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More post-Mapes cleanup by Madigan

Friday, Sep 13, 2019

* Tina Sfondeles

Weeks after a former inspector general blamed former Mike Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes for ruling through a culture of fear and intimidation, the powerful speaker has told his staff and Democratic primary candidates “no person should be pressured” into volunteering for a campaign. […]

“I am writing to remind you that no person should be pressured into or made to feel as if they are required to engage in political activities or that their public employment may be contingent upon assisting a candidate or political committee,” Madigan wrote Thursday in an email to Democratic primary candidates. […]

The letter comes weeks after former inspector general Maggie Hickey issued a scathing report about workplace culture in the speaker’s office with a very large focus on Mapes, who also served as the executive director of the state Democratic party and clerk of the House.

Most of those interviewed, Hickey wrote, “agreed that Mr. Mapes commonly threatened people’s jobs or reminded them that they were dispensable.”

* From the letter

In keeping with the Democratic Party’s goal of ensuring safe and supportive workplaces, our political committees have implemented many changes since the last election cycle. […]

Every staff member and volunteer serving in a supervisory role will be required to participate in a training program prior to receiving an assignment, and resources will be available for all staff and volunteers throughout the campaign cycle.

In addition, every candidate receiving assistance from the Democratic Party of Illinois, Democratic Majority, or Friends of Michael J. Madigan will be required to participate in a training program and adopt workplace harassment policies.

The goal is to create a culture where staff and volunteers feel comfortable to work issues out among themselves, knowing there is a supportive and fair system in place when they cannot. Whether you are an employee or a volunteer, you are entitled to a working environment free of coercion, discrimination, harassment, or intimidation, and I am committed to providing that environment for all persons working with our campaigns.

* From a letter Madigan sent to all Democratic primary candidates this week

With the 2020 election season approaching, candidates and political committees will be actively seeking volunteers and paid staff to perform political activities. I am writing to remind you that no person should be pressured into or made to feel as if they are required to engage in political activities or that their public employment may be contingent upon assisting a candidate or political committee. […]

(E)very candidate receiving resources from the Democratic Party of Illinois, Democratic Majority or Friends of Michael J. Madigan will be required to take training on workplace harassment and have their own policies in place. The goal is to create a culture where candidates, staff and volunteers feel comfortable to work issues out among themselves, knowing there is a supportive and fair system in place when they cannot.

That should be the policy in both parties and all four caucuses, IMHO.

* From a Madigan letter sent last week

Dear Employee of the Office of the Speaker:

With the 2020 election season approaching, candidates and political committees will be actively recruiting volunteers and paid staff to perform political activities. As we work together to improve our workplace, I want to remind you that you should not be pressured into or made to feel as if you are required to engage in any political activity, or that your role within the Office of the Speaker is influenced by your political participation.

Those who chose to take time off work or volunteer for a candidate or political committee should do so only if it is their personal choice. You have a First Amendment right to engage in political speech, but it should be your decision whether to participate in political activities on your own time.

As a reminder, you are expressly prohibited from engaging in prohibited political activities while on State time or using State resources, and members of the General Assembly are prohibited from requiring you to engage in such activities. […]

I want to reiterate that your personal decision regarding participating in political activities will have no impact whatsoever on your role within the Office of the Speaker.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments
  1. - Steve - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    This needs at least a 20 person task force .


  2. - Looking down the Road - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    Wink, wink …


  3. - Norseman - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    No requirement to volunteer, but one find a correlation between the raises of volunteers vs. nonvolunteers.


  4. - Montrose - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    While it is understandable that one would read all this through a cynical lens, the other caucuses are going to quickly lose whatever high ground they thought they had if they don’t put some things like this in writing pretty quickly.


  5. - Just Me - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    It is good to publicize that working on a campaign is voluntary. However, I found that working on campaigns made me a better staffer because I had a much better understanding of what a legislator’s life was like and the pressures they faced. I’m sure many others on this blog would agree with me.

    Not everyone can pack up and go sleep in someone’s basement for 3 months, but if you can, I’m sure most people on this blog would say you should. (It’s also nice to get out of Springfield and the boredom of the Capitol for a little while.)


  6. - lakeside - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    Mmm’k.

    [Also, Montrose is right.]


  7. - DIstant watcher - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    One of the advantages of a long-serving speaker is that he lived through the Tristano mess. He wasn’t singed then and he hasn’t been since; this suggests he wants to keep that record going.


  8. - ugh - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    I worked for the Madigan organization many years ago. Family circumstances didn’t allow me to go out on campaign, and I was never asked or pressured. I just did what I could do locally because it was important to me. I’ve done just fine working at the capitol since then and have always had a good working relationship with the Speaker’s office. But you know what, I really wish I could have gone out on campaign. It’s time so well spent. Good for the Speaker though to put it in writing.


  9. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Sep 13, 19 @ 4:10 pm:

    The term Voluntold comes to mind ?


  10. - OoLaLa - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 1:03 am:

    Wow. How times have changed. When I was offered a position, Gary LaPaille told me that “we will be asking you to work on campaigns of course.” It didn’t seem to be optional. But, I really enjoyed it. I NEVER saw Tim Mapes do or say anything improper whatsoever. Nor was my job ever held over my head or threatened. But then, I was a good soldier and a true believer. It is truly hard to picture Tim Mapes doing anything untoward against women. Never even saw a hint of that once. Yes, he was a bit arrogant and demanding in following the rules, including keeping state work and campaign work completely separate, but I think he got kinda of thrown under the bus truly. Not that I don’t believe the women who complained…I worked there for years and never saw even a hint of sexism. Now would he take the side of a legislator over me? Of course. I was just a worker bee. But, if the acts of legislators or staff were illegal towards me, I don’t know if he would ignore me.


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