Little Chicago we are not.. .But with a little work??
Listening to WGN radio this morning, and being reminded by local bloger “Just Cruising”, a few local events in the world of Chicago politics should spread warning to our local councilman and county supervisors. Please read the entire post to see how it relates to our little part of the world:
According to the Chicago Tribune:
Alderman Troutman (20th Ward) has been arrested. Troutman's attorney, Sam Adam Jr., said his client has been charged with bribery related to the placement of a strip mall in her ward. He said federal officials will allege that Troutman accepted payment in order to get the development in her ward, and allegedly took a kickback in the form of a payment and an agreement for office space. (Please read it here)…
The son of a corrupt former Chicago alderman has received a major promotion into a $103,000-per-year job in the new administration of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Personally, this is a great story, so read it here.
So How Does This Relate?
Well first, understand I am never the person to buy into “appearance of conflicts”. It’s either a conflict or not. At the end of the day, I believe it’s the elected officials responsibility to decide. But they better be damn willing to take the heat.
So it’s typical of politicians to appoint friends, supporters of family members to commissions and such. Maybe in the past, a job or two! But present day realities of openness and transparency make this a really bad idea. So it should surprise many that the Quad City Times could have reported in the last three weeks that Mrs. (Bill) Fennelly has been appointed to a commission and Larry Minards wife’s nomination (for another) is pending.
Would it surprise you that the Compensation Board (that sets the pay scale for the commission and all county elected) comprises of Jay Ingram, Bill Wilke, Howard Harkins, Stephen Schalk, Patt Zamora, Gary Koos and Al Hite.
And we only need to look at the appointment of Mr. Howard (Jamie’s Husband) to Davenports Civil Service commission that created such a controversy. To have a spouse of an elected official sit in judgment of fired employee’s (Hello Phil), probably wasn’t worth the heat. And I am sure folks would quickly point to allegations of former alderman like Engelmann and McGivern.
So What’s my point?
The latest news out of Chicago reminds me how good natured our local government entities are. Allegations of self appointed raises, family members to non-paid commissions or even putting your good development buddy on the compensation board is nothing compared to bribery charges or getting your nephew a $105,000 job. Our local political blunders are typically of ignorance, stupidity or the inability to understand the difference between the two.
So breathe easy Davenport; Little Chicago we are not!!! But comparing ourselves to the Big City has never been the standard. And from my perspective, we are starting to get a little sloppy in the State of Scott.