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Sherri Garrett responds to Hickey report

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Press release…

Sherri Garrett, long-time staffer in Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s office, who spoke out in in June 2018 about multiple instances of harassment and bullying, as well as improper handling of harassment claims by former Madigan Chief of Staff Tim Mapes, gave the following statement in response to the report on workplace culture in the Speaker’s Office released today, which prominently featured her story:

“Today has been difficult for me reliving the events that led me to make my harassment complaint and the ordeal of the complaint process. I am not a public person, but I felt I had no choice but to make my harassment complaint public if I wanted anything to change.

“I thank Ms. Hickey for her work in substantially confirming my allegations against Mr. Mapes and for providing concrete recommendations to Speaker Madigan on how to improve the culture in Springfield. I loved my job with the Illinois House of Representatives, and I was proud to serve the people of Illinois. I truly hope that the workplace culture changes so that people doing this important work are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

“I also want to thank State Representative Kelly Cassidy for her leadership, guidance and friendship during this process. Without her, I am not sure I could have come forward publicly. The people of Illinois owe her a debt a gratitude for the work she is doing on sexual harassment issues.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      


Hickey wants Madigan to be more available to employees

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* From the Hickey report

The Speaker’s Office cannot address workers’ fear of retaliation by changing a policy. Trust must be earned, and for workers who have lost trust, it will be hard to regain. Fortunately, many of the people who expressed fear of retaliation said that the workplace was headed in the right direction. Many of the people who believed that Mr. Mapes would retaliate against them felt better with Ms. Basham as Chief of Staff. We recommend that the Speaker’s Office use the momentum it has created to continue building workers’ trust in its leadership.

Notably, most people did not believe that Speaker Madigan would retaliate against them. Instead, the fear was that Speaker Madigan did not know who they were and, thus, would not know to defend them if they were punished or terminated. Initially, we were concerned that people spoke positively about Speaker Madigan because he had authority and they feared retaliation. It became clear to us, however, that many people who work in the Speaker’s Office joined because of their respect and admiration for Speaker Madigan or the Illinois legislature overall. Moreover, many of the people we interviewed who no longer worked in the Speaker’s Office at the time of their interview—and therefore did not have the same reason for concern—expressed the same sentiment. It is not surprising then that most workers believed in and trusted the Speaker.

We believe that this trust in the Speaker is a unique asset for the Speaker’s Office, which can be used to address its unique challenges. Workers appeared to want to be seen and valued by Speaker Madigan. This was evidenced by the overall positive feedback we heard regarding the Speaker’s listening sessions, which was the first time the Speaker made rounds to hear from all levels of the Speaker’s Office.

Interesting.

* Recommendations

Many of the challenges we learned about were caused by the fact that power was centralized in the former Chief of Staff, Clerk of the House, and Executive Director of DPI, Timothy Mapes. We recommend that Speaker Madigan not delegate such power in one person again. To some extent, the Chief of Staff position will always have great actual and perceived authority, and the person who fills that position will have a large influence on the entire office. The Speaker’s Office has already recognized the benefits of decentralizing this power by, for example, having a separate Chief of Staff and Clerk of the House. This separation should remain in place. […]

The Speaker must be more visible and accessible to all workers in the Speaker’s Office. To have a more visible and pronounced role, the Speaker can, for example, continue to hold listening sessions throughout the year, open to all workers. We also suggest that these listening sessions occur shortly after legislative sessions. Since legislative sessions are stressful for all workers, we believe this could go a long way to show appreciation for workers and identify issues and solutions while they are still fresh in people’s minds.

Likewise, having a separate ethics officer and general counsel may make people more comfortable approaching the ethics officer with questions or issues. As it is, workers may not feel as comfortable approaching the same person for confidential advice that is also the attorney for the Speaker. Separating these positions will also allow the ethics officer to act in a more ombudsman-like role.

The idea of separating the ethics office from the general counsel’s office is a good one.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Mapes responds to Hickey report: “It is my position that the recent criticisms made against me do not truly appreciate the size of the responsibility of my position”

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Background is here. Press release…

STATEMENT OF TIMOTHY MAPES IN RESPONSE TO INDEPENDENT REVIEW:
“INVESTIGATIONS, ANALYSIS & RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING WORKPLACE CULTURE” IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

For over forty years, I had the privilege of serving in the Illinois State Legislature, with twenty-five of those years as Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. And, as Maggie Hickey’s 200-page report details, during that tenure, any problems regarding the workplace, including personnel issues, fell on me in my role as Chief of Staff and Clerk of the House of Representatives. Indeed, as the report goes on to say, all “important decisions” regarding confidential personnel matters were left “to the discretion of one person, the Chief of Staff.” That was me.

