran political consultant.

“Somehow, a few old-style patronage havens continue to exist,” he said with a shrug. “We’ll have these little sewers around for a few years.”
Elected officials, Rose said, are loath to give up “what few patronage privileges remain.”

In the meantime, all we can do is hold people to account when the sewage bubbles up.

On that score, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had no choice but to fire Barrett Murphy, the head of the Department of Water Management. Murphy may be more new school than old school, or so we’re told, but he was aware of the offensive emails and apparently did nothing about them.

The very way the emails were discovered by City Inspector General Joe Ferguson tells you something about the department’s continued hinky ways. Ferguson was investigating allegations that an employee was using his city email account to sell guns. Who uses the company email to sell guns?

And the employee in question was Paul Hansen, a son of former longtime Ald. Bernie Hansen.

Paul Hansen, as reporter Fran Spielman notes, has the kind of checkered past that once was common among a certain substrata of clout-protected city workers. Among the classic knocks against him — this really is old-school Chicago — is that he allegedly used political clout in 2010 to get his job back after a DUI conviction. Given that part of Hansen’s job was to drive around town to check on work sites, you might wonder about that.

But, then, this is the same Department of Water Management run 14 years ago by a deputy commissioner, Donald Tomczak, who went to prison for utterly ignoring all that Shakman stuff and doling out jobs, promotions and overtime to an army of political workers. It’s the same department at the center of the Sun-Times’ 2004 “Hired Trucks” investigation, in which we learned the city was hiring private truck companies with excellent political connections to do little or no work.

When Emanuel fired Barrett last week, he acknowledged that the Department of Water Management still has its issues. He said there should be a “reset button hit as it related to the culture.”

The good news is that the Department of Water Management, by anybody’s honest reckoning, is no longer the norm among city departments. It is more of a cultural zombie, popping back to life just when you thought it might be dead. Federal court orders, federal prosecutions and political evolutions, such as how local elections are funded and fought, have led to dramatic reforms.

Key to that progress has been the creation of an office of inspector general by many units of local governments, including Ferguson’s office for City Hall.

Even as the old ways die out, the best inspectors general remain on zombie patrol.