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Reform and Renewal - The mess at DHS

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

OK, just what in the heck is going on over at DHS?

Carlos Estes claims Department of Human Services chief of staff Teyonda Wertz sexually harrassed him, threatening to fire him if he didn’t have sex with her. Wertz denies the charge but a judge ordered that the case continue against her last week.

Wertz is still the DHS chief of staff and has no intention of resigning, but Estes was fired about a month after the incident on what looks to be a trumped up charge of misusing a state vehicle. The governor’s office has completely backed up DHS Secretary Carol Adams’ decision to oust the accuser.

“The secretary did her job. When she learned an employee was misusing state resources, she dismissed him,” Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.

According to the original Sun-Times article, Director Adams and chief of staff Wertz are “close friends” and chief of staff Wertz allegedly became upset about the same time Estes was fired because Estes was in a relationship with another woman.

Wertz has a history of misusing Estes…

Adams once disciplined her chief of staff for instructing Estes to pick up her dry cleaning on state time, court records show.

Estes was paid $70,000 a year to basically chauffeur the chief of staff around. His “official” duties were to act as a “liaison to DHS administrators, conducting site visits, research and as a policy-making advisor,” according to a DHS spokesman. But Estes didn’t even have a high school diploma when he was hired.

“Let’s put this in perspective,” Rep. Jack Franks told the Sun-Times of Estes. “He’s making more money than a member of the General Assembly for driving a staff person who has to report to the General Assembly.”

And even Sen. Carol Ronen, who is the governor’s floor leader and top Senate supporter, is having her doubts.

“The facts as they appear in the paper are very, very troubling. But I’d like to reserve judgment until I can learn a little more about them,” said Sen. Carol Ronen (D-Chicago). “It does raise a very troubling issue about the allocation of staff resources.”

When you lose Carol Ronen, you’ve lost all hope.

Director Adams needs to do a clean sweep over there. If she won’t, the governor should.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments
  1. - Dieter - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:16 am:

    Just another example of how state funds are misappropriated for foolish reasons.

    A $70K a year chauffeur for a staffer? Are they crazy?


  2. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:26 am:

    Rack up another one for the Culture of Corruption surrounding Blagojeivch and his administration.


  3. - Capt. Obvious - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:28 am:

    Come on Rich let’s get back to saving the children and making IL the healthiest in the nation!
    Opps isn’t this the Dept. on charge of the mission? Yup.


  4. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:30 am:

    I’ve been surprised that none of the media articles have picked up on the fact that Carlos works for Connie Howard - as her driver.


  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:40 am:

    Perhaps the guv’s office should have been a bit more circumspect in their defense of Ms. Adams and Ms. Wertz until the trial is over.

    Do the staff aides ever do any research over there?

    Or do they just believe everything the agency heads tell them.

    Must have been hard for Ronen to utter even the tiniest squeak of criticism of one of the guv’s state agencies.


  6. - Ka Ching! - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:45 am:

    Governor Do Nothing,
    Reinstate and transfer Carlos Estes to the Illinois Tollway, they are ripe with high priced cattle.


  7. - Nature of Theater - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:48 am:

    The guv’s office should have been a bit more circumspect.
    Now there’s a hoot!


  8. - what a joke - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 10:02 am:

    This COS has scared the hell out of all dhs staff since day one. Once you get some of these people telling stories, there will be an endless supply of bizarre and true stories.

    Tip of the iceberg.


  9. - oechmd - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 10:10 am:

    She has two Social Security numbers. Did that not raise a red flag to someone? I wonder who she knows, what her connection is, that got her the job to begin with?


  10. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…..The lawsuit should be great!


  11. - Crimefighter - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:03 am:

    Both persons have prior felony convictions that they apparently did NOT report on their applications when they were hired…that right there is all they need to fire both of them.


  12. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:06 am:

    What a shame. $70K could easily provide another couple of frontline employees for corrections or even just a basic scale-back of funds. I may not know the inner-workings of state government but I am miffed as to why DHS even has a chief-of-staff. Shouldn’t each department within DHS have a director who reports to Dr. Adams? Why is a $93K+ person running the show when there are several directors within the agency who are also making bank? I don’t get it. To me, Dr. Adams needs to get rid of some high-level employees and replenish the investigators and caseworkers.


  13. - Just Wonderin' - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:10 am:

    Oh, like this incident at DHS is an isolated case of impropriety in State agencies…


  14. - Objective Dem - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:12 am:

    What shocked me with the story is the fact that Ms. Wertz had her driver Mr. Estes spend the night in her hotel bed (thats bed not room) because there were no other rooms available. You cannot convince me that other appropriate options were not available.

