We're All Soldiers for Stroger
By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 7, 2008 11:00PM
Todd Stroger dismissed a 54-page report (PDF) on patronage yesterday. The report, filed last week by retired Cook County Circuit Judge Julia Nowicki, the federally appointed hiring monitor for the county, documents allegations by more than 220 people that illegal patronage practices occurred over two years ending February of last year.
Among the allegations in Nowicki's report are an employee boasting that he was a "soldier for Stroger", and would be promoted shortly. According to witnesses, after working five hours on his first day, he had "already identified co-workers he intended to impose severe discipline upon when he became supervisor." After he was denied a promotion he was unqualified for, the department's Executive Director made him a "lead worker," a position created to grant him supervisory powers without going through the job-posting process. Once promoted, that employee sold political swag out of his office, including "sweaters, t-shirts, skull caps, baseball caps, and jackets."
"We have cooperated with her office, but the way the report was written, it makes it appear there have been things that have been going on that are illegal in hiring since I've been the president," Stroger told the Tribune. After disputing the findings, he admitted that he hadn't read the report. "I haven't read her report yet," Stroger said, but "I can read the newspaper.... I've got a good education." Stroger may feel the need to defend his academic credentials, since, according to Nowicki, "except in the case of requiring documentation regarding college and high school credentials and licenses, no action is taken to verify whether information on the applications is accurate."