If you saw Wednesday’s headline in the Chicago Tribune you’ll realize the City of Chicago has been less than successful in its commendable effort to keep employees who’ve quit or been fired for alleged misconduct from popping up on other local public payrolls.
The problem, according to official government watchdogs such as Chicago IG Joe Ferguson and Shakman monitor Noelle Brennan, is that some branches of local government don’t honor the list in their hiring decisions. And others don’t pay attention to it. As a result, there’s a bit too much “Chicago Way” and not enough “New Way” in this endeavor. So in the spirit of transparency, accountability and our unwavering commitment to making “better government” a reality, the BGA filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the entire “do-not-hire” list and we’re publishing it via Document Cloud so no public official can claim that he or she didn’t see the list before hiring someone who’s lost his or her right to be paid with our tax dollars.
The city’s Department of Human Resources released a list with about 250 names, but the list doesn’t apply to sister agencies such as the CTA, CPS or Chicago Park District. Which may explain why the list does include the name of Thomas F. O’Connor Jr., who was hired by the Park District after being fired by the city for driving drunk and crashing a city vehicle on city time. We told that story in a joint investigation with FOX Chicago News.
Human Resources actually released two different lists to the BGA in response to our FOIA requests. The longer list includes people who are banned for life from working for the city, while the shorter list includes people who are banned for a “finite” period.
For the record, the Tribune reports that the new mayor of Chicago may not be bound by the current “do-not-hire” list. So BGA is asking all of the candidates to make two simple commitments: Maintain the list. And pledge to expand its scope and impact to include all branches of local government.