    It is such a clear case of bad judgement and wreckless behavior that she should be fired, regardless of whether or not she put the moves on him.


  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:12 am:

    Crimefighter, from the Sun-Times,,, ===Scruggs also said Wertz, as an 18-year-old, was charged in 1968 or 1969 with a “misdemeanor” for “selling magazines with another person who decided to take a coat delivered to someone’s front door.” Wertz disclosed the incident on her state job application, Scruggs said.===

    Also, to others, Wertz apparently obtained two SS numbers in a legal manner. The original CS-T story was a bit off on these points.


  16. - i d - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:17 am:

    This agency has been historically dysfunctional under all administrations but I always thought it was because of the difficulty of this sort of work; guess I should have known it was same old, same old.


  17. - Wheres the leadership??? - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:28 am:

    Question, How many agencies have Drivers??? What are their titles? I have heard that DOT has drivers, in fact they bought BIG SUV’s for the big wigs in Chicago.

    Unreal.


  18. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:38 am:

    I wonder how many other legislators have drivers.
    Probably enough of them so that the state legislator outcry will be muted and short.


  19. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 11:48 am:

    I think I recall the Illinois House meeting as a Commitee of the Whole regarding an agency director’s driver, seems like about 30 years ago. It was Bob Devito, agency was DMH. Anyone else remember, or is my memory just failing me?


  20. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 12:00 pm:

    Where’s, IDOT gives each of their directors vehicles even if they don’t need one. The SUV issue doesn’t surprise me one bit.


  21. - annoyed all the time - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 12:11 pm:

    I seriously don’t even know where to begin - why is it that we all ‘know’ things like this happen but there is no way and no movement to do a clean sweep - companies do audits of staff and responsibilities to reduce headcount where possible - the state as a whole needs the same thing - an incredible overhaul that will reduce the headcount enormously and find the money to provide front line people that provide services to the state - state parks are closing or barely operational, kids slip through the cracks at dcfs, we need more money to fund roads, schools and yet people fill in these positions - the position was open but obviously not needed so they filled it with someone to suit their needs - instead of using that money elsewhere - ridiculous - i wish some human resource consulting group would come in and interview every state employee to find out what they do, their title, and their pay and assess them all - my bet is they would recommend firing many top levels and mid level positions that are useless positions, give raises to the lower mid people who work double time and hire additional front line low to mid employees - the state is a mess - and embarrassing -


  22. - Anon. - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 12:17 pm:

    IDOT included the purchase of vehicles in a contract and also paying for drivers - 50+ dollars an hour. Us taxpayers are also paying for a bodyguard for this vendor. Jeeeesh.


  23. - i d - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 12:24 pm:

    When the state does job audits, it is almost always the way to obscure political hiring via a smoke and mirrors job to get rid of career employees and replace them with their own people. Job audits are career employees worst nightmare.


  24. - anon - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 1:06 pm:

    Carole Adams should not be hiring directors with criminal backgrounds–even if they are disclosing their small-time, crappy thievery on their job applications.

    Aren’t there qualified individuals with management experience who could properly run these offices? People who wouldn’t look for love during sneak business trips or need drivers (!!) to take them to their important meetings? This is really an outrage.

    I really question how our governments are being managed. With all we have seen lately it appears to me that the federal government, our state government and particularly the county, and city management are totally bankrupt and that there is no reason to expect that anyone other than Patrick Fitzgerald is out there working for what is right.

    I’m totally grossed out by all of this and think it is a disgrace. I’d like to see everybody on all public payrolls defend their positions and performance–to me–a dopey taxpaying shlub who goes to work, pays my taxes, sends kids to school and doesn’t cheat on my husband. What is wrong with people?


  25. - Ulysses - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 1:24 pm:

    Governor FlowBee - yet proclaims another “DAY” in Illinois - “Blagojevich proclaims “Jennifer Hudson Day” in Illinois”

    NOW THAT’S IMPORTANT !


  26. - No Lifeboats - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 1:44 pm:

    Seems to me our Governor has been misusing and abusing state resources since he’s been in office. But what the heck, let’s give him four more years to really flush Illinois down the toliet . . . . . .


  27. - annoyed all the time - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 2:04 pm:

    the audit SHOULD do the opposite and get rid of the trash - i agree it’s disgraceful - from yet another goof who goes to work, actually works, pays taxes, sends kids to school, VOTES, and leads a somewhat normal life and in regular jobs one ALWAYS has to defend your position - I do it everyday by showing my value and worth - shame on these people for taking these jobs and thinking that $70K to pick up drycleaning and drive a car is acceptable.


