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Union fliers pulled, “censored” fliers appear

Friday, May 13, 2016

* This flier was posted to union bulletin boards at state offices…

* The fliers were removed, however, after this memo was sent

To: Agency Ethics Officers
From: Georgia Man, Chief Compliance Officer and Associate General Counsel
Re: Enforcement of State Officials and Employees Ethics Act Political Activity Ban Date: May 6, 2016

The State Officials and Employee Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430) (the “Ethics Act”) makes clear that State employees shall not perform prohibited political activity on State time, using State resources, or on State property (5 ILCS 430/5-15). The Ethics Act states that “a person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if that person intentionally violates any provision of Section 5-15….” Furthermore, the Ethics Act states that a State employee who intentionally violates Section 5-15 is subject to “discipline or discharge by the appropriate ultimate jurisdictional authority.”

Recently, we have received questions and complaints about political flyers and pamphlets being displayed in the workplace. These flyers and pamphlets trigger our obligations under the Ethics Act and Executive Order 2016-04 to promptly notify the Office of the Executive Inspector General (the “OEIG”) of alleged misconduct, including potential violations of the Ethics Act’s ban on prohibited political activity.

Such behavior is not unexpected as we near the close of the legislative session in an election year. Nevertheless, we must ensure that we continue to comply with the obligations of the Ethics Act, and that public employees continue to channel their enthusiasm for the political process into lawful methods of discourse.

Accordingly, ethics officers must take appropriate steps to ensure that prohibited political activity is not occurring on State-compensated time, using State resources, or on State property. Ethics officers are directed to take the following actions with respect to political flyers and pamphlets in the workplace:

    1. Remind employees of their obligations under the Ethics Act with respect to prohibited political activity, and the potential penalties involved for violation of Section 5-15 of the Ethics Act;
    2. Promptly report any information concerning potential violations of the Ethics Act to the OEIG; and
    3. Remove any flyers or posters that contain political messaging.

If any State employee raises concerns to you about political flyers or pamphlets in the workplace, steps 2 and 3 above should be followed. The State of Illinois does not tolerate retaliation against State employees who raise genuine concerns about unethical, inappropriate, or illegal behavior, including State employees who report unlawful political activity in the workplace to their Ethics Officer and/or the OEIG.

The State appreciates and welcomes the free speech rights of employees and the public. However, the State must ensure that whenever members of the public visit State facilities, there is no appearance of impropriety or partiality on the part of those delivering State services. Moreover, the law permits the State to implement procedures to avoid such appearance.

Um, wow. Seems a bit harsh.

* So, this flier began appearing…

Heh.

* Meanwhile, the Illinois Policy Institute is having its own rally…

Taxpayers have remained silent for far too long.

Join us on May 17 for a Taxpayer Advocacy Day, and make your voice heard in the Statehouse.

DATE AND TIME
Tuesday, May 17
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LOCATION
Illinois Statehouse
Howlett Building
501 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62756

Register online at Eventbrite.

Invite your friends on Facebook.

Our team will provide $40 gift cards to cover travel costs.

$40 gift cards? Interesting. I guess that’s easier than arranging bus transportation.

* Related…

* Who’s right in Rauner’s AFSCME fight? Here’s some data to chew on

- Posted by Rich Miller        


66 Comments
  1. - Keyrock - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:14 pm:

    This seems relevant here, too:

    I made a lot of mistakes
    In my mind, in my mind
    You came to take us
    All things go, all things go
    To recreate us

    If you don’t agree with the Governor, keep it to yourself. Or else.


  2. - Omega Man - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:16 pm:

    This is not prohibited political activity because Rauner is not running for office. This is a case of employees protesting the wrongheaded policies of the employer. See everyone at the March and Rally on Wednesday!


  3. - JS Mill - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:17 pm:

    =Taxpayers have remained silent for far too long.=

    I pay taxes.

    I have not been silent.


  4. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:17 pm:

    Are those gift cards left over from the Dunkin campaign? The one where they lost.


  5. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    Finally, the governor has a nickname I truly enjoy: Censored.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:22 pm:

    That Rauner and his gift cards…

    (Rauner Inc., LLC owns IPI)

    That memo is something Mr. Burns would send out at the Power Plant.

    Rauner is really playing into a caricature, isn’t he?


  7. - Name Withheld - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:23 pm:

    Having just wasted a perfectly good hour for the annual ethics training - a word of advice to anybody going to this event, make sure you submit a leave request for VACATION.

    While I have nothing to substantial to make this claim, you can bet that 1.4% people will be scanning the crowd, taking pictures and taking names.


  8. - thechampaignlife - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:24 pm:

    ===Seems a bit harsh.===

    Ethics violations are kinda a big deal…important enough to have an OEIG, EEC, and ethics officer bureaucracy and annual training to remind us all how corrupt our leaders have been that we have to sit through this yet again.

