Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Madigan is ultimately responsible
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Madigan is ultimately responsible

Monday, Aug 26, 2019

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

You don’t have to read past the first sentence of Tim Mapes’ statement last week to see one of the core problems with the way he ran the Illinois House Democratic operation. Mapes was responding to an investigative report commissioned by House Speaker Michael Madigan to get to the bottom of allegations of sexual harassment and bullying in his Statehouse operation.

”For over forty years,” Mapes wrote in his response, “I had the privilege of serving in the Illinois State Legislature.”

Um, no.

Mapes worked “for” the Legislature, he didn’t serve “in” it. But he always seemed to behave as if he was one of the most important people in all of the General Assembly.

Mapes managed to accumulate just about every power possible: Madigan’s chief of staff, executive director of Madigan’s Democratic Party of Illinois and House Clerk. That meant every single person in Speaker Madigan’s world - from legislators, to lobbyists, to campaign workers, to committee clerks to legislative secretaries - had to answer to him and only to him. He was the indispensable one, until Madigan told him to quit over sexual harassment allegations.

”(T)he recent criticisms made against me do not truly appreciate the size of the responsibility of my position,” Mapes also claimed in his statement. “The daily needs of my position required constant attention in order to ensure the successful operation of our government,” he wrote, passive-aggressively blaming Speaker Madigan for allowing him to attain so much power.

On that point, however, he wasn’t wrong. Mapes made all of Madigan’s trains run on time. Meticulous to a fault, he made Madigan’s life easier, even meeting with lobbyists on their legislation — at least some of whom once worked for Mapes on staff and were expected to raise money from clients and run important legislative campaigns.

Madigan allowed Mapes to take a firm helm of all the various parts of his machine. Mapes eventually became more important than the people who were actually elected to office, and not just in his own mind. This was all by design.

The investigative report claimed Mapes’ efficiency was a “product of the fear he engendered.” But he couldn’t have done any of that without Madigan’s assent.

Notably, nowhere in the report does anyone claim that Madigan was present during Mapes’ threats or outbursts. Indeed, most people I’ve talked to on this topic believe Madigan would’ve put a stop to Mapes’ behavior if he had seen what was really going on.

But that’s still on Madigan. Did he not want to know what was happening?

Let’s go back to the report: “Multiple workers described having been physically intimidated by perceived superiors. These situations varied from a perceived superior yelling in someone’s face to grabbing or pushing someone.”

Mapes himself is accused of various forms of abuse, from throwing a pencil at a worker who had forgotten to bring one to a meeting, to “regularly” threatening to fire people, to an allegation that he “angrily grabbed a staffer because he thought — mistakenly — that the staffer was in the wrong place.”

Mapes apparently kept his methods a secret from his boss. But the big boss is always ultimately responsible. And Madigan has been forced to clean up the mess he ultimately made for over a year now. He has a new chief of staff, a new state party executive director and a new House Clerk, and, most importantly, they’re all different people.

It’s a good start, but more needs to be done.

For decades, all four caucuses have offered the same basic career ladder to select employees: Work immensely hard during session, then bust your hump during campaigns, then eventually supervise campaigns, then become a lobbyist and oversee multiple campaigns every cycle. It’s basically the foundation of the contract lobbying system in Springfield.

The House report focuses solely on the House Democratic operation, but it notes a big potential problem with this system: “Workers said that the lines between the political and state sides can blur because their bosses are sometimes … lobbyists or other people who do not work for the Speaker’s Office.”

According to the report, “Some workers said that people who do not work for the Speaker’s Office will sometimes continue to direct them as if the Speaker’s Office workers were still subordinates.”

That’s a real problem if lobbyists with clients paying them to pass or kill legislation are ordering around state legislative staffers as if they are subordinates. It’s one thing to do that on a campaign. It’s quite another when those staffers are on government time.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

33 Comments
  1. - Sayitaintso - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:14 am:

    Nailed it. Illuminating and nauseating at the same time.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:22 am:

    ===”For over forty years,” Mapes wrote in his response, “I had the privilege of serving in the Illinois State Legislature.”

    Um, no.

    Mapes worked “for” the Legislature, he didn’t serve “in” it. But he always seemed to behave as if he was one of the most important people in all of the General Assembly.===

    Wow.

    The total lack of self awareness, and guessing this was edited, that only speaks to the tone deaf understanding of who and what Mapes was, and his own interpretation of a role he thought he had.


  3. - Steve - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:31 am:

    The sad thing is that many women who had to interact with Mapes were treated the way they were. How many women had to quit because they felt there was no accountability ? How many careers were destroyed?


  4. - Occasional Quipper - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:34 am:

    It just depends on what you mean by the word “in”. I think Mapes honestly thought the word applied to him because he had more power than any elected legislator except Madigan. How he got that position was irrelevant, to him. In his mind, he was the entire middle layer of a 3 level org chart with only the speaker above him and everyone else below him.