It is my position that the recent criticisms made against me do not truly appreciate the size of the responsibility of my position. The daily needs of my position required constant attention in order to ensure the successful operation of our government. I made every effort to satisfy these demands.

Over these forty years, I have served the people of the State of Illinois through hard work, dedication and with great dignity. I have always placed the needs of good government above all other concerns and I always did my best to ensure that these needs were addressed with a sense of urgency. I had many responsibilities that I took on in order to make the Speaker’s Office more efficient and effective. If my demeanor or approach to my job did not instill trust and a healthy work environment, I apologize. I truly did my best, no matter the shortcomings that are now ascribed to me, and I always acted in good faith and for the benefit of the people of the State of Illinois.

Obviously, many changes have taken place in our state over the last quarter of a century. At the same time, as the report acknowledges, “many positions in the Speaker’s Office have been filled by the same people for many years.” With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps, a more formalized process could have been put in place. I am heartened that steps are being taken toward this end. In the end, greater transparency and a broader approach to accountability hopefully will lead to a stronger work environment for which all the people of the State will benefit.

Timothy Mapes is represented by Clifford Law Offices in Chicago.

Dude deliberately accumulated every bit of power that he could over the years and then uses that to justify his behavior.

As if, Tim.

Also, Clifford isn’t generally known for being a “defense” firm. They’re “offense” pretty much all the way. Makes you wonder.

*** UPDATE *** I asked Rep. Kelly Cassidy for a response…

Solving the deep-seated problems of sexism and sexual harassment in Springfield didn’t begin or end with Mr. Mapes, he’s just the most recent and most egregious example. His apparent unwillingness to take responsibility or acknowledge the harm he has caused should be all the evidence we need to know that he and men like him have no place in our workplaces. As the report repeatedly states, his behavior was well known and widely accepted by people in power as just the way things were. Mr. Mapes’ attempts to justify his actions (without denying them) because he was so busy but him having three of the most powerful jobs in the state of Illinois didn’t happen by accident and is a symptom of the larger problem, not an excuse for bad behavior.

The recommendations of Maggie Hickey’s report must be fully implemented. We must vigilantly avoid the kind of entrenchment and complacency that got us into this situation in the first place. The victims of Mr. Mapes deserve more than lip service. They need to see meaningful change that lasts.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Fun with numbers

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois’ public sector employees are some of the highest paid in the nation and earn wages up to 60% higher than their private sector counterparts.

As you might imagine, there are some red flags with this study. They don’t show their statistical model and they don’t control for union membership, for example.

* And this is from Appendix A

Using the American Community Survey (ACS), we restrict our sample to white males, heads of households, prime-working age (25-55) only.

I asked Frank Manzo IV from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute how many state and local government employees were white males between the ages of 25 and 55 during the time period studied. The answer is 22 percent…

…Adding… From Dr. Orphe Divounguy…

“All academics restrict their sample sizes to omit as much bias as possible from their analysis.

“As we say in the body of the paper, we don’t just analyze white households: ‘The analysis compares only employed, male heads of households from the ages of 25-55 in order to remove wage disparities resulting from gender, school enrollment or semi-retirement.’ We have over 1.4 million observations for 50 states and 63,800 in Illinois that are male, 25-55, reporting to be heads of households. With the use of sampling weights, that represents 32.3 million U.S. male heads of household and 1.4 million Illinois male heads of household.

“The model used is referred to as an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition. We refer to it in the appendix and cite the papers that first introduced it. It decomposes log hourly wages into the effect of observable factors such as age, age squared, educational attainment, marital status … all factors that explain wage differences between two groups — and the rest — the wage gap that remains unexplained by observables.

“As for the second part of the paper, the model is fully detailed in the appendix. We control for demographics with year fixed effects. The methodology comes from Behar and Mok who have published a similar paper with the International Monetary Fund looking at whether public employment crowds out private employment in developing countries. We also find that labor market freedom improves labor market outcomes. Another paper published this year => here shows the same relationship: labor freedom is associated with lower unemployment rates.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


“Bank On” initiative signed into law

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* WCIA TV

Banking service access will be expanding across the state. Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill Monday called Bank on Initiative.

Right now, 1 in 5 households in the state use nontraditional banking systems. The program will connect them with affordable financial help. The hope is this will reduce people’s reliance on predatory lenders that charge high fees for basic services.

* Public Radio

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said a new state law, signed Monday, will ask banks and credit unions to list what they offer in the way of low cost methods for opening an account.

