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Bungled case?

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007

The AP takes a look at each of the 28 state-job applicants who allegedly received special treatment from Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey and finds a whole bunch of holes in the administration’s case. Here are just a few of them, but go check out the entire list:

1. Ascaridis, Beverly, 56, Chicago, applied for Senior Public Service Administrator on 4/12/04: Resubmitted application doesn’t appear on Casey’s log, so it’s unclear how the government believes Casey or DeFraties knew about it or intervened improperly; never promoted to SPSA; now a public service administrator for the Department of Natural Resources. News reports in September revealed that Ascaridis got the job shortly after her husband, a lifelong Blagojevich friend, gave a $1,500 gift to one of the governor’s daughters.

2. Baksys, Mary, applied for Public Service Administrator on 11/29/04: Never appears on Casey’s log, never hired. […]

8. Dirksen, Julie, 64, Springfield, SPSA, 2/4/04: Initial application marked “incomplete;” awarded a job exempt from all hiring rules, so never needed CMS evaluation; now an SPSA for the Historic Preservation Agency.

It’s amazing that they’re trying to make those two take the fall for Beverly Ascaridis. Beyond chutzpah.

Along those same “beyond chutzpah” lines, the administration is asking that the Civil Service Commission pay no attention to the man behind the curtain:

An attorney for the Blagojevich administration said Monday that the case against Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey should focus on what they did, not on what others in state government might have done, to promote certain people for state jobs.

“This is really about the conduct of Dawn DeFraties and Michael Casey,” said attorney Joseph Gagliardo in opening statements at a Civil Service Commission hearing where the two fired workers are trying to get reinstated.

“Any attempt to blame others for their misconduct does nothing to mitigate their responsibility.”

The defendants’ attorney claims they did nothing wrong, which may be a bit of a stretch.

Carl Draper, attorney for DeFraties and Casey, said the administration lacks “proof that anybody got any favorable treatment.”

Draper has suggested DeFraties and Casey are scapegoats of an administration engulfed in a federal hiring scandal. U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said last year that serious allegations about hiring problems exist throughout the Blagojevich administration.

Draper said no rules or laws prohibited DeFraties’ and Casey’s actions. He added that administration officials asked for applicants to be graded ahead of time to fill some positions quickly and that they acted in ways similar to members of prior administrations.

Even so, Marc Longmeyer, a grading supervisor under DeFraties, said some applications coming directly from the offices of DeFraties and Casey were graded and placed on an online database ahead of other applicants.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Belle - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 9:04 am:

    Do as I say but don’t tell anyone I said do it defense. Well, it’s an argument of sorts I guess. I’m waiting to see if they refused to fall on the sword so they had to be thrown under the bus.

  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 9:27 am:

    It’s gonna be like Nuremberg on the prairie.

  3. - He Makes Ryan look like a saint - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 9:29 am:

    I know one of the people on the list. His was not a special favor, but an attempt to get him a promotion so he would not go to another agency. He was a hard worker and knew his job better than his superiors.
    The gov’s office is toast on this one, if the CCC allows the firings, the US Gov. still will get their crack at GROD and staff. It will be an interesting 4 years.

  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 9:56 am:

    This is hardly a picture of rampant wrongdoing by DeFraties and Casey, just a picture of disorganization and ignorance of the regulations. Did it merit discharge as opposed to some form of lesser discipline? Probably not.

    And the guv’s office is right too. This is not about the guv’s office, this is a Civil Service hearing about whether these folks should have been fired.

    If the Civil Service Commission upholds the firing, that does not mean the guv’s office is innocent, it just means that another venue is needed to rein in political hiring by the Blagojevich administration. The Legislature could do it. Blago could do it. The US Attorney could force it. But since the general public has shown no interest or outrage over the issue, it seems unlikely much will change.

  5. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 11:32 am:

    Whoever fired these two should be getting their butt kicked daily by the news coverage.

    This was completely avoidable. Whoever did this was a complete fool.

    Someone panicked. Someone is still panicking. The entire scenario is disgusting and reflects very poorly on an administration that was voted in to reform this kind of political crap. This administration is a tremendous disappointment.

  6. - i d - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 11:59 am:

    One may conclude that Govs Thompson and Edgar were of greater intelligence than Govs Ryan and Blagojevich.

  7. - point 3 times - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 1:38 pm:

    we all love you dawn

  8. - Wags - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 1:38 pm:

    Nothing will ever happen to our esteemed Governor or his administration. Nobody has done anything wrong.
    Period, end of story!