  5. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:41 am:

    I find it difficult to believe that Madigan was completely clueless about Mapes’ behavior. Madigan isn’t that clueless, and he had to ask himself how was Mapes’ making the trains run on time so well.


  6. - @misterjayem - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:47 am:

    “But that’s still on Madigan.”

    When I was in ROTC, the primary lesson for all cadets was: A leader is responsible for everything his unit does or does not do.

    If that was a reasonable standard for a 21-year old butter bar — and it was — it is certainly a reasonable standard for the longest-serving leader of any legislative body in the history of the United States.

    – MrJM


  7. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:53 am:

    MJM is a aging king losing control of he empire he built. His empire flourished when issues could be kept behind closed doors or fixed with a phone call and a job offer. MJM is at a loss in the fast moving and leaky world of Social Media.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:07 am:

    ===is a aging king===

    Is that you John Kass?

    ===flourished===

    Electorally measured, Madigan has not been this powerful with 74 Democratic seats.

    One reason I really-really try not to comment on this topic (like 2A, Abortion… ) is that the subject matter and rationale turns into this meme of whatever is typed to reinforce an already held political view, to reinforce some overall political thought.

    ===It just depends on what you mean by the word “in”.===

    No.

    ===“I had the privilege of serving in the Illinois State Legislature.”===

    No.

    Those elected serve IN the legislature. Period. End of discussion.

    ===“I had the privilege of serving in the Illinois State Legislature.”===

    It’s not rudimentary English snobbiness. You can work for the legislature, those voting switches as members of the body serve IN the legislature.

    With respect.


  9. - Mr. Smith - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:21 am:

    I’m genuinely curious. If Madigan fell on his sword, accepted responsibility for what took place under his leadership, and stepped down as Speaker, who would follow him? The current Majority leader seems to be very, very well thought of. What would the process for replacing the Speaker look like?


  10. - Minion - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:22 am:

    Rich,

    You kind of hit the nail on the head. If you worked your tail off you got promoted. But what you’re missing, is you got promoted and you got respect. I was a woman on the speakers staff, me and countless other women never had issues with Mapes - because we worked hard. His door was open to us, even after we left staff. Mapes had little patience for people that didn’t do their jobs, weren’t hard working, or worse made excuses for their shortcomings. But, he was this way with people regardless of their gender.


  11. - Just Me 2 - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    ===more need to be done.===

    The rank and file need to take back their caucus.


  12. - Chicagonk - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    @JustMe2 - Exactly, although I think that there are a lot of representatives that don’t mind showing up when the session starts and going through the motions.


  13. - Annonin' - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    Mr/Ms OW
    2 points on “in”
    1. How many folks in and around SPI refer to the GA being in as part of their regular schedule, as in “are we in on Friday”

    2. Clerk of the House is a position approved by the full House.

    Mr/Ms Minion hit a few other points out of the park.


  14. - Langhorne - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    I worked for the GA for 30 years. During a presentation, someone asked me if i was powerful. I said no, but occasionally i might have influence.

    You know you are a lifer when you find yourself referring to the “institution”.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    ===Clerk of the House is a position approved by the full House.===

    Point taken.


  16. - dupped - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    == - Steve - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:31 am:

    The sad thing is that many women who had to interact with Mapes were treated the way they were. How many women had to quit because they felt there was no accountability ? How many careers were destroyed? ==

    It wasn’t a gender thing so please spare us of making it one. He was an equal opportunity a$$ if you weren’t doing your job.

    Minion at 10:22 said it best. Mapes would not accept those who made excuses for their shortcomings or failed to admit their mistakes. Yet, his response to the report exhibits the kind of behavior he never tolerated.


  17. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    === I said no, but occasionally i might have influence. ===

    A staffer who doesn’t influence, in the broadest sense of the word, is not effectively doing his/her job. That doesn’t mean that a staffer should dictate to a lawmaker, but to provide correct, trustworthy and well reasoned information to help a lawmaker make a decision.


  18. - Langhorne - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:48 am:

    Staff power/influence—

    Partisan staff are supposed to provide info to help members advance their bills. But some bills are…..wacko. I used to make the best case for the sponsor in my analysis, then use the phrase, “opponents are likely to argue that……” and politely unload, to warn other members.


  19. - The Rabbit - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    Mike Madigan: While his opponents play checkers, his CoS abuses people on a three dimensional level.


  20. - All In - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    Being a proud and perpetual bully, harassing employees sexually and otherwise is abominable. The Speaker OWNS this . . . . .any other interpretation given the Speakers strangle hold on the process is laughable.


  21. - Occasional Quipper - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    == Those elected serve IN the legislature. Period. End of discussion. ==

    I couldn’t agree more. The point that I was feebly trying to make was that Mapes’ definition of “in” was different from the rest of us.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    === The point that I was feebly trying to make was that Mapes’ definition of “in” was different from the rest of us.===

    Yep.

    If - Annonin’ - wants

    ===Clerk of the House is a position approved by the full House.===

    I’ll concede the point that Mapes was to work for the Legislature in that capacity as “in”

    Then I guess - Anonnin’ - must be conceding the point that Speaker Madigan appointed Mapes… and Madigan then put Mapes up for this position time and again…

    Interesting way to try to work out that “in” or “for” thing… allowing the Speaker even more responsibility with Mapes.


  23. - Shytown - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    Hallelujah


  24. - Juvenal - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    The House Clerk, Assistant Clerk, and Parliamentarian are all appointed officers of the legislature. They are in the General Assembly pension system. By any reasonable definition, the Clerk is a part of the House.

    As chief of staff, Mapes worked for Madigan, and so yes, Madigan ought to hold himself accountable for Mapes.

    Whether Madigan ought to be punished for Mapes’s behavior is a political question, not a legal one, and a difficult one to answer in the age of Donald Trump.

    @Minion: “had little patience” is a nice way of sugarcoating bullying. Let’s not. It is okay to be impatient, it is not okay to throw things at your employees, yell at them, belittle or humiliate them. That does not make Mapes an ogre or mean he is going to hell, nor erase the positive things he did or his positive impact. But if we cannot acknowledge what he did wrong we cannot expect the culture to change. I mean, Madigan says it was unacceptable, and he would not say that unless he thought it was true, so trust his judgment. After all, it is his staff.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===The House Clerk, Assistant Clerk, and Parliamentarian are all appointed officers of the legislature.===

    Aren’t their duties, as defined to aid and support the legislature?

    Their duties are defined… for folks actually IN the legislature to do their duties?


  26. - Rod - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    I do not ever recall an actual roll call vote on the Clerk of the House having been called. It has usually been done by motion for unanimous consent hasn’t it? Lou Lang would make the motion if he was in the chair.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    ===I do not ever recall an actual roll call vote on the Clerk of the House having been called.===

    So… legislators can vote on a Clerk, but the Clerk-Designate, if not a legislator (who is to say it can’t be?) can’t vote for themselves or others?

    Sounds like a pretty important distinction, for in and out I mean.


  28. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 4:41 pm:

    === I do not ever recall an actual roll call vote on the Clerk of the House having been called. ===

    Had you actually bothered to look, you would have seen that the vote for officers was one of 3 organizational resolutions adopted by the members on a voice vote.

    http://www.ilga.gov/house/journals/100/2017/HJ100001R.pdf


  29. - correction - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    == - Juvenal - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    The House Clerk, Assistant Clerk, and Parliamentarian are all appointed officers of the legislature. They are in the General Assembly pension system. By any reasonable definition, the Clerk is a part of the House. ==

    That’s not correct.

    The Clerk and the Assistant Clerk are elected by the House at inauguration. (See House Rules 6 and 7 “The House shall elect a clerk…”) Both are eligible for the General Assembly Retirement System. The parliamentarian is appointed by the Speaker. (See Rule 4(c)(22). That person is a state employee and eligible for the State Employee Retirement System.


  30. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 4:50 pm:

    Rich Nice column….so how was the state fair down yonder.


  31. - Minion - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 6:00 pm:

    @Juvenal I stand by what I said. I worked for him for over 10 years and never saw him throw something at someone, or yell or belittle and humiliate. Was he stern, have a high bar for expectations and not accept excuses. Absolutely. Could he be short and curt. Absolutely. But considering the sheer number of employees he had to oversee during his tenure I’m certain more than anhandful would not be comfortable with his curtness. I’m not questioning if what people said happened, happened. If people said it did, it did, but let’s not make this seem like it was an everyday occurrence.


  32. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:41 pm:

    ===never saw him throw something at someone===

    So? It happened. To two people.


  33. - Arock - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 9:10 am:

    The ethically challenged Madigan knew damn well what was going on, you can’t have someone around you for that long and not know how they run things.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Syverson's backing of Rockford casino pick draws questions
* Foxx takes first step by filing motions to vacate more than a thousand cannabis convictions
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Pritzker looks ahead to 2020
* New law designed to promote minority apprenticeships
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Greta Lindall unveils her results
* Definitely not a moment of Zen
* The story behind Patti Vasquez's ballot name
* Illinois receives "C-" for business subsidy transparency
* The Hill: Feds asking questions about Speaker Madigan's son
* Maybe Springfield should consider doing this, too?
* Weekend disclosure of $5 million contribution goes unnoticed for days
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller