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City Hall: The Home for Ex-Cons to Find a Job

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 7, 2011 2:30PM

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The Sun-Times continues its investigation into ex-cons being hired by City Hall today with a piece that counts 139 former offenders who have obtained jobs from the city in the past two years. Mayor Daley has long championed the practice of hiring people who have been convicted of crimes, believing that they've paid their debt to society and deserve a new lease on life. But this is Chicago and the list puts into question who some of these ex-cons know and if that influences their obtaining employment with the city.

One ex-con who wasn't named told the Sun-Times that he was on the "clout list" of former Daley patronage chief Robert Sorich, who was convicted five years ago of presiding over an illegal city hiring scheme. the felon's political sponsor was former Ald. Isaac "Ike" Carothers, who's serving a prison sentence for influencing a zoning case. Daley has said that he would work to make sure Sorich is able to return to a normal life once he's served his time.

Another ex-con hired by the city was convicted of shooting two police officers in the 1970s, one of them in the face. Yet another convicted felon hired by Ald. Carrie Austin was convicted of drug smuggling and was facing new charges at the time she was hired.

The hiring of ex-cons by the city is especially sensitive to city workers who have been laid off the Sun-Times interviewed for the article Keith Bialoruski, a city building inspector laid off two years ago, who understandably can't fathom why he doesn't have a job when some ex-cons do.