  9. - He Makes Ryan look like a saint - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 3:18 pm:

    Now they are holding back evidence to the defense…Rich Check out the SJ-R update section

  10. - Expose em! - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 3:18 pm:

    Draper, DeFraties and Casey, justice and time are on your side.

  11. - thought - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 5:58 pm:

    The way this was handled did the OEIG aND gOV PLAN this, werent both of these people in exempt positions? so by firing them in a way they know will get reversed they can say they are fighting corruption and at the same time by doing it wrong get these two back on the payroll and everyone is happy just a thought

  12. - grandstand - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 6:09 pm:

    I dont think the defense someone told me to rob the bank will work, you do the crime you get the time

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 6:12 pm:

    Grandstand, I have a two-word response to that post of yours.

    1) Robert

    2) Sorich

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 6:23 pm:

    And here’s why

    ===Sorich wasn’t even the guy who did the illegal political hiring in the Daley administration. He merely “recommended” (or, as the feds claimed, “ordered”) that politically connected job candidates be hired, and if the rules were bent, broken or ignored, that wasn’t his problem and, for the most part, not even his doing. He wasn’t even violating any actual criminal statutes directly pertaining to government hiring. The Shakman decree, which settled a lawsuit designed to stop political hiring in Chicago and which Sorich was accused of repeatedly violating, was a civil matter, not criminal. […]

    When Blagojevich first took office, he put two people in charge of his patronage operation: a 33rd Ward operative who was close to his father-in-law and the chairman of the Downstate Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. The idea was to essentially funnel all hiring through those two political organizations. It was a good plan, as long as they didn’t try to break the law by squeezing political people into protected civil-service jobs. There’s plenty of evidence that they may have well been the case, however. Oops.

    The big problem the governor’s people have now, post-Sorich, is convincing the feds that even though they put two political types in charge of personnel, hiring rules were not bent for political reasons but out of incompetence or because of a few bad apples. That could end up being a very difficult case to make.===

  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 7:29 pm:

    There is a small circle of women who surround Ms. Defrates who seem to make out ok and rise through the ranks no matter what party is in office. This doesn’t happen in state government unless you a. have political supporters, b. give lots of money to both parties or c. are covering up for someone. Enuf said.

  16. - My Cousin Vinnie - Tuesday, Jan 30, 07 @ 10:14 pm:

    The hearing judge basically told Blago’s Lawyers to raise or fold. They had to have known that if they were going to raise the issue of the other applications, they should have already seen them, and having seen them, they should have been part of the Discovery phase. Draper had HIS ducks in a row, submitting his evidence early if anything. Blago’s team may get thrown out of court if they don’t produce everything they hinted at by Thursday, or at the latest, Monday. Oh my, I hope they didn’t shred/delete them too soon!

    One of the Big Rules of Lawyering(TM) is, once in court, you NEVER ask witnesses questions to which you don’t already know the answers. Yet this is really what Blago’s team did this week.

    Either Blago’s legal team came from the worst class Pepperdine ever graduated, or they are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs because the clients are not levelling with their counsel about everything. Then the lawyers walk into a huge trap once they get to court. Blago’s counsel may even quit. It’s happened before.

    The ball of twine unravels a few more strings. I am waiting for when it gets under the couch and Fitz the Cat goes digging after it, claws-out.

  17. - State of Farce - Wednesday, Jan 31, 07 @ 3:04 am:

    What about John Giannulis? Sniff around Carl…

  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 31, 07 @ 7:53 am:

    I’m trying to figure this out. If DeFraties wins in this court and are reinstated with their jobs this would mean they did everything legal ? Therefore if what they did was legal, this would also mean the Governors office did nothing illegal? Since DeFraties team got their marching orders from the Governors office and carried out the Governors orders, seems to me the Governors office would be in the clear.
    I would think the best thing for the Governor would be these people to get their jobs back.
    Makes me wonder what is really going on here. Is it the Governor can say he tried to clean it up ?

  19. - Realist - Wednesday, Jan 31, 07 @ 8:27 am:

    This comes down to politics. Republicans are mad because the administration made an effort to hire Democrats. When Republicans were in power the Dems did’nt like it either. As long as the applicant is qualified it should be the right of whoever is in power to hire whomever he wants. If you don’t like it, get involved working for candidates you like and trust. Then perhaps you can have the inside track at a job. Who do you want Governors Edgar or Ryan or Blago to hire? Their enemies?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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