“We’ll set up a window on our website where people can enter their address and we’ll say here’s the nearest bank to you with an appropriate account that will work for you,” Mendoza said.

* Greg Hinz

The bill specifically is targeted at helping the estimated one-fifth of Illinois households who conduct their financial affairs outside of the traditional banking system, often by using relatively high-fee payday loan outlets, auto title lenders, pawn shops and the like. According to Pritzker, such folks will end up paying an average of $40,000 in fees over their lifetimes.

The new measure doesn’t directly change that but authorizes Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza to certify and publicly post information about low-cost products offered by banks and credit unions that include features such as no maintenance fees, limited charges for overdrafts and secured personal loans for those with low credit scores. […]

The bill doesn’t empower Mendoza to develop new programs, merely to publicize existing products that pass muster. And to do even that, she’ll work with an advisory commission. That may explain why the bill passed both houses of the Legislature by unanimous votes.

But, as one insider put it, “Look at this is sort of reverse shaming. You’d think that this list would encourage banks to offer more programs like this.”

* Mendoza press release

“The Community Bankers Association of Illinois appreciates the efforts of the governor, comptroller and General Assembly to highlight the needs of the unbanked and under-banked population. It is important to integrate these consumers into the mainstream financial world as an alternative to predatory actors like payday lenders and tile loans who charge as much as 500% interest for basic financial services.” […]

The Brookings Institute found that, on average, a full-time worker who doesn’t use traditional retail banking products is charged roughly $40,000 in lifetime fees. Low-income and immigrant consumers are more vulnerable to being targeted with long-term fees, in exchange for low-information lending documentation.

Lack of access to traditional banking is a problem in both rural and urban areas all over the state. Cook County has a combined unbanked and underbanked rate of nearly 30 percent. Macon County in central Illinois and Alexander County at the southern tip of the state both have unbanked rates of roughly 35 percent.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


AG attempts to dismiss lawsuit against gun dealer regulations

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Center Square

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said a lawsuit challenging the Illinois Gun Dealer License Certification Act is “not ripe for judicial review” and should be dismissed because state police have yet to fully implement the act and that no part of the law has been used to stop dealers from doing business.

The attorney general responded Monday to a lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court filed by several gun stores across the state and the Illinois State Rifle Association. […]

Some dealers don’t want to invest the $300 to $1,500 per business operating name to apply and comply with the new state mandates required on top of what’s required to get the federal firearms dealer license.

“[Gun dealers] may spend $20,000 on a security system for example and it might not work [for the state mandate] so they have to go spend another $20,000,” Pearson said.

* From the AG’s motion to dismiss

After a licensee submits the required materials to the State Police for certification of the federal firearms license, the State Police issues an “initial certificate of license within 30 days.” “If the [State Police] does not issue the certificate within 30 days, the licensee shall operate as if a certificate has been granted unless and until a denial is issued by the” State Police. Dealing in firearms without a certified license is a crime, and also can subject the firearms dealer to administrative sanctions. Not one of the plaintiff firearms dealers alleges that it has been subjected to any sanctions, or that the State Police has denied or prevented it from obtaining a certificate. A certification of license is valid for the term of the federal firearms license being certified.

* About those security systems

Plaintiffs challenge section 5-50 of the Act, 430 ILCS 68/5-50, which describes the type of security system that a certified licensee must have for a retail location. That section states that, by no later than January 2, 2021, “[e]ach certified licensee operating a retail location in this State must maintain a video security system and shall maintain video surveillance of critical areas of the business premises, including, but not limited to, all places where firearms in inventory are stored, handled, sold, or transferred, and each entrance and exit.” 460 ILCS 68/5-50(a). Also, “[i]f a video security system is deemed inadequate by the [State Police], the licensee shall have 30 days to correct the inadequacy. The [State Police] shall submit to the licensee a written statement describing the specific inadequacies.”

* Excerpts from the Second Amendment argument

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 592 (2008), the United States Supreme Court confirmed that “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms” are “presumptively lawful” under the Second Amendment. And in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, 786 (2010), the Court said, “[w]e made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as . . . laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. We repeat those assurances here.”

The presumption of validity of regulatory burdens on the sale of firearms is not surprising, for the Second Amendment’s “central component is the right to possess firearms for protection.” Ezell v. City of Chicago, 651 F.3d 684, 699 (7th Cir. 2011) (emphasis added). Nothing in the Complaint alleges that the Act imposes an undue burden on a citizen’s right to possess a firearm—at least, not to the extent that the Second Amendment would be concerned. Where a restriction on firearms is presumptively valid, as Heller and McDonald say is the case for regulations concerning the sale of firearms, the Second Amendment does not apply. See Teixeira v. County of Alameda, 873 F.3d 670, 690 (9th Cir. 2017) (“[T]he Second Amendment does not independently protect a proprietor’s right to sell firearms.”), certiorari denied, 138 S. Ct. 1988; United States v. Chafin, 423 Fed. Appx. 342, 344 (4th Cir. 2011) (“Indeed, although the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms, it does not necessarily give rise to a corresponding right to sell a firearm.”).

* On the challenge to the fees

To the extent Count II includes a vagueness challenge to the Act’s fee provision, 430 ILCS 68/5-70, the claim should be dismissed under section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure for failure to allege any facts suggesting that the fee provision is unconstitutionally vague.

* Ripeness

Thus, as in Conlon, plaintiffs’ vagueness challenge is not ripe because it is possible that the rulemaking process will clarify the terms that plaintiffs claim to be vague, and will moot their vagueness challenge.

Moreover, the Complaint nowhere alleges any facts showing that defendants have enforced any of the challenged provisions against any of the plaintiff firearms dealers. […]

In Count III, Plaintiffs allege that the State Police is enforcing sections 5-30, 5-55, and 5- 60 of the Act without the promulgation of administrative rules. (Ex. B, Compl., ¶¶44–52.) But as noted above, the rulemaking process is underway and, in the meantime, the Complaint does not allege that the State Police has enforced any of the provisions against any plaintiff.

The AG also maintains that the ISRA lacks standing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Pritzker, Lightfoot launch new campaign committees

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Press release…

Vote Yes For Fairness, a new ballot initiative committee working to pass the fair tax in Illinois, launched today with a mission to stand up for working and middle-class families in the fight for the fair tax. Vote Yes For Fairness believes the fair tax is the next step the state needs to continue on a path toward fiscal sustainability and success for all its residents, and will be making that case to voters in the lead up to the November 2020 election.

With the fair tax, only those making more than $250,000 a year will pay more, with the majority of Illinoisans, including our middle and working-class families, paying less.

But if the fair tax does not pass, Illinois’ structural budget deficit would have to be addressed by either cutting spending on social services by 15% or by raising income taxes on all Illinoisans by 20%. Our working families simply cannot afford either option.

“After four years of irresponsible governance and fiscal mismanagement under the Rauner administration, Illinois is finally getting back on track, but the next step toward fundamentally changing the trajectory of our state is implementing the fair tax,” said Quentin Fulks, Chairman of Vote Yes For Fairness. “The fair tax will lift the burden off of middle and lower-income families, reduce economic inequality, and generate additional funding to address our budget crisis and fund our weakened education system. Vote Yes For Fairness will be sharing that message with voters across the state, and we’re confident it will pass in November 2020.”

* Crain’s

Pritzker’s “Vote Yes for Fairness” is a ballot initiative committee helmed by Quentin Fulks, the head of his “Think Big Illinois” non-profit 501(c)(4). While it has a $0 balance, it can accept unlimited contributions in the weeks and months leading up to the election that will feature Pritkzer’s banner question over the state’s progressive income tax. Its stated purpose is “to support the proposed Graduated Income Tax Amendment to the Illinois Constitution.”

Opponents of the graduated income tax launched their own ballot initiative committee last month, called “Vote No On The Blank Check Amendment.” Crain’s reported that the group, headed by Greg Baise, the CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association who now leads Think Big opponent Ideas Illinois, planned to spend “a significant amount” to counter Pritzker. It has already begun some of its messaging, using the face of House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Ballot committee names are supposed to include words describing the question of public policy and whether the group supports or opposes the question. Those two names kinda stretches one of those requirements.

…Adding… From the new committee…

Hi Rich,

Hope your summer is going well!

I saw your post about Vote Yes For Fairness with the headline “Pritzker, Lightfoot launch campaign committees” and just wanted to reach out for clarification. Vote Yes For Fairness is not a Pritzker campaign committee. It will be advocating for the fair tax, which is obviously one of his policy objectives, but it is separate from Governor Pritzker.

Thanks!

Lara Sisselman
Communications Director

My response…

lol

ok

lol

fine

* Meanwhile

[Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s] new PAC allows her to collect maximum donations of $10,800 from individuals; $53,900 from other committees and PACs, and $21,600 from parties, unions, and corporations. Those amounts are higher than the limits for her existing campaign committee; individuals and organizations can donate to both committees. […]

Dave Mellet, Lightfoot’s political director, says the PAC “will help support the mayor as she continues to reform city government and invest in all Chicago neighborhoods. We will also support candidates who share that vision for the city.”