    ===This is not prohibited political activity because Rauner is not running for office===

    Tell that to the Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430/1-5):

    “Prohibited political activity” means:
    (1) Preparing for, organizing, or participating in any political meeting, political rally, political demonstration, or other political event.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:24 pm:

    ===Taxpayers===

    Dear state workers.

    Rauner. Does. Not. Like. You.

    If you forget that, or are confused or are tryin’ real hard to like him…

    Rauner does not like you.


  10. - Observation - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    How I long for the days when people attended a rally to make their voices heard, participate in the process and stand-up for their rights all because it was the right thing to do. If someone felt strongly about something it was not only their right to participate, it was something that was expected. How disappointing that there is now a $40 gift card involved just for showing up.


  11. - Anonymous - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:28 pm:

    And yet how many times have we been subjected to Rauner’s talking points by State email?


  12. - blue dog dem - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:28 pm:

    Rally members. This is why the public is not on your side and antics like this only empower the RAUN Man.


  13. - Omega Man - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:28 pm:

    Let. The. Battle. Begin.


  14. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:32 pm:

    Please tell me how this rally helps AFSCME? They are still getting paid while social services are hanging on by a thread,public universities are about to fall off a cliff. The public will have no sympathy.


  15. - Beaner - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:33 pm:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heffernan_v._City_of_Paterson
    Too bad Compliance Counselor Georgia Man can’t focus more on getting her boss to submit his budget plan, or keep up on Freedom of Speech rulings by the Supreme Court. Way off base.


  16. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:34 pm:

    Both flyers represent political activity and violate the Ethics Act. If the Illinois Policy Institute had posted such a flyer, that too would represent political activity and violate the Ethics Act.


  17. - Chicago 20 - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:36 pm:

    May 17th = Taxpayers who are Rauner Supporters
    May 18th = Taxpayers who don’t approve of Rauner

    I’m betting there are far more folks who disapprove of Rauner.


  18. - Pete Sterne - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:37 pm:

    It’s A Sunshine Day:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaCCG7QkM_c


  19. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===Please tell me how this rally helps AFSCME?===

    2 in 5 Union Household voters voted for Rauner.

    “Vote Accordingly” - this rally is to remind each other… “Send a message in November”

    It’s REAL important. Especially when McCann’s win shows what a motivated Labor and Social Services electorate can do… Together.

    “Smithers, who is this agitator putting up these awful flyers?”

    “Homer Simpson, Governor”


  20. - Name Withheld - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:39 pm:

    Louis - are you saying that the Ethics Act prohibits State employees from protesting or demonstrating or exercising their Freedom of Assembly or Free Speech?


  21. - WhatHeSaid - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:41 pm:

    I seem to remember a February 3rd email, in my work email account, from John Terranova (Deputy Director, CMS Office of Labor Relations) trashing AFSCME. I guess that’s allowed in the one-sided Rauner regime.

    “This is not prohibited political activity because Rauner is not running for office. This is a case of employees protesting the wrongheaded policies of the employer. See everyone at the March and Rally on Wednesday!” — Omega Man


  22. - wordslinger - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:44 pm:

    –Our team will provide $40 gift cards to cover travel costs.–

    Astroturf.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:44 pm:

    Rallies are swell, this is great.

    If y’all are goin’ there to Hoot and holler, to blow off steam… Rauner wins.

    Food for thought.

    Oh…

    Rauner just sent $5 million to the ILGOP… the ILGOP sent $2 million to the Members.

    Follow the money…


  24. - ethicsschmethics - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:45 pm:

    There are so many things wrong with this. Georgia Mann might want to review the definitions of “political” and “prohibited political activity” before sending out a memo blatantly mischaracterizing the definition and the spirit of the Ethics Act.


  25. - lake county democrat - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:47 pm:

    First they won’t allow them to play candy crush on the job, now they won’t allow them to protest - what am I paying these folks for anyway?


  26. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    I’m probably all wrong about this…

    I’m mean… Rauner thinks state workers do great work and wants them paid… without a budget… but paid!

    If state workers should get all their pay, but state workers make too much money…

    Hilarious.


  27. - northsider (the original) - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:51 pm:

    Not prohibited. Not political, at least according to the Illinois Ethics Act:
    “Political” means any activity in support of or in connection with any campaign for elective office or any political organization, but does not include activities (i) relating to the support or opposition of any executive, legislative, or administrative action…
    5 ILCS 430/1-5


  28. - Beaner - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:53 pm:

    Article VI. Section 4. Union Bulletin Boards
    The Employer shall continue to provide bulletin boards and/or space at each work location. The number, size and location of each shall be mutually agreed to by the parties in local level negotiations. The boards shall be for the sole and exclusive use of the Union.


  29. - Anonymous - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:53 pm:

    ==https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heffernan_v._City_of_Paterson
    Too bad Compliance Counselor Georgia Man can’t focus more on getting her boss to submit his budget plan, or keep up on Freedom of Speech rulings by the Supreme Court. Way off base==

    The officer in question in your case was off duty, on private property. What you seem to be suggesting is that this case thwarts the Ethics Act prohibition on political activity on State time and resources. That’s nowhere near true.


  30. - Precinct Captain - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==- 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:17 pm:==

    That or Rauner’s campaign.


  31. - wordslinger - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:55 pm:

    –”Political” means any activity in support of or in connection with any campaign for elective office or any political organization, but does not include activities (i) relating to the support or opposition of any executive, legislative, or administrative action…
    5 ILCS 430/1-5–

    That seems to be unequivocal.

    They continue to have issues with lawyerin’ in this administration.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    “We can quibble about Raunerite Suppression all day… ”

    Eye on the Ball - May 18th


  33. - john - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    ==thechampionlife==

    I appreciate the definition of “political activity” from the Ethics Act 5 ILCS 430 1-5; which is accurate.

    However, the Ethics Act also defines the word “political” as:

    “Political” means any activity in support of or in connection with any campaign for elective office or any political organization, but does not include activities (i) relating to the support or opposition of any executive, legislative, or administrative action (as those terms are defined in Section 2 of the Lobbyist Registration Act), (ii) relating to collective bargaining, or (iii) that are otherwise in furtherance of the person’s official State duties or governmental and public service functions.

    Very clearly, posting the information about the rally is not a violation of the Ethics Act because the rally’s action is clearly excluded from the Ethics Act under the definition of political.

    Governor Rauner overreached again. OW is right - Rauner really does not like state employees.


  34. - Wensicia - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    Well, Rauner is still campaignin’.


  35. - Censored 2 - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:02 pm:

    While it is a casual measure at best, according to the two entities’ Facebook event posts 126 are going to the IPI event and 620 to the other event.


  36. - Honeybear - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    Nice catch John!!! As my daughter would say BOOOOOM ROASTED!


  37. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:07 pm:

    I’m sure Rauner will be “rooting” for the state workers’ rally.

    Right? Exactly right.

    Rauner will show up on his Harley, takin’ photos, wantin’ to talk to y’all, makin’ friends…

    Rauner cares. Raunerites representing state workers… care.

    “Honest”


  38. - Henry Francis - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:09 pm:

    Georgia is just following orders. She has been in way over her head since the day she started. But why else would you put some 27 year old who has no experience other than being 3rd wheel on GTCR deals - in charge of ethics and compliance for your administration?

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgiavarlan


  39. - My button is broke... - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:09 pm:

    If the flier is prohibited political activity, then the rally is prohibited political activity as well since it will take place on State property. Unless the “or” means “and”…


  40. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:10 pm:

    Bruce has no social agenda, why are decimated social service groups so upset by a gubernatorial veto or Raunerites refusing to fund social services for months and months and months?

    So confusing.


  41. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:13 pm:

    “—Louis - are you saying that the Ethics Act prohibits State employees from protesting or demonstrating or exercising their Freedom of Assembly or Free Speech?—”

    Nope. The flyers promoting political events are a different story. They can take the day off and protest and rally all they want on their own dime. The union can notify them of the rally by e-mails or robocalls. Passing out flyers of that nature on the job, such as the two examples cited above? Nope. Posting flyers of that nature, on the job, on “union” boards, nope. Union boards are generally used to announce union elections and union meetings, and similar internal matters. These are different and both crossed the line.


  42. - Omega Man - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:15 pm:

    Told ya so!


  43. - Norseman - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:15 pm:

    thechampaignlife and Louis, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you didn’t purposely try to mislead folks. However, you have to read all the definitions before you make an interpretation. As pointed out above, the definition of political activity doesn’t cover this rally.


  44. - Norseman - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    P.S. Louis, that also means the flier is OK!


  45. - Norseman - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:19 pm:

    Also, AFSCME posted rally fliers when Quinn was governor and they didn’t strong arm the union. Rauner, of course, is a union hater.


  46. - Name Withheld - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:19 pm:

    Norseman beat me to it - more succinctly too!


  47. - Juvenal - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:20 pm:

    Commenters are correct.

    If the Union members activities in opposition to the governor’s budget agenda is prohibited political activity, then the governor’s office’s activities in support of his budget agenda would have to be a prohibited political activity.

    The general assembly crafted the definition of “political” narrowly to address the limited issue of campaigning on state time. A problem created not by union members exercising their constitutional rights, but executive officers abusing public resources.

    Rauner’s legal team fails again.


  48. - steward - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:20 pm:

    Union political speech is protected to a point. This came up during the last election. A union flyer left on the desk actually has more rights than one hung up on the bulletin board since the contract specifically says the board will not be used for politics. Stewards in those buildings should have just left a copy on each work desk in the morning before their shift. There has been arbitration over this and council and craddock, last cms labor relation head, had an understanding.

    Now is the rally political in the sense of the ethics act? You can actually argue it is a part of the contract fight and therefore even more protected. My guess is this gets grieved and pulled at pre-arb by the administration. There is nothing inherently wrong with this and if they even try to discipline then someone is getting back pay. What a complete waste of time by this administration.


  49. - Skeptic - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:21 pm:

    “when Quinn was governor and they didn’t strong arm the union” Maybe Rauner is more ethical than Quinn? Ok, now stop laughing!


  50. - Name Withheld - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:22 pm:

    Closing song for the day - “Georgia on my mind”


  51. - wordslinger - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    Louis, aren’t you some kind of a lawyer? Did you read the quoted statute here and still reach your conclusion?


  52. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    Oh - Louis G Atsaves -…

    What’s next, requiring state workers to like Rauner too?


  53. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:25 pm:

    “—If the Union members activities in opposition to the governor’s budget agenda is prohibited political activity, then the governor’s office’s activities in support of his budget agenda would have to be a prohibited political activity.—”

    Except that the governor is constitutionally obligated to be engaged or to support his budget agenda. After a million posts and comments on this site about how it is the governor’s obligation to do so, suddenly you feel it is a violation of the ethics code? Unions have no such constitutional obligation.

    Nice try, though.


  54. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:25 pm:

    “Even I think the governor went too far.” - Burgermeister Meisterburger


  55. - HangingOn - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:26 pm:

    ==Louis, aren’t you some kind of a lawyer?==

    And if you’re not, isn’t it a crime to pretend to be?


  56. - Name Withheld - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:26 pm:

    ===Except that the governor is constitutionally obligated to be engaged or to support his budget agenda. After a million posts and comments on this site about how it is the governor’s obligation to do so, suddenly you feel it is a violation of the ethics code? Unions have no such constitutional obligation.===

    Which doesn’t address how the flier was somehow deemed to be an Ethics violation.


  57. - Anonymous - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:26 pm:

    I call BS. Contract allows for union bulletin boards and their content cannot be dictated by the employer. I’ve seen flyers over the past 30 years for protests and pickets and none were censored. Someone should file a grievance.


  58. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:27 pm:

    ===Except that the governor is constitutionally obligated to be engaged or to support his budget agenda.===

    Bruce Rauner “hears” things are going real swell…

    Engaged. That’s so adorable, - Louis G Atsaves -


  59. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    Further down, the ethics act reads:

    “Prohibited political activity” means: (1) Preparing for, organizing, or participating in any political meeting, political rally, political demonstration, or other political event.”


  60. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:32 pm:

    Once Rauner completely decimates unions in Illinois, this will all be moot…


  61. - wordslinger - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:34 pm:

    –”Prohibited political activity” means: (1) Preparing for, organizing, or participating in any political meeting, political rally, political demonstration, or other political event.”–

    And you think a posted flyer on a union bulletin board is any of those things?


  62. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:38 pm:

    @Honeybear, nice drive by insult.

    Now read the act in its entirety like you are supposed to for the appropriate guidance.


  63. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:42 pm:

    ” — And you think a posted flyer on a union bulletin board is any of those things? —”

    In this case, yes.


  64. - wordslinger - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:43 pm:

    ” — And you think a posted flyer on a union bulletin board is any of those things? —”

    In this case, yes.–

    Which one?


  65. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:48 pm:

    - Louis G Atsaves -

    So your contention is you’re reading the Act correct.

    It’s a yes… or a no.


  66. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, May 13, 16 @ 4:49 pm:

    “— Which one?—”

    I previously said both. If you want me to rate them over which one is more in violation (a Bar test type question) reread the second one.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Apple SIM Partner GigSky Now Offers Data Plans in Over 40 More Countries
* Watch the Galaxy S8 Unpacked event LIVE at 11am Eastern (Video)
* [Video] LG G6 unboxing: First look
* Watch Samsung unveil the Galaxy S8 at Unpacked 2017
* Facebook Camera gets beefed up with more Snapchat-like features
* OG Fossil, Casio and Tag Heuer smartwatches are the first to get Android Wear 2.0… for real

* Robertson unfazed by rumors, feeling great
* Sox bring offense early, late vs. Royals
* May day: Rookie wins center-field job
* May the best kind of spring surprise
* Inbox: Can Sox gain from keeping Quintana?
* White Sox get good news on Rodon, Petricka
* White Sox send Bourjos to Rays


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