  28. - Just Watching & Listening - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 3:33 pm:

    It sure would be interesting to see the travel vouchers submitted by both parties for this trip. Who claimed they payed for the room? Both? It would also be interesting to look at the Drury records for that 2-day visit to see if they really were full. Wonder if the Sun-Times has already looked.


  29. - Papa Legba - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 3:48 pm:

    Team Sleep,

    You are discovering where many excessively high paid hacks are placed in this administration.

    If you take a cruise through the state directory/telephone book you will see a chief of staff for just about every department, division, section, bureau hack employed. Heck, the COS’s even have asst. COS’s and so on. It is a joke what this group has done.

    The worst part is that these “COS’s” have no real job and spend the majority of their time abusing hold-over employees, many who have had their jobs for over 15-20 years. Plus most are snot nosed kids (under 30) making $100,000+ annually.


  30. - He Makes Ryan look like a saint - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 3:49 pm:

    Rich, THere is more check out this link….
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/274219,CST-NWS-bedi27.article


  31. - JW - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 4:06 pm:

    $70K no high school diploma. I have a college degree, graduate hrs. I must be worth at least $150K then. Where do I send my resume.


  32. - Ka Ching! - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 4:24 pm:

    Central Management Services, I.D.O.T., Illinois Tollway and now the Department of Human Services…….
    Where does it all end? Or does it?
    I like the Governor FlowBee tag…..


  33. - WHY NOT - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 4:35 pm:

    Why not hire Carlos as a driver with no education and a criminal record while we lay off teachers, nurses, doctors, and don’t have enough money for policeman. If they allow her to stay the tax paper’s of this State eed to remember this


  34. - Jack Jacksonville - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 4:39 pm:

    Commenters seem to be missing the point- Teyonda Wertz is not a “director” or head of an agency. She reports directly to Carol Adams, who is the head of DHS. Adams had her own driver (who is now on leave) which the Sun-Time alluded to in today’s article. And yes, Steve, it was Dr. DeVito as the head of the old DMHDD way back when.


  35. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 5:00 pm:

    The managers (at IDOT – I know for sure) have not had a raise in 4 years because of budgetary concerns (I know this is a lie), yet the state can hire ‘chauffeurs/personal assistants’ for some of the workers. I have an engineering degree and I don’t even make 70K a year – what is wrong with this picture.

    In addition, we are not suppose to share rooms when staying at hotels, and in no case will you be allowed to share a room with someone of the opposite sex. Both should be fired!!!!!


  36. - Why Not - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 5:03 pm:

    Jack you are missing the point. You are right Ms. Adams does have a full time driver E.D. who is trying to run in an aldermanic race.. He is paid close to $80,000 and does not do anything but drive Ms. Adams around. We have her Chief of Staff with a driver at $70,000 plus benefits in a time we are laying off doctors and nurses. Both Adams and her assistant should go. When is enough too much.


  37. - Jitterbug - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 5:28 pm:

    To: Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 5:00 pm
    You should go fill out an application over at the Illlinois Tollway’s Central Administration in Downers Grove, IL
    They have many engineers making in excess of $110,000.00 per year + Blackberries.


  38. - Chief Illiniwek - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 5:38 pm:

    While inquiring minds are inquiring, they may wish to inquire:
    1) Isn’t Ms. Wertz also a state plane frequent flier?
    2) What is Ms. Wertz’ highest level of educational achievement and her professional background?
    3) As I recall, part of the original R & R included reducing the State fleet, especially assigned cars. How did this one slip through the reform? How many state cars are in the fleet now as opposed to 4 years ago? How many are assigned? How many are chauffeur driven?


  39. - Not a Bonehead - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 5:46 pm:

    This is typical of this Administration from the top on down. These unqualified individuals get handed a plumb job and the keys to the candy store. It’s all about them, not the people they are supposed to be serving. I think he was afraid of Premature Evaluation!


  40. - Tessa - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 6:00 pm:

    I’m not surprised by anything going on at DHS. There are many upper level people whose jobs could be done away with and then frontline jobs filled. Overtime would decrease immensely with the money that would be saved. They took 8 agencies and made them 1 under Ryan. What did anyone expect would happen? It’s a big cluster****.

    And now a consulting firm has been hired by the gov to come in and look for ways to save money. They’d better start at the top and not the bottom.


