* It would be nice to see what happened after 1991. Did MJM’s patronage influence wane? I kinda doubt it. Sun-Times…
A new report by Gov. Pat Quinn’s transit task force came out swinging Monday at House Speaker Michael Madigan, accusing him of “in effect” deciding for years if some job candidates were hired at Metra.
The report — whose ethics recommendations were overseen by former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald — revealed that Metra kept three boxes of three-by-five-inch cards holding the names of more than 800 people referred for jobs, promotions or raises by “various political officials or persons influential with political parties.’’
Those boxes dated roughly from 1983 to 1991, but some job decisions involving Madigan went as far back as 1976, according to the report.
The records “reflected patronage hiring at Metra,’’ said the report, which outlined a series of reforms to address influence-peddling and enhance regional transit planning.
Madigan was among a host of individuals — including Metra and CTA board members as well as Cook County and legislative officials — who made job-related recommendations to Metra, the final report of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force said.
But when it came to Madigan’s recommendations, the report noted, “in some cases, he did not recommend people to be hired — he in effect decided they were hired.’’
The report contains a long accounting of patronage abuse in Illinois, but the grand prize example is buried in footnote No. 107: One of Metra’s index cards refers to efforts to hire a prospect flagged as “high priority” by the speaker. The candidate’s phone was disconnected, so Metra sent a letter to his home and put a note in his file indicating that he would begin work “as soon as he calls and we can get him in for an interview, physical, etc.”
“It appears as if the hiring decision was made before the first interview,” the task force report observes.
Again, this is all from more than 20 years ago. It’s weird that this is all they can come up with.