SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
More unanswered questions

Thursday, Aug 26, 2010

* I have at least three remaining questions about the Jerry Stermer debacle. The first is who illegally leaked the Stermer report to the media. The second is whether former Executive Inspector General James Wright knew/heard/suspected that Gov. Pat Quinn was about to replace him before he turned in his report on Quinn’s chief of staff. There’s some suspicion among Quinn’s partisans - rightly or wrongly - that Wright could’ve kept that report about Stermer’s self-reported three campaign-related e-mails in a desk drawer as a sort of employment insurance (Quinn said he interviewed several replacement candidates this year, so the scuttlebutt around the office was probably intense), and might have leaked it to the media in retaliation for being fired

The state watchdog who was fired after investigating one of Gov. Pat Quinn’s senior aides says he’s surprised the chief of staff resigned over the issue.

Former executive inspector general James Wright tells Chicago’s WLS Radio that he thinks Jerry Stermer is a “stand-up guy.” Wright says he didn’t seek Stermer’s resignation and he thought a verbal reprimand would have been enough.

Awww. That’s so sweet. Seven months investigating somebody who in the end deserved only a verbal reprimand?

My last unanswered question is about Quinn: What the heck was he thinking firing an executive inspector general two months before an election? Is he daft?

* The goo-goos’ reaction to the Wright investigation and Stermer’s resignation is fascinating, by the way

“In this particular situation, you’ve got a man who’s widely thought to be an honest and honorable guy who reports his own mistakes, and then we spend resources and months sorting through 37,000 e-mails.”

Andy Shaw, director of the Better Government Association, called Stermer’s transgressions “the ethics equivalent of jaywalking.” […]

Kent Redfield, emeritus professor of political studies at the University of Illinois Springfield, said the incident shows that more transparency is needed regarding what inspectors general are doing. […]

“In Illinois we need to really put things on a scale. I don’t think we need to waste a nickel on this,” Canary said.

But Shaw said the panel should pursue the matter “if they think there is value in coming out with an explanation and a finding that can be used in the future.

Jerry Stermer is a decent guy and I hate to see him go out like this. The OEIG has done some good work in the past, but they appeared to lack perspective on this one. Stermer turned himself in for what Shaw is correct in saying is the “ethics equivalent of jaywalking.” And then Wright claims he spent more than seven months investigating the man. The goo-goos helped write this law, which has so clearly gotten out of hand. They ought to help reform the reform.

* Related…

* Hard to believe coincidence in inspector’s firing

- Posted by Rich Miller        


31 Comments
  1. - Ahoy - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    Quinn’s Governorship has not been successful… at all. Is Stermer falling on more than one sword?


  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:07 am:

    Careful about asking for more “reform” from the goo-goos. We’ll end up with special prosecutors for every questionable practice like in the good old days in Washington, when it was considered social suicide NOT to have a special prosecutor after you.


  3. - Ben Gazzara - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:11 am:

    Breaking news:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/2640788,robert-blagojevich-case-rod-082610.article


  4. - Skirmisher - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:14 am:

    As with everything else that happens in this administration, none of it makes a lot of sense. The guy who ends up looking weak and foolish is once again none other than Quinn himself, who, as usual, seems to have over-reacted and done himself more harm than good.


  5. - Doug Dobmeyer - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:15 am:

    jerry fell on a sword either because was asked to or he felt that was best for his boss… all it shows is how muddled the boss is.


  6. - Madame Defarge - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    in this “reign of Terror”, as with others, there are no longer minor offenses everyone it seems must go to the guillotine. Not healthy then or now.


  7. - Pat Robertson - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    I think Stermer was so embarassed by Quinn’s latest flip-flop on furlough days (which went out over Stermer’s signature on Friday) that he just couldn’t take it any more.


  8. - Bob - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:37 am:

    They should have popped him for a $1,500 fine just like they did Shelia, Abby, and Rebecca.


  9. - cassandra - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:40 am:

    Wasn’t Wright appointed by Blago. Maybe after the arrest and impeachment and attendant publicity, he
    was afraid of the consequences of making a decision and/or of declaring the matter a trivial one. So he procrastinated. We’ll probably never know, but I wouldn’t assume the worst.

    Also, how long do inspector general investigations
    normally take, not just eoig but dcfs and others.

    One thing is clear. Quinn should have replaced him over a year ago or re-appointed him. I simply don’t believe he couldn’t have found somebody competent before now.


  10. - downstate hack - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:43 am:

    If indeed there was nothing to this but three e-mails, it is really astounding how the Quinn administration blew it out of proportion. I agree with Rich “What the heck was he thinking firing an executive inspector general two months before an election? Is he daft?”


  11. - Louis Howe - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 11:56 am:

    When even the Goo-Goo God’s say an infraction was comparable to “Jaywalking’ Quinn looks like a fool for allowing Stermer to resign. On second thought, perhaps it’s the classic case of “when two fools met”….Stermer for resigning over an innocuous email and Quinn for letting him do it.


  12. - Draznnl (Rhymes with orange) - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 12:05 pm:

    You ask, “Is he daft?”
    Did you want a group “Duh” in response?


  13. - Way Way Down Here - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 12:06 pm:

    I think Jerry wanted out very badly. Who can blame him at this point.


  14. - D.P. Gumby - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 12:18 pm:

    Wright is no great loss and the OEIG would benefit from transparency to show what a waste of space it is.


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 1:03 pm:

    I don’t think it is unreasonable for an IG to take many months investigating this situation. Remember, this is not just about sending the e-mails that violates state ethics laws. It was the content contained within the e-mails that required an extensive investigation. What Stermer was saying in the e-mails is that he was using state resources to coordinate with the Quinn campaign. Now whether you believe it is appropriate for some cross-over coordination is the subject of another post, but the conduct that Stermer admitted to in his e-mails is a clear and serious violation that deserved a thorough investigation. I wonder if the goo-goos would be just as dismissive of this investigation if it wasn’t Quinn and Stermer?


  16. - public employee - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    ‘Reign of terror’ is the perfect description of the OEIGs activities.

    It’s nice that better govt types will stand up for one of their own, but I wish they would stand up for the front line workers that have been subjected to data mining, surveilance and year long investigations over less serious offenses. At least Stermer was a high level official doing campaign work on state email. I have seen investigations where front line clerical staff are literally placed under surveillance for being 15 minuteslate to work. Now they are filing complaints for campaigning at state buildings even if no state resources or time were used and where the individual employee was already reprimanded or counseled by the Agency or exonerated by an arbitrator’s decision.

    In trying to make common sense of this situation we may be missing the lack of common sense in the entire OEIG process.


  17. - Ghost - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 2:26 pm:

    I disagree with the OEIG doing some good work. I question why we have or need such an ofice. Almost all agencies have an Internal Affirs or inspector general in house. For those that dont, or i you need to investigate a multi agency issue these used obe handeled by the ISP, with employes an inestigators who were somewhat shielded by theunion and the police merit board.

    Instead we have another investigative agency on top of the already existing ones, with employees and leaders serving at the will of the governor without any protection or insualtion. Seems like a good place for a budget cut.


  18. - flabergasted - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 3:00 pm:

    Have you forgotten about the HFS-IG that conducted covert investigation in local bars? He is still there. And this seemed really untenable, too.


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 3:10 pm:

    Can you imagine being Pat Quinn’s chief of staff? Translating that vision into making the trains run on time?

    If I were Shermer, I’d cop to not kicking in for communal coffe, either. Expel me. Get me out of this job!


  20. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    The investigation standards of the national Association of Inspectors General, which has certified many state EIGs and staff as trained and tested IGs, call for thorough investigations.

    This necessarily means that when someone “confesses” to having violated the law or rules only 3 times, the IG investigation begins at zero and is conducted de novo to see exactly what, and what else, the employee did do wrong.

    How ludicrous to accept the word of an admitted rule/law breaker that his misconduct was limited only to those things he/she is now admitting.

    On the issue of the forensic examination of electronic evidence, a professional IG investigator treats all investigations the same - each is built from the ground up.

    An invesigator does not ask for 1 email. The investigator obtains the subject’s entire email archive and conducts a thorough search for evidence of misconduct - ALL of the misconduct committed by the subject. And an email archive can easily contain as little as 38,000 messages.

    The investigators that I know can carry up to one dozen cases at a time. That necessarily means that previously and newly assigned investigations have to be conducted simultaneously. With only 5 days in a week that means that many investigations will take 3, 6, 12, 18 months so that all evidence can be obtained for analysis and so all witnesses - those against and those supporting the subject - can be found and interviewed.

    And yes, the time thief/cheat might be surveilled, not for coming in 15 mins late one day, but for an alleged pattern of doing so day after week after year - stealing perhaps tens of thousands of dollars in salary from taxpayers.

    Those who criticize the length or extent of an IG investigations really are totally ignorant of what a thorough professional investigation requires according to best-practices ans stanards. To be sure, it’s not what often passes for a media investigation - 3 interviews, a document and a 7-day expose series that produces no evidence that would stand up in court.

    Insiders tell me that Wright’s investigations were each vetted through multiple layers of supervisors and multipe layers of attorneys to make sure each was fair, thorough and had evidence sufficient (probably cause) to support discipline, an Ethics Commission hearing, or in some cases federal prosecution of some of the people you read about in headlines.

    I understands that these IG investigations are the real deal, folks - each is a serious as a heart attack, and none are 2 interviews and type it up. Not even state, federal or county prosecutors do a more thorough job, from what I see. And OEIG investigators. managers and lawyers would know since almost all of them are from prosecutorial, law enforcement, or other IG offices.

    If you are a truly innocent state employee, the OEIG is your best friend because they will work as vigorously to find evidence of innocence as of guilt. And if you are a bad actor, well, they will be on you like stink on a bad discharge.

    People tend to criticize what they do not understand, so that excuses the uninformed opinions of most people. They don’t know, but desire to be informed, to learn.

    But it doesn’t excuse the ignorant, clueless comments made by those employed, or self-employed, to pass on their so-called wisdom and knowledge to you.

    So here’s a test for us all to present to anyone who is telling you that they “are in the know”: Mr./Mrs. all-knowing one, how many investigations have you conducted from beginning to end? How many times have you called an IG office for an explanation of their procedures and how things work there. How many federal prosecutions have you assisted? How many corrupt officials have you directly run out of office - not as a result of subsequent criminal prosecution, but directly on the strength of your stories/work?

    And we ought to insist on a very very high number before considering that person to be an expert on how a professional administrative investigation ought to be run.


  21. - zatoichi - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 4:07 pm:

    3 emails out of 37,000 costs you a job? Imagine what the crime of drinking Coca Cola in buildings where Pepsi has the contract would get. Like an old management mantra: major in minors. The pettiness must be unrelenting.


  22. - 69 mets - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 4:22 pm:

    anonymous 1:03
    excellent. the Chief of staff was directing HIS staff to do political work. how many manhours in OMB would have been spent or was spent coming up with the budget reduction numbers? probably a lot since they’ve never had a budget.


  23. - TIRED OF THIS - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 4:47 pm:

    And you still have Blago man LAVIN running things and putting his people in every agency


  24. - Upstate - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 5:40 pm:

    The whole episode is not about ethics; it’s about Quinn’s judgment. He wants again shows a lack of spine, cutting loose a good man for political reasons, rather than standing behind him.


  25. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 6:11 pm:

    The goo-goos responded in the way that they have because this is much ado about nothing. There is absolutely zero evidence of either an intent to break the rules, a pattern of ethics violations or any other discernible problem. None.

    This was a sad event and Rich’s questions are absolutely right. Did Wright leak this or release this in a fit of peak against the administration? If he did (and there is certainly a fair bit of smoke around this), then he has committed a far more serious violation than Stermer.

    And no, I don’t really know him. Stood up at a press conference with him and a bunch of others once. It’s not the point. This circumstance stinks.


  26. - Way Way Down Here - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 6:34 pm:

    - zatoichi - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 4:07 pm: Don’t joke about that one. Been busted myself for that.


  27. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 10:00 pm:

    Anonymous 4 pm

    What a crock. Just for an example: take multiple months to investigate an infraction by a union employee and lose any ability to discipline because of lack of timeliness.

    You speak the bs of the bureaucrat. Look at it, use everyday sense to make decisions, take action or not and move on. Read 38,000 e-mails. What a joke. Do a statistically significant random sample and unless you find alarming results, treat it for what it is, a minor infraction.

    If you want to argue, have the b___s to sign your name.


  28. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 10:09 pm:

    And, my favorite advice to IG types, since you’re so far behind, use the sense God gave you to know the difference between bs and corruption, and spend most of your valuable time on the latter. You won’t be nearly so far behind on the cases that count. You are like an emergency room that forgot how to triage.


  29. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 8:30 am:

    There is more than we know.
    This isn’t about three emails.


  30. - NRA associate - Saturday, Aug 28, 10 @ 6:13 am:

    The OIG is a joke and everyone knows it. Maybe they out to help collect the monies owed from former employees that stole state money but have not paid the state back; auditors at Aging.


  31. - NRA associate - Saturday, Aug 28, 10 @ 8:20 am:

    - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 26, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    I have to agree with Steven on this one. Evidently you are not using common sense to make your deduction of the issue. There were many, many, corrupt and unethical goings on that were swept under the table and the OIG goes after (3) emails? Give me a break.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* This Just In: Exelon Announces More $$$$ For Shareholders, Higher 2015 Profits And Still Seeks Bailout
* *** UPDATED x2 - Counter point - Guzzardi responds *** Unclear on the concept
* Mautino begins releasing documentation
* *** LIVE COVERAGE *** Obama addresses General Assembly
* Federal judge orders state to fund another program
* Englander to Rubio, Kimme needs workers
* Obamapalooza
* Obi-Wan... Karen?
* Drilling into the numbers
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Dunkin crosstabs and a supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Getting around today
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

  
* LG introduces Quick Cover for G5, “a smartphone that does not officially exist”
* Explore life and lost memories after death in ‘Lost Journey’
* LG G5 benchmarked, no surprises found
* Shake up and paint the town in colors with ‘Splash Cars’
* Eye-catching NuAns Neo preparing its international spread
* YouTube Red Originals now available, more titles coming soon
* Sony Xperia Beta Program brings early Marshmallow to older hardware

* Melky: White Sox must play like family to contend
* White Sox remodel in big way this offseason
* White Sox ink Ishikawa to Minor League deal
* White Sox sign righty Latos to 1-year deal
* White Sox sign Mat Latos for one year, $3 million
* Source: White Sox land right-hander Latos
* White Sox lag behind league in solving second spot

...............


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress

Loading


* Rauner to Dems: Work With Me or Pass a Tax Hike.....
* Obama returns to Springfield, calls for biparti.....
* Editorial: Hey, Governor, it ain't workin' - Ch.....
* My View: It will take more than 3 wise men to f.....


* Lawsuit of man who questioned police shootings dismissed
* 'A lesson in humility.' Obama recalls his Springfield tenure
* Chicago settles bias lawsuit filed by Justice Department
* Vehicle emissions test notices suspended amid budget impasse
* Judge rules against Chicago archdiocese in sex abuse case
* The Latest: Obama says 'poisonous' politics a turnoff
* Chicago-area college to name scholarship after ex-professor
* Obama arrives in Springfield to address state lawmakers
* Obama to preach 'better politics' at testy Illinois Capitol
* Officials: Cause of fire that killed 5 likely electrical

* Presidential visit notebook: Obama doesn't like horseshoes?
* District 186 misses out on construction bond program
* Bill aims to create foundation to raise private money for state fairgrounds
* Vehicle emissions test notices suspended amid budget impasse
* Rauner: Bureaucracy is holding Illinois back
* Peoria's Par-A-Dice casino laying off 40, cites impact of video gaming
* IDOT Traffic Safety Division moving to new Springfield location
* Illinois bill would criminalize filming fights to put online
* Obama looking forward to fun visit to Springfield, his spokesman says
* Democrats vying for U.S. Senate talk up experience, background

