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Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback hired Evanston manager at center of criticism for delay of harassment and abuse probe

Wednesday, Mar 9, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This Dan Mihalopoulos story is enraging on so many levels

Jennifer Lin should catch much of the blame for Evanston’s mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints from teenage girls and young women who worked at the city’s beaches, according to an investigative report released last month from a law firm hired by the town’s city council.

When she was the city’s top human resources manager, the lawyers say, Lin was primarily at fault for Evanston’s yearlong delay in looking into the “pervasive” harassment and abuse suffered by lifeguards and other beach workers.

And the investigators found Lin initially was skeptical of the female lakefront workers who first stepped forward in 2020, suggesting they also “behaved badly” and commenting to another Evanston official that “these millennials hold onto things.”

But long before she came in for that heavy criticism in the independent counsel’s report, Lin already had landed a new, six-figure job in local government.

Records show Lin got interviewed and picked last August to become the director of compliance for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez – even after Evanston’s city manager punished Lin for allegedly failing to tell her about the severity of the beach workers’ complaints.

So, Lin was hired to oversee compliance under the federal hiring monitor. But the vacant position “did not require applicants to disclose whether they had faced any disciplinary action in a previous or current job.” That is just ridiculous. And the federal monitor who oversaw Lin’s hiring said: “I have nothing to say. Not a word,” when pressed by WBEZ. Such transparency.

* Back to the story

One young woman – who says she was raped by a manager when she was a lifeguard in Evanston a few years ago – sent a scathing message to Lin’s county email address last month, hours after the independent counsel’s report was released publicly on Feb. 25.

The woman and more than 50 other current and former beach workers signed a petition to Evanston officials in July 2020. In it, they alleged “blatant sexism, sexual harassment, assault, racism and discrimination” at the lakefront.

The girls and young women called on city officials to “apologize directly to survivors, their families and all lakefront employees for consistently placing underaged employees in oppressive, uncomfortable and dangerous situations and in close proximity with sexual predators.”

“I was truly appalled by the utter mishandling of the Evanston petition and allegations of sexual assault,” the woman wrote to Lin last month. “I would like you to know that people like yourself are the reason why sexual assault so often goes unreported.”

This whole thing is just inexcusable.

* And here’s the state angle

Before going to work for the county in October, Lin also worked for a couple months for state Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback, D-Skokie. State records show Lin was paid a total of $12,500, at a rate of $38.50 an hour, for being a “contractual worker” with Stoneback from Aug. 1 until Oct. 11.

Stoneback did not return messages.

* I was able to get a response of sorts from Rep. Wang Stoneback (D-Skokie)…

Jennifer Lin worked for me briefly last year, but is no longer affiliated with my office. The findings of the recently released report are troubling and I hope changes are made to prevent this from happening again.

I followed up to ask if the legislator was aware that Lin had issues in Evanston, but did not hear back.

…Adding… Rep. Wang Stoneback’s husband is Dave Stoneback, who has been the Public Works Agency Director for the City of Evanston since 2015 and has worked for the city since 1985. Kinda makes you wonder what he knew and what she knew.

The investigative report, by the way, is here.

       

18 Comments
  1. - Altgelds Ghost - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 12:49 pm:

    who recommended her for all these jobs?


  2. - Evanstonian - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:00 pm:

    dave stoneback (city of evanstons deputy city manager) has some explaining to do here no doubt


  3. - North Sider - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:24 pm:

    WOW! How could she hire someone that play a role in covering all that up? sexual assault!!! That is terrible. What was she thinking??? They were kids! seriously disgusting


  4. - Username001 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:37 pm:

    So Dave Stoneback comes home one day and tells Rep. Stoneback, “Hey my friend Linn is really getting persecuted at work, I think you should hire her.” And the Rep. goes along with it? Deciding to put a person in a position of public trust that has already shown they can’t be trusted with people’s personal information or issues? Shows a serious lack of good judgment at best.


  5. - Amalia - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:43 pm:

    you would think a federal hiring monitor would do better.


  6. - The Hills 60010 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:43 pm:

    =”The woman and more than 50 other current and former beach workers signed a petition to Evanston officials in July 2020. In it, they alleged “blatant sexism, sexual harassment, assault, racism and discrimination” at the lakefront.

    The girls and young women called on city officials to “apologize directly to survivors, their families and all lakefront employees for consistently placing underaged employees in oppressive, uncomfortable and dangerous situations and in close proximity with sexual predators.””

    Just sigh.


  7. - DougChicago - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:58 pm:

    The uselessness of the federal monitor system is brilliantly on display here.

    Talk about pinstripe patronage. Add up the literally millions spent on the state and county and city monitor and you will become nauseous.


  8. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 2:04 pm:

    === you would think a federal hiring monitor would do better. ===

    That’s a common misconception. They have tunnel vision and only think about the small picture of what they are trying to accomplish.


  9. - Unionman - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 2:10 pm:

    Considering she got elected with Lang’s money and Lang was part of the Madigan machine (until he became a persona non-grata because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself), what do you expect.


  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 2:11 pm:

    Politics is always at it base, about process. That said,

    =The woman and more than 50 other current and former beach workers signed a petition to Evanston officials in July 2020. In it, they alleged “blatant sexism, sexual harassment, assault, racism and discrimination” at the lakefront.=

    and

    =“I was truly appalled by the utter mishandling of the Evanston petition and allegations of sexual assault,” =

    This is the process. There must exist a record of how this legally required process was followed, and was adjudicated by officials charged with enacting the processes for evaluating legal claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

    Pursue this at the Federal level.


  11. - H-W - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 2:25 pm:

    Anonymous at 2:11 pm was me. Sorry about the slip.


  12. - Jerry Sandusky's Ghost - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 2:30 pm:

    But hold on people, Daniel Biss wrote a 5000 word essay on the matter. THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN SOLVED.


  13. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 3:15 pm:

    ==But hold on people, Daniel Biss wrote a 5000 word essay on the matter.==

    Did the essay also include excerpts on mathematical and quantitative analyses? As well as illustrations of weird, inexplicable diagrams and images that only he knows the meaning of?


  14. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 3:43 pm:

    In the circulating milieu of political jobs there always seems to be another one right around the corner for those who’ve screwed up or mishandled their precious one.


  15. - Shytown - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 3:43 pm:

    I came here for Wang Stoneback scoop and stayed for the Biss trolling…

    But seriously, Wang Stoneback should have known better.


  16. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 3:58 pm:

    === In the circulating milieu of political jobs there always seems to be another one right around the corner for those who’ve screwed up or mishandled their precious one. ===

    To be clear, Lin was not hired for a political job at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office. This was supposed to be a job that is 100% free of politics and the Federal monitor oversaw the enti8re hiring process and opined in her last report that “she seems like she will be a good fit”.


  17. - Leslie McMillan - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 7:17 am:

    I think we might be missing the point. The big question is why did the city of Evanston pay Lin a substantial amount of money in severance when she already had a job lined up. Who gained by making her happy?


  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 8:08 am:

    ===The big question===

    This is a state politics and government website and I’d prefer to keep it that way.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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