The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Daley Personnel Chief Resigns, Defends Himself

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jul 8, 2009 2:00PM

Still taken from ABC 7 video
The woes of Mayor Daley continue. With the parking meter deal and the Olympic bid coming under extreme scrutiny, and his nephew's wheelings and dealings, the last thing he needs is another accusation of shady hiring practices, especially in the wake of this year's Hired Trucks trial. But that's what he's getting. Yesterday afternoon, Human Resources Commissioner Homero Tristan, the man Daley brought in to help the city avoid such scandals, resigned in the wake of accusations of lying by city Inspector General David Hoffman; Hoffman had called for Tristan's firing two weeks ago. In spite of the resignation, Tristan maintains his innocence, claiming it's now impossible for him to defend himself while also trying to serve the city. Tristan said (via the Sun-Times):

“I’m resigning because I believe I’ve become a bit of a distraction. The inspector general’s report is grossly erroneous and questionable in its legality. My primary responsibility is to clear my name and reputation and defend the integrity of the Department of Human Resources under my leadership. I can’t do them both simultaneously.”

A specific incident that's led to Tristan's resignation began with a January 29 letter from Ald. Michael Zalewski (23rd). The letter was on behalf of a city worker who was facing a transfer that would have played them farther from their home. Such an attempt of clout is not uncommon, as anyone who has lived here for any length of time knows, but it's also a big no-no. What's unclear is how much Tristan knew and why he didn't report the letter. Tristan reportedly told the federal hiring monitor he wasn't sure if he had to report it but IG Hoffman's investigators weren't informed by Tristan several weeks after the fact. This in spite of the fact that one subordinate told both the hiring monitor and the IG that Tristan was briefed on the letter the day after it was sent and another subordinate sent Tristan an email about the letter.

Of course, that's the just the most egregious example (so far) of shenanigans Tristan stands accused of. The Tribune reported:

Both the court hiring monitor and Daley's Office of Compliance have repeatedly criticized Tristan for his alleged failure to comply with the city's own hiring plan. In a report last month, the compliance office said the department's leadership often "lacks a basic understanding of the new hiring plan."

Tristan was brought on board in June 2008 and the hiring raised eyebrows because of his close affiliations with Daley ally Ald. Daniel Solis (25th). Mayor Daley has yet to comment on the resignation, but spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said, "The mayor understands that the commissioner doesn't want to be a distraction." [Trib, S-T]