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Pritzker addresses Hickey report

Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

* Sun-Times

A day after an explosive report revealed years of bullying under the reign of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s chief of staff, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday dodged questions about whether he’s still confident in the speaker’s leadership.

* Dave Dahl

Now that a report of a toxic workplace at the Capitol is out, Gov. JB Pritzker’s glad the culture of harassment, intimidation, and bullying is now known to all.

But, he says, it doesn’t end here.

“I think we need to hold everybody accountable, and that means we need to address the culture,” Pritzker said Wednesday in Chicago after a bill-signing ceremony. “The only way to do that — you can’t just do one-time training; you can’t just announce that this is a problem. You have to be persistent and consistent about addressing it. People need to be reminded, and new people are coming to Springfield all the time.”

* Tribune

“The culture of sexual harassment exists in Springfield on both sides of the aisle,” the rookie Democratic governor said Wednesday at an unrelated event in Chicago. “It has been pervasive for a long time. I think anybody that’s worked in Springfield has talked about it and knows about it. And it is a very positive thing that these things have come to light.”

The report from Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor and state executive inspector general under Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, pointed the blame for many of the problems within the speaker’s office at his longtime chief of staff, Tim Mapes.

Mapes, who also was House clerk and executive director of the Madigan-led state Democratic Party, was ousted from his positions last summer after a staffer publicly accused him of fostering “a culture of sexism, harassment and bullying that creates an extremely difficult working environment.”

* AP

Pritzker says the report detailed “a special kind of harassment and intimidation from Tim Mapes.” But when asked if putting Mapes in positions of power reflects poorly on the speaker’s judgment, Pritzker answered it depended on what Madigan knew.

* WTTW

Pritzker on Wednesday refused multiple times to single out Madigan himself.

“The culture of sexual harassment exists in Springfield on both sides of the aisle,” Pritzker said. “I am counting on the speaker and the Senate president and the minority leader of the House and the minority leader of the Senate to carry out functions that will safeguard women, anybody that could be sexually harassed or attacked.”

Pritzker was asked again if Madigan had dropped the ball, presiding over a workplace culture where abuse was rampant.

“I think it’s clear on both sides of the aisle. I think everybody in Springfield, we’ve let this culture go on too long,” he said.

* Center Square

[House Republican Leader Jim Durkin] said Republicans have had their share of problems, but said under his leadership, employees should feel safe to come forward with complaints. He said when there have been complaints, officials have acted swiftly.

“We didn’t need an extensive investigation for us to make decisions and to take action. We will continue to do that in those situations when you get into harassment of employees, but also conduct that’s unbecoming of members,” Durkin said.

Durkin said Madigan’s future depends on House Democrats.

“I’m not going to get involved with the House Democrats and how they manage their operations,” Durkin said. “I have nothing further to say on that.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Just a guy... - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:02 am:

    Remember; politicians never blame themselves, rarely blame each other, but always blame the staff. Staff people in government need to understand that they will always take the ax when something happens.


  2. - Father Flanagan - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:04 am:

    “Were there complaints about Rep. John Anthony prior to his departure from the House, were those complaints investigated/substantiated, and what did the Rauner administration know?” seem like completely legitimate questions, especially now that the guy is on the radio.


  3. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:08 am:

    =We didn’t need an extensive investigation for us to make decisions and to take action=

    Hmm, so you didn’t need all of the facts? Seems hasty.


  4. - JT Dobbins - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:09 am:

    ==Staff people in government need to understand that they will always take the ax when something happens. ==

    Doesn’t this sentiment have the potential to create a hostile work environment? Not sure what the new written and unwritten rules will be now after the Hickey report and news coverage above?


  5. - Uncle Ernie - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:21 am:

    When it come to sexual harassment Madigan is a straight arrow, but I find it hard to believe that he did not know about Mapes. Everyone in Spgf. was intimidated by Mapes and he liked it that way. They need strict rules on intimidation and handle each case as it arises.


  6. - JoeMaddon - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:22 am:

    **“Were there complaints about Rep. John Anthony prior to his departure from the House, were those complaints investigated/substantiated, and what did the Rauner administration know?” seem like completely legitimate questions, especially now that the guy is on the radio.**

    I cannot answer whether or not there were official complaints. I don’t know that answer.