  41. - Concern Citizen - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 6:04 pm:

    It is all so sad. We see scandal after scandal in each department. Ms. Adams must go along with her Chief of Staff. She had Mr. Eugene Davis who is running in the 6th ward for Alderman was often seen driving her around like she was Queen Mum. She allowed her Chief of Staff to hire this idiot who does not have a high school diploma. Ms. Adams allowed State resources to be misused. I agree with “WHY NOT” that two useless drivers could have been used to hire a teacher, policemen or nurse. When will we as taxpayer’s say “no”. I think three years it not far away. Mean time we should fax the governor, and let our elected officials knows we will not tolerate this. If Carole Adams is not gone along with her Assistant we as tax payers must remember this. Remember when the Governor tell us we have no money for teachers for our kids, policemen to protect us, nurses to help us. Remember we have money for two drivers that cost the tax payer’s close to $200,00o for salaries and benefits for two idiots that drives the Queen Mom and her assistant like royalty.


  42. - So Blue Democrat - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 6:21 pm:

    The first person that should be fired is Adams. Many of these political appointees are like kids in a candy store.


  43. - Concern Citizen - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 6:45 pm:

    Please write, fax the Govenor to tell him enough is enough

    Dear Governor…
    Send correspondence for Governor Blagojevich, to http://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactthegovernor.cfm or to the Office of the Governor, 207 State House, Springfield, IL 62706; (217) 782-0244 or (312) 814-2121 [TTY (888) 261-3336]. (NOTE: Should a response be required it will be mailed to you via the United States Postal Service, so it is important that you include your name and complete mailing address.)


  44. - Papa Legba - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 7:13 pm:

    To: He Makes Ryan look like a saint,

    Nice catch on the Bedi article. I remember him from my days at DCEO. All he did was come in at 10-10:30 and leave about 3:00. Boy he was a smug SOB. He sat in his office then made two laps around the floor. That was his daily work routine. It’s good to see he is getting the recognition he deserves. And Cassandra rips on the front line state workers. Geez.

    Oh, and Rich. This is NOT a rumor or insult. This comes from an eye witness. I witnessed him in (in)action for two years cruising around DCEO like he was God’s gift.


  45. - State Worker w/ MBA - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 8:17 pm:

    I graduated high school (in 4 years I might add), college (again in 4 years) and have an MBA. I will drive her around for 70k and it would double my salary.


  46. - prison worker - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 8:28 pm:

    I need a ride to work. What time should I be ready?


  47. - silly girl - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 8:32 pm:

    These people came in like kings and queens. There was no pretense of public service. They are disgusting. Also disgusting is the way they got rid of QUALIFIED people. I pitty whoever comes in after Gov Ethics; they’ll have a Humpty Dumpty experience.


  48. - ChicagoDog - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 8:46 pm:

    Adams brought in a bunch of street thugs with her when she became Secretary. Teyonda only had a high school education when she became Chief of Staff. She is generally regarded - to put it kindly, a screaming nut case. Adams and her personal group street trash have terrorized IDHS personnel for too long. The file on Carol Adams staff at the Governor’s Office of Inspector General is massive. Yet the Governor’s office does nothing. Truly pathetic.


  49. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 8:57 pm:

    Wow. I’ve never heard anyone say a kind thing about DHS while Dr. Adams has been at the helm. What a waste of state resources - and these are the people who are supposed to be implementing all of the guv’s election platforms.


  50. - Anon. - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 8:59 pm:

    Think about this scenario…..if Wertz was the man and Estes was the woman telling her that he could not get other accomodations and to room with him - I would guarantee Adams would have fired him immediately. All the women would be screaming to high heaven. What is worse is Wertz doesn’t think she did anything wrong? Huh? What is double worse is that Adams is supporting her. So, I guess Adams would think it was o.k. if one of her top male executives took his female secretary to a meeting and reserved only one room for the both…making her sleep on the pull out couch. Pllllease. Adams and Wertz should be fired immediately.


  51. - silly girl - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:36 pm:

    Amen to street thugs–that’s just what their tactics were/are. No education, and they eat each other.


  52. - Concern Citizen - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:40 pm:

    Just in from the 6th Ward where Eugene Davis only got 29% of the vote. Ms. Adam’s $80.000 a year driver lost. Will he got back to his plush job driving the Queen Mom around or her Chief of Staff


  53. - Emily Booth - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 9:59 pm:

    In the CS-T story today, Carol Adams referred to Teyonda Wertz as a young lady. Girlfriend is 56 years old! What trash. What low lifes. They ought to lock up the whole lot of them.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Giolito opens 5-game set in Kansas City


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