* President Barack Obama's remarks today to Illinois legislators
* Boeing cutting managers, executives in commercial planes unit
* Burger King adds hot dogs to menu
* Job cuts at center of US Foods' plan to go public
* Flashback: Obama announces presidential campaign bid in Springfield


* Sweet: Nine years later, Obama still seeking antidote to ‘poisonous political climate’
* Sweet: Clinton coming to Chicago for get-out-the-vote drives
* CTA to add 940 video cameras to buses this year
* Justice Dept. sues Ferguson after city tries to revise deal
* Fetty Wap’s meteoric rise an uncompromising success story
* Retiring Ald. Will Burns (4th) goes out with a bang
* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ends 2016 White House bid
* ‘Far from Heaven’ stage musical a genuine 1950s soap opera
* Alderman proposes 50 cent surcharge when cab riders pay with plastic
* Judge tosses ex-IPRA investigator’s lawsuit


* Chicago aldermen water down watchdog ordinance, avoid some scrutiny
* Aurora to pay $2.65 million to wrongly imprisoned man
* Plea deal in works for Greek Orthodox priest charged with theft
* Sentencing delayed for woman facing prison for kicking deputy on shin
* Wistful Obama calls for 'better politics' of civility in return to Springfield
* Judge: Chicago Archdiocese can be punished for its part in McCormack sex abuse case
* Hillary Clinton to rally supporters in Chicago next week
* Getaway driver in fatal Bensenville robbery gets 8 years
* Wheaton College demonstrators launch fast to spotlight Islamophobia
* Pair of aldermen call for lowering sales tax on tampons


* Presidential visit notebook: Obama doesn't like horseshoes?
* District 186 misses out on construction bond program
* Bill aims to create foundation to raise private money for state fairgrounds
* Vehicle emissions test notices suspended amid budget impasse
* Our View: State Museum closure a frustrating saga
* Rauner: Bureaucracy is holding Illinois back
* Peoria's Par-A-Dice casino laying off 40, cites impact of video gaming
* Jerry Jacobson: Council needs to delay YWCA demolition
* Michael Gerson: Trump's authenticity is a lie
* E.J. Dionne: Is Rubio too good to be true?


* PODCAST: Sports Talk 2-10-16
* Generator fire prompts partial evacuation of Danville Public Safety Building
* Feb. 12 Illinois football chat
* Phair will make tweaks
* PODCAST: Dr. Chris Mooney on Obama's address in Springfield
* PODCAST: President Obama addresses supporters in Springfield 2-10-16
* Indiana man in crash charged with possession of stolen vehicle
* UPDATE: Victim ID'd in fatal I-57 crash
* Champaign man turns self in over shooting
* Two sought in Urbana home invasion, robbery


* How to donate water for Flint residents
* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ends 2016 White House bid
* Pierce 'thankful' in possibly his final visit to Garden
* 2 deputies, suspect dead in suburban shopping area gunfire
* Grayslake man died doing what he loved

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Durbin asks Illinois VA to act after for-p......
* Illinois delegation members join together ......

* Illinois delegation members join together ......
* In letter to NGA director, Illinois Congre......

* Chicago Jobs With Justice Hosts 'Education Justice' Panel Discussion
* President Obama Visits Springfield Urging Lawmakers To Compromise
* Happy Lunar New Year.
* Obama Proposes $4.1 Trillion Budget; Federal Workers Push For Higher Wages
* She’s busy, but Randi still makes time for Hillary.
* Chicago City Council Roundup: The Brouhaha Over Council Oversight & Plan To Slap Cab Riders With Another Surcharge
* Maryville Gets City Council Zoning Okay, Nearing Final Steps of Approval Process
* Obama returns to Springfield to promote "better politics"
* Republican Carly Fiorina suspends 2016 presidential bid
* State Commission Presses Illinois Leaders To Invest $4 Billion In African-American Communities


* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller