* An e-mail sent to House Democrats today by Jessica Basham, Speaker Madigan’s new chief of staff…
Subject: Announcement: New hirings and other coming changes re: personnel policies and practices
I’ve begun a series of conversations with members of our caucus and with staff to discuss our efforts to change the culture in the Capitol, and the role we all play in this process. I have already spoken with many of you, and the rest of you can expect my call soon. I appreciate the feedback I’ve already received, and I look forward to continuing these conversations going forward to solicit and consider new ideas.
Based on these conversations, the Speaker and I are immediately beginning a search to hire a human resources director and an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer to (i) promote a fair, equitable, and unbiased work environment for the 200 employees of the Speaker’s office, (ii) advise supervisors, and (iii) oversee investigations related to discrimination and harassment.
In addition to these new positions, we are considering numerous additional steps to change the culture in the Capitol, including:
• Conducting performance reviews on all current directors and supervisors, which will include input from staff.
• Requiring all directors and supervisors, including the chief of staff, to participate in new management training programs this summer.
• Meeting with staff members within the Speaker’s office to solicit suggestions for changes to personnel policies and manuals. These policies and manuals will subsequently be updated, based on the feedback received.
• Creating a confidential process for employees to anonymously register complaints or make suggestions.
• Researching the availability of additional harassment prevention training which all staff would undergo on a continuing basis.
• Reviewing and revamping the organizational structure of the House Democratic Staff and Speaker’s office, in order to incorporate suggestions from staff and members and bring transparency to the roles and functions of staff.
I hope you will make your thoughts part of this conversation. I’m seeking your input on new steps we can take, better policies we can enact, and any other ways we can create a fairer, equitable environment for all. Please call or email me whenever you have thoughts you’d like to share.
As I’ve already told many of you, I’m looking for your suggestions and guidance as I acclimate to my new role. I believe our caucus is stronger because we are having this discussion, and I thank you in advance for sharing your ideas.
Conducting performance reviews on all current directors and supervisors will help her weed some folks out.
* The lack of a a human resources office was one of the chief complaints by Sherri Garrett…
I wish I would’ve had someone that I could have trusted and to whom I could’ve said, ‘Hey. This happened to me. Is this supposed to happen?’
If there had been a true professional human resources team, they could have said ‘No’ and perhaps we could have nipped it in the bud right then and there.