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More on that Madigan memo to his members about staff

Wednesday, Mar 7, 2018

* Click here for background if you need it on yesterday’s memo from Speaker Madigan to his members warning them against sexually harassing or having sexual relations with staff along with Alaina Hampton’s response. Sun-Times

“He’s had two meetings with women, staff and lobbyists. One in Chicago and one in Springfield and he came with a sense and thought that it would be prudent to express that to the caucus,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said of Tuesday’s statement.

Madigan’s message to members — which he also released to the media — came about a week after he released a list of nine misconduct complaints that he said demonstrated his office had been there for potential harassment victims and has handled cases “according to protocol.”

And it came after he met with directors of four units of his office — the clerk’s office, issues, research and technical review divisions. Those directors are now speaking with staff on a weekly basis about whether there are any staffing issues, according to a source with close knowledge of the speaker’s office.

It also comes after Madigan met with some House Democratic women in the two private meetings. The group has been talking to lobbyists and staff members to try to both tackle sexual harassment in politics, and empower women to seek higher positions.

As for any pending legislation, Brown said the speaker is “waiting to see what kind of ideas” come from both a group headed by Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, and State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, R-Leland Grove – and the group of women Democratic members who have been meeting.

* Tribune

[Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago] said she wasn’t sure what prompted Madigan’s latest message, saying, “he just read it to us in that measured, deliberate tone of his.”

Others said they interpreted it as a stern warning from Madigan as he tries to move ahead on the issue. Madigan repeatedly has said he has no intentions to step aside.

Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, a Chicago Democrat who serves on Madigan’s leadership team, said the comments were “a very strong statement about a level of professionalism that he expects.”

“I believe it is a step in the right direction, a clarion call, if you will,” Feigenholtz said.

Still, Feigenholtz called the issue a “work in progress.” “I believe there is a commitment to reframe things around here,” Feigenholtz said.

* SJ-R

Meanwhile, the House’s sexual harassment task force Tuesday discussed a draft of a bill authored by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, and the committee’s minority spokesperson Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, R-Leland Grove, to reform state ethics and human rights law with new regulations in an attempt to decrease instances of sexual harassment and allow for a better pathway to justice for victims.

The proposals include extending the period for reporting after a rights violation from 180 days to one year, allowing anonymous reporting and creating an investigator position in more government offices.

Lobbyists and legislators debated parts of the draft, including the statute of limitation clause. As written, it would cover more than just sexual harassment allegations, a concern for an already overstretched complaint system at the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission, according to Jay Shattuck, a lobbyist for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

“There is a tremendous backlog … that is unfortunately detrimental … to the individuals who have been discriminated against but certainly employers who are stuck in the process for as many as six, seven years before there’s a resolution of a human rights act charge,” he said. “We think we need to address the backlog as well.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

7 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 7, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    It’s heartening to know that there have never been any sexual misconduct complaints lodged against the governmental or political crews of Rauner, Cullerton, Brady, Durkin, any of the state constitutional officers,… etc.

    Because if there had been, we’d know about it. Right?

    At this point in history, that all has to be on the table, and steps to address it must be transparent.

    Correct?

    We can all take comfort in knowing that only the Madigan crew has been accused of any sexual misconduct, ever.


  2. - Who else - Wednesday, Mar 7, 18 @ 11:37 am:

    ==We can all take comfort in knowing that only the Madigan crew has been accused of any sexual misconduct, ever.==

    Well, except for the time-honored Christmas tradition of unwanted touching that is documented on the front page of the suntimes with the headline SANTA PAWS.

    For some reason, we don’t talk about the fact that a guy who everyone knew routinely harassed and touched women found himself gently removed from his elected position and dropped into a leadership position in Rauner’s administration where he resumed his harassing behavior.

    We have to stop moving these men around. They harass staff and colleagues, so we move them into a lobbying job without addressing the damage left in their wake. The catholic church did that, too. It ended badly.


  3. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Mar 7, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    The victims words are powerful and MJM has no way to counter them…

    ““Speaker Madigan now says he is committed to getting ‘personally involved’ in preventing sexual harassment…that may prove to be a step forward — but today, it rings hollow. The Speaker had three months to get ‘personally involved’ in my case, but took no action until he knew the story was about to come out.”


  4. - anon - Wednesday, Mar 7, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    CYA

    Right now MJM employs several spouses of members of his own caucus. How does he square that circle How does MJM not have unfair control over a member whose spouse he employs?
    What is his policy on employee spouses and other relatives of members of his own caucus?


  5. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Mar 7, 18 @ 1:03 pm:

    Many a CEO, politicians, others have been forced from power for less. It appears that not even #metoo can bring down Madigan.


  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 7, 18 @ 1:18 pm:

    “Many a CEO, politicians, others have been forced from power for less.”

    For less than text messages they didn’t send which stopped months before they were told about them?


  7. - theCardinal - Wednesday, Mar 7, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    Come on Word. Even if it didn’t hatch there, that’s where the bird landed. Not wanting it to be so doesnt make it go away and deflecting it to others isnt going to make it go away either. It could have been in any office any number of years ago somebody ends up wearing the jacket and this time its the speakers office.


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