    But Anthony absolutely had a reputation of being bad to women in Springfield. I heard numerous stories before and after he was “promoted” out of the GA so that they could pretend it wasn’t happening.


  7. - DTown uptowner - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:32 am:

    Every administration has its bullies & they come in different forms and use different tactics. Every administration. None of it should be tolerated.


  8. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    Most decisions are made without all the facts. There can be a sufficiency of facts, even if some facts are not known.

    It is like pattern recognition. I don’t have to see all of an animal or know the life story of an alcoholic to spot them.


  9. - Jocko - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    I think Jim Durkin is whistling past the graveyard…forgetting that Nick Sauer was part of the 100th General Assembly.


  10. - {Sigh} - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:45 am:

    This is not popular comment and I’m sure I will ruffle some feathers. However, remember negative comments that can be perceived as bullying & are the exact characteristics that people under the dome are complaining about.

    To the comments earlier in the week on the blog & in the media regarding Mapes…if you were a CEO or Speaker of the House, would you want a person who ran a tight ship and got things done, or would you want someone who came in and shuffled papers around and the employees were unproductive? Mapes had some issues (ok maybe several issues) but as a COS, one is not put in the position to be friends with the employees. The COS is there to get things done. I didn’t always agree with Mapes, but I never let the man intimidate me and treated him like anyone else.

    The man is gone. He has been gone for a year. He is no longer at the capitol. He no longer has power. We can continue to focus on the past, or we can move forward. Be the change change that you want to see. Treat others the way you want to be treated.


  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 9:54 am:

    ===one is not put in the position to be friends with the employees===

    Who said he was? Don’t argue like a child. You can be efficient and effective without being a total and complete [redacted reminds with stick].


  12. - Davos - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 10:23 am:

    I’m skeptical that the bullying mentality in the Capitol will change. A sizeable number of legislators and connected lobbyists will continue to treat staff and advocates with little to no respect. Civility has almost completely left the dome. Sure, people will talk about the issue and act like its been solved, but I’ll believe it when I see it.


  13. - Responsa - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    ==We can continue to focus on the past, or we can move forward==

    It’s too late for all the people Mapes bullied and intimidated and for all the people in the know who apparently looked away. But pointing to his conduct via this report as specific examples of what must not be tolerated in Springfield is a good thing. Changing the entrenched culture will take reinforcement– and continuing to focus on the Mapes era can be a vehicle for that.


  14. - JP Altgeld - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    @Sigh

    Every day Tim Mapes spent as a person of power and influence in that Capitol is a sad day for Illinois. That people like him are aided and abetted is tremendously unfortunate.

    Not only was he acting in an uncivilized manner (to be charitable) but he was profiting handsomely from his service. Shocking that any leader of any character would give him any quarter whatsoever.


  15. - plenty of grassbowlishness to go around - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    I think for long time workplaces have put more emphasis on working hard than being kind. Which is fair, even the sweetest but most incompetent employee is not going last. However, you can’t excuse being a grassbowl to your subordinates or people who perceive you to have the ultimate authority over their job and/or career, and excuse the grassbowl behavior because you work very hard or are very successful.
    This is may be a generational shift (I’m an elder millennial for reference), but I don’t think so. Organizations grow or they die, refocusing on both working hard, and being kind, seems a useful message everyone, not just the Office of the Speaker, could find useful.


  16. - Glum - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    — Mapes had some issues (ok maybe several issues) but as a COS, one is not put in the position to be friends with the employees. —

    There is a difference between being friends with employees and treating them with respect. I’ve found people work harder and will be more productive if they know they are valued and you need them. The reality in the Capitol is every person holding every job is replaceable. All caucuses have had new COS, new lawyers, new politics directors, new floor staff. People move on. It’s the same on the political side But you shouldn’t treat people as if they’re dispensable. It’s one thing to advise staff they’re at will (a legal standard) and another to use that as a threat.


  17. - 180 degrees - Thursday, Aug 22, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    It’s wild how the pendulum swings. Hasn’t Mapes won several Golden Horseshoe awards on here? And most of the things he’s being criticized for now such as his approach to managing the House have been known and joked about for a very long time. Not a defense. Just an observation.


  18. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 6:46 am:

    ==Hasn’t Mapes won several Golden Horseshoe awards on here?==

    Pritzker said it best: it depends on what people knew.


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