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Whistleblowers fired

Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014

* According to my sources, these three men all talked to the special investigator hired by Treasurer Dan Rutherford during primary season

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford fired three senior administrators in his office last week after they were identified as subjects in a probe by the treasurer’s inspector general, Rutherford’s office confirmed Monday.

Rutherford dismissed Patrick Z. Carlson, George Daglas and Ashvin Lad on July 2 after they allegedly were found to have violated timekeeping policies and falsified records, according to termination letters submitted to the three by Rutherford’s chief legal counsel.

Additionally, Carlson was alleged to have engaged in “workplace harassment,” though details were not spelled out in the letter Carlson received from Neil Olson, Rutherford’s general counsel and ethics officer.

It wasn’t clear from the termination letters, first disclosed by the Associated Press, whether the allegations against the three related in any way to the allegations of sexual harassment and political work on state time that were contained in a lawsuit filed earlier this year against Rutherford by an ex-administrator in his office.

* The firings sent a shock wave through the office, but the dismissals appear to be legit

The letters indicate that the inspector general for the treasurer’s office had found that each had broken timekeeping policies and falsified records. The letter to Carlson also said he violated rules against “workplace harassment.” […]

The dismissals were based on a summary report made by David Wells, the independent inspector general for the treasurer’s office. State law dictates that the inspector general independently determines what issues to investigate and in what manner. Wells said he’s prohibited by law from even confirming the existence of an investigation.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


33 Comments
  1. - Snucka - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:19 am:

    When you say that they “talked to” the special prosecutor, does that mean they shared negative info about Rutherford? Your headline seems to imply as much…


  2. - Anonymous retireee - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:20 am:

    Easy to trump up charges if you want to retaliate for telling the truth


  3. - Stones - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:28 am:

    Perhaps there is some truth to the allegations but do they merit termination or some other lesser form of punishment? (Don’t know just asking hypothetically) My guess is these employees were ultimately terminated because they weren’t considered loyal to the Treasurer.


  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:28 am:

    I’m confused by the headline vs the article. Did they blow the whistle on themselves?


  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:29 am:

    I guess they had to talk to the special investigator, right? Perhaps they didn’t say the right things?

    How will we ever know, since the taxpayer financed investigation apparently is a National Security secret?

    Rutherford’s going to break some china on his way out the door, apparently. Careful. Attacks and retaliations can spiral out of control into unforeseen areas.


  6. - Regnad Kcin - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:29 am:

    Treasurer’s Office is in a bind because they can not publicly discuss personnel matters. That lets pundits speculate as to what occurred without being able to respond.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    I said it from Jump Street;

    Lawyer. Up.

    Talking to an investigator in something like this never ends well.

    Sadly, for all involved, including Rutherford, January 2015 can’t come quick enough.

    This is the “bunker mentality” that leads to paranoia, even if these firings are justified.


  8. - Please just... - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    Please Dan just go away. This political season stinks bad already.


  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    If you want to fire someone, you can always find a “legit” reason. That doesn’t mean it’s the reason they’re being fired.


  10. - anon - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    Looks more and more like the “sexual harassment” charges by that hottie Michaelowski aren’t passing muster. File a lawsuit against any public official that permits a “fishing expedition” and you’ll find stuff. I still want to know if Michaelowski was paid off and by whom.


  11. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Retaliation, pure and simple.


  12. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    heh… at least one of them has a sense of humor about it all.
    https://twitter.com/ashvinlad/status/484840351874961410


  13. - Barrett's Privateer - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    “Falsifying records” could be something as simple as using a standard lunchtime in a time sheet instead if the accurate one. I don’t claim to know the specifics of what goes on in the Treasurer’s office, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who follows the absolute letter of the rules in any workplace. These firings are shameful.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    ===How will we ever know, since the taxpayer financed investigation apparently is a National Security secret?===

    Great point.

    These firings, legit or even less legit and more fallout, have to put that sealed report in the white hot spotlight again.

    That “Friday Fiasco” just won’t go away, or worse, Rutherford’s Crew just can’t help keeping it alive with Dopey decisions that highlight why Rutherford himself failed to see why that day, above everything else, sunk him.


  15. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    ==State law dictates that the inspector general independently determines what issues to investigate and in what manner. Wells said he’s prohibited by law from even confirming the existence of an investigation.==

    Why do we even bother to have inspectors general in IL?


