Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, wants to gut a pension reform bill with new legislation friendly to union officials. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune / December 12, 2011)
December 13, 2011
We don’t expect the perpetrators — a slew of Democrats in the Illinois House — to confess. But let’s all remember what they nearly achieved in Springfield late Sunday afternoon, when half of Illinois was shopping and the other half was watching the Chicago Bears.
That obscurity would have been perfect cover for gutting important elements of legislation to crack down on egregious pension abuses that are cheating rank-and-file union members and millions of Illinois taxpayers.
We can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the arrival of four news reporters at this special meeting of a House pension committee radically changed its outcome. See whether you think the Democrats, realizing that they had been found out, hurriedly abandoned a plan to help some important union officials who just happen to be their political allies:
Four reporters may have saved pension abuse legislation
By FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter Jan 14, 2011
Chicago city employees who are convicted of corruption would no longer be able to keep collecting their paychecks while awaiting sentencing, under a crackdown proposed Thursday that calls for firing upon conviction.
Three days after the Chicago Sun-Times’ “The Watchdogs” column disclosed the existence of a loophole through which workers convicted of corruption have remained on the city payroll, in some cases for months, Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) moved to close it.
The ordinance introduced at Thursday’s City Council meeting would change the city’s personnel rules to mandate that any city employee “found guilty of a crime involving corruption during the course of his [or her] public duties shall be discharged immediately after the rendered verdict.”
via City Council urges swift firing of corrupt city workers – Chicago Sun-Times.
November 1, 2010 BY TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporters
It began with the arrest of a former member of the Jesse White Tumbling Team and turned into one of the most significant Chicago corruption investigations of Mayor Daley’ administration.
The federal investigation dubbed “Operation Crooked Code” so far has led to the convictions of 21 people — including 15 city building and zoning inspectors. The 21st conviction came just last Thursday, when a federal jury convicted developer Dumitru Curescu of bribery.
Despite those successful cases, Crooked Code hasn’t been as high-profile as investigations of the city’s Hired Truck Program or city hiring or the Operation Silver Shovel probe, largely because it involves corruption on a smaller scale — rank-and-file city workers taking bribes to overlook building-code violations on neighborhood housing projects.
Still, the joint investigation by the city of Chicago inspector general’s office and federal authorities has changed the way City Hall does business:
• The city now randomly assigns inspectors to job sites, hoping to keep them from developing personal relationships with contractors.
• And once a construction project begins, City Hall tries to ensure that different inspectors examine different phases of the work.
“The old system was a breeding ground for improper relationships,” says Juliet Sorensen, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted most of the 21 people convicted.
via The corruption case you barely heard of :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: The Watchdogs.
UIC-BGA REVIEW | Stroger slams’ publicity stunt,’ says no indictments on his watch
February 19, 2010 BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Reporter
Sure, the lineup of Illinois governors and Chicago alderman marched off to prison is infamous, but a new study shines a light on Cook County government corruption.
Consider: Nearly 150 elected leaders, high-ranking officials and people doing business with the county have been convicted in corruption cases ranging from bribery to ghost-payrolling dating back to 1957, a study released Thursday by the University of Illinois at Chicago and Better Government Association found.
“The pervasive pattern of corruption must be changed if county government is to provide honest, effective, efficient and transparent government at a cost the taxpayers can afford,” said Dick Simpson, a study co-author and the head of UIC’s political science department.
via Study examines decades of Cook County corruption :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Politics.
Associated Press 3:42 p.m. CST, February 8, 2010
CHICAGO – Chicago’s mayor wants to expand the powers of the city’s inspector general by giving him oversight over the city’s hiring and the power to investigate aldermen.
Mayor Richard Daley on Monday said the proposed ordinance, to be introduced to the City Council on Wednesday, is partly a result of the recent guilty plea to corruption by former Alderman Isaac Carothers.
Daley tried 20 years ago to give the inspector general the power to investigate the City Council. The idea was shot down by aldermen.
Inspector General Joe Ferguson calls the mayor’s proposal to allow him to investigate aldermen a “watershed moment” in the fight against City Hall corruption.
Daley’s proposal also would take the hiring oversight duties away from the city’s Office of Compliance. The mayor says the office’s efforts to reform hiring have not worked well.
Mayor wants watchdog to hire Chicago workers – chicagotribune.com