  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    I’m not defending Danny, but I’m told that there was a group of 5-6 self-described whistle blowers who all spoke to the IG who thought that they were untouchable during the investigation.

    I’m told they made absolutely no pretense of working, sleeping on couches in the office, water fights, etc.

    I’m not sure there are any angels in this story.


  17. - PolPal56 - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    Too obvious. Even if there are irregularities in their time cards (they could be relatively minor - we don’t know), this is just too obviously revenge. Great. Now the State is going to be dragged into lawsuits.


  18. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    Let’s watch what these 3 individuals do in the aftermath. That will tell us more than the IG ever will.


  19. - northshore cynic - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    Is it true that they have been hired in the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office?


  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    Any coincidence that the story was written by John O’Connor who does Springfield theater with Lori Ann McCabe, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Rutherford? Treasurer’s office doing the leaking?


  21. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    As far as perceptions go Rutherford continues to step in it. Even if the dismissals are legit (my gut says they are retaliation) they look bad because of everything that occurred beforehand. Rutherford made a big splash with the special investigation and then refused to share the findings, that was the ultimate dumb dumb move. Either don’t make a big deal of it or share the findings. The refusal to share forces people to come up with their own and now no one trusts your actions or motives. More evidence of Illinois bungling whether it be in Chicago or downstate, Republican or Democrat.


  22. - Anon - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdGAdtnjKco


  23. - DuPage - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    Obviously political payback. I think Rutherford just made himself look worse then he already did.


  24. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    Any coincidence that the story was written by John O’Connor who does Springfield theater with Lori Ann McCabe, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Rutherford? Treasurer’s office doing the leaking?

    Yes. It is a coincidence.


  25. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    Violating time keeping policies and falsifying records could be something as simple as claiming you started work at 8:30 when in fact you came in late at 8:45. I bet no more than 99% of State employees are guilty of that.


  26. - Ginhouse Tommy - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    Dan Rutherford can claim that he took care of business with the firings and that they were necessary. Okay I get that. But it wasn’t just one employee, it was three. That is almost unheard of. You’re not going to tell me that there weren’t rumors running thru the office, that this was a bold out of the blue. This kind of conduct was allowed to happen and there is no way that Big Dan didn’t know about it. He would have to at least have heard some rumors. If he did, why didn’t he stop it immediately. I pity the employees who had to work in such conditions. Here I go being cynical again but, the employees took their cue from the top. In the end it’s Rutherford fault, like it or not.


  27. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    == have to put that sealed report in the white hot spotlight again ==

    Bingo. The mystery report paid for with public funds that he initially promised to release and then suddenly put under lock and key?

    This just ensures that will be the first thing the media demands answers on if and when Rutherford ever again seeks public office or even an appointed position.


  28. - walker - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Even if “Rutherford’s” spin is legit — Heck of an office you were running there! Great staff morale! Strong management and leadership! Really brought those business executive skills to bear!


  29. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    == “State employees have been assured, both through complainant’s counsel and individually, that they will not be retaliated against for participating in the independent investigation,” Treasurer counsel Neil Olson said in response to a Sun-Times inquiry.

    Olson added that state employees are protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. ==

    Famous last words? http://politics.suntimes.com/article/springfield/rutherford-vows-no-retaliation-against-employees/thu-02132014-131pm


  30. - Frustrated Voter - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    Rutherford is absolutely shameful. These three actually told the truth about Dan’s behavior, and then Dan decided to go after them, digging for any little petty thing he could find. Now they’re all fired. Supposedly two of them were planning to leave in the very near future, so he fired them on their way out as retribution. What an embarrassment Rutherford has become. Couldn’t even leave with a tiny ounce of dignity and pride.


  31. - Statesman - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 5:08 pm:

    Are these the three that leaked info to Rauner’s camp in the primary? The double dealing with some of Rutherford’s staffers was rampant.


  32. - idot guy - Tuesday, Jul 8, 14 @ 10:47 pm:

    If what the 3 talked about in their interviews with the IG prompted investigations against them, it’s entirely possible the IG told DR not to release the report until their investigation was finished. If you read reports from the IG on their site, there are several folks over the years that have been fired for timekeeping violations, mainly, marking down they worked certain days or worked overtime that they never did. It looks funny, but very possible that it is on the up and up.


  33. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    “it’s entirely possible the IG told DR not to release the report”

    DR is quoted as saying it is his personal attorney on this matter, Peter Andjelkovich, who told him to suddenly not release the report.


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