The new committee is called Light PAC and is chaired by Laurel Appell, the president of Better Together Chicago, a 501(c)4 which funded Lightfoot’s transition with dark money (they listed funders here).

Its treasurer is Linda Loving, who works for Chris Kennedy’s Top Box Foods. Lightfoot endorsed Kennedy in the 2018 Democratic primary, even cutting a TV ad for him in late 2017.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Planned Parenthood loses federal funding for contraception, cancer screening and STD tests

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Last Friday

Millions of low-income women could lose access to birth control and other reproductive health services when a Trump administration rule kicks in Monday night that bans funding for clinics that make abortion referrals, among other restrictions.

The new policy steers federal dollars toward anti-abortion, faith-based providers and bans all participating doctors from giving women information about obtaining abortions, which critics call a “gag rule.” Going beyond longstanding restrictions on using federal money for abortions, the rule also cuts off family planning dollars to clinics that use their own money to provide abortions. Some providers who oppose the new policy already have stopped using federal Title X family planning dollars while they await a possible federal appeals court ruling that could block it. That’s allowed Planned Parenthood, as well as states including Oregon, Washington and Illinois, to technically stay in the program without having to follow the new rule.

But that could all change in the next few days. HHS says midnight on Monday is the deadline for providers to prove they’re following the rule or be thrown out of the program and forced to forfeit grants worth tens of millions of dollars a year.

* Yesterday…

Today, August 19, 2019, The Trump-Pence administration is forcing Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) and other providers out of the national program for birth control and reproductive health care — Title X — through an unethical gag rule. Over 100,000 people in Illinois rely on Title X to access basic health care like cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, birth control, and STI testing and treatment. PPIL operates one in five Title X health centers in Illinois, and serves more than 42 percent of Title X contraceptive clients. PPIL is the only Title X provider in six counties in Central Illinois: LaSalle, Macon, McLane, Peoria, Sangamon, and Tazewell.

Community health centers throughout Illinois say there is no way they will be able to fill the gap when Planned Parenthood health centers are no longer allowed to serve these patients. This move by the Trump-Pence administration puts affordable health care out of reach for many underserved communities, with an even greater impact on communities in poverty and rural communities.

Title X subsidizes family planning and preventive services for low-income families. It grew out of federal subsidies to help low-income families obtain birth control as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1965. The current program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (Public Law 91-572), passed the Senate unanimously and the House overwhelmingly in 1970, and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

Below is a statement attributed to Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

“Planned Parenthood being forced out of the Title X program due to the unethical gag rule is a devastating blow to Illinois residents, especially in Central Illinois. In the short term, we have emergency funds to continue providing services for our patients, which is our number one priority. However, this is not a permanent solution nor is this gap in funding something that can be covered through private philanthropy.

“Illinois is a haven for reproductive health care but the Trump-Pence administration is sidestepping the choices of local residents. We will continue to fight for the rights of all Illinois residents to have access to abortion information, birth control and health care.”

* Capitol News Illinois

“The Trump administration’s gag rule is fundamentally wrong,” Pritzker said in a telephone news conference Monday. “This policy has caused a mess of confusion and uncertainty, destabilizing women’s health care nationwide and doing extraordinary harm to the lives of patients, particularly women of color.” […]

In Illinois, the state Department of Public Health typically receives about $4 million a year, which it distributes to various public health clinics in the state. Planned Parenthood of Illinois receives about another $3.5 million, while Aunt Martha’s receives about $500,000.

The money is used to pay for such services as contraception, cancer screening and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, among other things.

Since the program’s inception in 1970, federal law has prohibited recipients from using Title X money to pay for abortions. But abortion opponents have for years wanted the ban to go further by prohibiting money from going to any organization that provides abortion services or refers women to abortion providers, even if the funding for those services comes from separate sources. That’s essentially what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did earlier this year when it announced its new rule.

* Public Radio

Planned Parenthood is the sole Title X provider in Peoria, Tazewell, Sangamon, LaSalle, Macon and McLean counties. Pritzker said the agency served 70,000 people in Illinois in the last fiscal year.

Planned Parenthood officials declined to put a number on the expected financial impact on their bottom line in the Monday conference call.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to block the rule’s implementation last week as a court battle moves forward.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Hickey report released

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* From the House Democrats…

Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, in collaboration with an advisory group of women members of the House Democratic Caucus, today released – in full – an unredacted report prepared by Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor and Inspector General for Governor Rauner, detailing the findings of her independent review of the workplace culture within the Office of the Speaker and providing insight into the environment in the Capitol. In 2018, Speaker Madigan and an advisory group comprised of female members requested Hickey conduct a thorough review of prior allegations of harassment and make recommendations for improvements.

“I welcomed this independent review to better understand the workplace culture within the Office of the Speaker and to help improve the environment in the Capitol,” Madigan said. “I thank Ms. Hickey for her professionalism and commitment to this process, as well as the staff, House members, lobbyists, and others who were interviewed as part of this report.”

As part of her review, Hickey examined the operations of the Office of the Speaker, including the Office of the Clerk, and interviewed more than 100 current and former staff members, as well as members of the General Assembly and lobbyists. Those interviewed described interactions with co-workers and other individuals who are not employed by the Office, including those employed by other caucuses or elected officials, lobbyists, and members of the general public.

“I take responsibility for not doing enough previously to prevent issues in my office, and continue to believe that we, collectively, need to do more in the Capitol to improve our workplace culture and protect the women and men who work here who want to make a difference in the world,” Madigan said. “While the Office of the Speaker has taken many steps to improve and will work to adopt Ms. Hickey’s recommendations, Ms. Hickey’s report makes clear there is more to be done. As part of my full commitment to change the culture, I am ready to work with the other legislative caucuses to ensure that everyone has a safe workplace.”

Madigan said that issues with harassment in the workplace go beyond the Capitol. “This is an issue that affects all workplaces and individuals from all walks of life. We must vigilantly work to eliminate employment-related discrimination and harassment, and address workplace equality not only in the Capitol, but across Illinois.”

The members of the advisory group involved with Hickey’s selection issued a statement thanking those who participated in the review and reaffirming their commitment to change the culture. The advisory group includes Representatives Kelly Burke, Deb Conroy, Jehan Gordon-Booth, Lisa Hernandez, Camille Lilly, Theresa Mah, Natalie Manley, Ann Williams, and Kathleen Willis. Former Representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin was involved during her tenure. The advisory group will continue working with the Office of the Speaker on implementation of further reforms.

“We are grateful for those who have shared their own personal and often difficult experiences – both publicly and privately – in an effort to bring positive change to the Capitol work environment,” said Representative Ann Williams, on behalf of the group. “Each allegation made and every story told has contributed to the larger conversation, and underscores our commitment to rebuild our workplace on a foundation of respect for each and every individual. Though these findings were often difficult to read, the report further solidified our commitment to provide a professional and respectful workplace environment not just in our own House, but throughout the Capitol. As members of the House Democratic Caucus, we take responsibility, individually and collectively, to right these wrongs and ensure a safe, healthy, and respectful workplace for all who work there.”

Using criteria established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Hickey found the Capitol presents many challenges and risk factors that make harassment more likely to occur, and the report details the various challenges that employees and employers face in an environment such as the Capitol atmosphere. To combat this, Hickey recommends the Office of the Speaker should consider unique and innovative ways to address these challenges and risk factors, particularly by partnering with the other legislative caucuses, as well as other entities that interact with legislative staff. The report makes several recommendations for improvement, particularly given the unique challenges of employing a significant number of people who are young or new to the workforce.

“I commit to all of our staff, particularly those who are new to the workforce, that we will provide you with a supportive atmosphere that encourages professional growth and development, and that provides you with the necessary tools to thrive in our unique environment,” said Madigan in response to Hickey’s recommendations. “I want the Office to be a place where everyone is comfortable to bring forth allegations, knowing that they will be treated fairly and with compassion.”

In her report, Hickey found the Office of the Speaker has taken significant actions to address concerns and challenges faced by staff, and staff confirmed the environment has improved since the beginning of the #MeToo movement. Her report details actions taken by the Office of the Speaker and rank-and-file members (see pages 119-121 of the Hickey Report). A few of the key actions taken to change the environment for staff include:

    Created a Human Resources Unit and hired an Equal Employment Opportunity Officer;
    Improved the process for responding to and investigating allegations of discrimination or harassment, as well as general workplace complaints;
    Conduct frequent trainings customized to addressing the unique challenges of the legislative environment (in additional to what is required by law);
    Hold specialized training for supervisors, directors, and human resources staff;
    Convene regular meetings with supervisors and staff, both on a one-on-one basis and in group settings;
    Implemented numerous staffing changes and implemented an “open door policy” for the Chief of Staff, Human Resources personnel, and all directors;
    Revised personnel policies, with continuous staff contact so all staff know the rules and their rights; and
    Implemented additional skills training for staff to help employees become more confident in their skills and grow their career opportunities.

The Office intends to build upon the current momentum of these improvements by planning further actions, consistent with Hickey’s recommendations. For example, the Office plans to expand the Human Resources operation related to various training efforts, recruitment and onboarding processes, and general personnel management activities.

This post will be updated as I go through everything. Meanwhile, here are some documents to peruse…

* Advisory Group Statement

* Full report

…Adding… Bullying is a big problem over there

The current and former workers in the Speaker’s Office that we interviewed, however, gave varying feedback regarding inappropriate sexual conduct in the Speaker’s Office. Female workers, for example, were more likely to describe personal experiences hearing inappropriate sexual comments. More workers, however, said that they had witnessed or personally experienced what they considered to be bullying. In fact, most workers across the Speaker’s Office and across genders and positions said that they were more concerned with bullying than with inappropriate sexual conduct.

What is more, the vast majority said that they would not have reported miscon- duct under the previous Chief of Staff Timothy Mapes, for various reasons detailed in this report. In addition to serving as Chief of Staff since 1992, Mr. Mapes was also the Clerk of the House since 2011 and the Executive Director of the Demo- cratic Party of Illinois since 1998. For this reason, workers were concerned that Mr. Mapes had discretion to affect their positions, opportunities, and benefits. In some cases, people believed that they were more replaceable than the subjects of their potential complaints. People were also concerned that making complaints would reflect negatively on them. Even though we identified only a few instances when the Speaker’s Office terminated a worker’s employment, workers commonly perceived that they could lose their jobs at any time and for any or no reason.

In fact, most of the people interviewed—regardless of their views of Mr. Mapes— agreed that Mr. Mapes commonly threatened people’s jobs or reminded them that they were dispensable. People believed that Mr. Mapes attempted to motivate workers through fear and that a few other supervisors throughout the years emu- lated this practice. Some people also raised the additional concern that, given Mr. Mapes’s political ties, he could make or break their careers outside of the Speaker’s Office as well.

* And yet…

On May 21, 2018, Representative Kelly Cassidy spoke to the media regarding allegations of retaliation against her by then-Chief of Staff and Clerk of the House Timothy Mapes, Representative Robert Rita, and Speaker Michael Madigan. Specifically, Representative Cassidy alleged that the following occurred in response to her public criticisms of how the Speaker’s Office handled sexual harassment claims:

    ● Mr. Mapes attempted to intimidate Representative Cassidy by contacting her outside employer and asking if she still worked there;
    ● Representative Rita sponsored a bill that was supported by Representative Cassidy’s outside employer, and he promoted the fact that Representative Cassidy did not support the bill with the intent to affect her outside employment; and
    ● Speaker Madigan rejected a meeting with Representative Cassidy and later appeared to threaten her committee positions.

Notably, during her interview, Representative Cassidy did not allege that Mr. Mapes, Representative Rita, and Speaker Madigan conspired to retaliate against her. Instead, Representative Cassidy alleged that the culture is one in which every- one independently knows to retaliate against anyone for publicly criticizing Speaker Madigan.

As a representative, Representative Cassidy did not have the same protections against retaliation as an employee would have. Still, even if she did have these protections, we do not find sufficient evidence to conclude that there was an effort—coordinated or otherwise—to punish or silence Representative Cassidy.

The evidence against Mapes was right in front of their eyes and others backed her up…

We heard from many representatives that they would have also interpreted Mr. Mapes’s phone call to be a threat or, at least, to be unusual and warranting an explanation. Likewise, we heard from many people who worked closely with Mr. Mapes who would consider that type of threatening behavior to be in line with his typical management style.

* More…

At a press conference in Chicago, on June 6, 2018, Account Technician Sherri Gar- rett made several allegations against Timothy Mapes, who was the Chief of Staff for the Speaker’s Office, Clerk of the House, and Executive Director of the Demo- cratic Party of Illinois (DPI):

    Over the course of the last several years, I have endured and have personally witnessed bullying and repeated harassment that was often sexual and sexist in nature in my workplace. . . .
    Tim Mapes, Chief of Staff to Speaker Madigan, has made repeated inappropriate comments to me and around me, both in the office and on the House floor. . . .
    I am speaking out because victims of harassment like me, men and women alike, just want to go to work, we want to do our jobs with dignity, and we want to go home at the end of our day, but instead, we have a culture of sexism, harassment, and bullying that creates an incredibly difficult work environment.

The same day, Speaker Michael Madigan announced that, at his direction, Mr. Mapes had resigned from all of his positions.

Based on our investigation, we conclude that Mr. Mapes violated the Speaker’s Office’s Personnel Rules and Regulations with his treatment of Ms. Garrett. While we could not substantiate each one of Ms. Garrett’s interpretations of events, we found Ms. Garrett to be credible. We found that Mr. Mapes was not “courteous and efficient” with Ms. Garrett, among other workers. Most notably, Mr. Mapes discouraged Ms. Garrett from coming forward with a concern about potential sex- ual harassment by insinuating that Ms. Garrett was raising the issue only because she was jealous of the attention.

* Pretty good summation…

Most people believed that Mr. Mapes was efficient at getting things done. This appearance of efficiency was, at least in part, a product of the fear he engendered. But this fear was ultimately inefficient. Workers described that they were unable to raise concerns under Mr. Mapes’s leadership. Unless workers felt comfortable talking to Mr. Mapes directly, they would not raise concerns. Many workers said that there was no point in raising concerns to their supervisors, because they be- lieved that their supervisors had no authority and would be required to elevate issues to Mr. Mapes. Thus, many people believed that they could neither express concerns to Mr. Mapes directly nor raise concerns with their supervisors because they believed that Mr. Mapes would ultimately not take those concerns seriously.

* Ugh…

Ms. Garrett alleged that, in the late evening near the end of session in spring 2013, then-Representative Kenneth Dunkin made an unwanted sexual comment to Ms. Garrett and another female worker on the House Floor. Specifically, Ms. Garrett alleged that Representative Dunkin told Ms. Garrett and the other woman some- thing like: “I want to take you both home and see which one of you would be the naughtiest.” Ms. Garrett was very upset, but was very busy and continued work- ing. Later that night, Ms. Garrett told then-Reading Clerk John Hollman about the incident to voice her frustration with Representative Dunkin and to say that she would not let it happen again.

*** UPDATE *** Rep. Kelly Cassidy…

As stated in the report, my main goal was to make the negative actions towards me stop, and they did. Others now feel safer coming forward to share their story without fear of retaliation. I am pleased overall and particularly that the Speakers’ office chose to share the full report with the public. It is the best path forward.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


Sandoval issues another statement, but not another apology

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Sandoval succeeded in extending the story with yet another statement. Tribune

State Sen. Martin Sandoval on Monday blamed a vendor hired to provide music and entertainment at a Friday fundraiser for photos posted online showing a man pointing a fake gun used as a novelty beverage dispenser at someone wearing a mask depicting President Donald Trump.

“I had absolutely no knowledge that this regrettable exchange between one of my 1,200 guests and a third-party vendor even took place,” the Chicago Democrat said in a statement. “Those individuals involved exhibited extremely poor judgment.” […]

The person wearing the Trump mask was from Harvey-based Party District Entertainment, which has provided entertainment at previous Sandoval fundraisers. Sandoval’s campaign fund has paid the company $7,700 since 2017. The company provides costumed characters, DJs and other services for parties and events. The “gun” in the photos was a novelty beverage dispenser.

“This offensive use of a beverage dispenser was in no way part of any scheduled program,” Sandoval said in his Monday statement. “I had no knowledge of it and neither did my staff. I want to again express my deepest regret that this unfortunate incident took place at (an) event in my name.”

Just because they ask a question doesn’t mean you have to answer it, Marty.

Also, the “beverage dispenser” in question is a tequila gun.

* Sun-Times

The photos even got the attention of Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, who tweeted, “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”

And the U.S. Secret Service on Monday told the Chicago Sun-Times they are “aware” of the incident. Tim Gilroy, assistant to the special agent-in-charge of the Chicago office, said he could not comment on whether an investigation was underway, “but I can tell you that the Secret Service investigates all threats against the president, and we take them all very seriously.” […]

After a barrage of questions from reporters, Sandoval released a second statement on Monday — expressing “regret” but no apology.

“As a matter of clarification, I had absolutely no knowledge that this regrettable exchange between one of my 1,200 guests and a third-party vendor even took place. Those individuals involved exhibited extremely poor judgement,” the statement said.

* Fox News

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise asked what it would take for liberals to denounce violence against conservatives after a Democratic state senator from Illinois came under fire last weekend over pictures showing his supporters at a fundraising event taking part in a mock assassination of President Trump. […]

“I am glad he took ownership, and said he was wrong,” Scalise said.

* Another party pic to give you an idea of how wild that event can get…

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Pritzker’s Chicago office gets a facelift

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Sun-Times

The governor’s aging Chicago offices just got a $275,000 face-lift, thanks to billionaire Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“The Governor’s Office at the Thompson Center was in a very sad state of disrepair, and the Pritzkers paid personally to replace decades-old carpeting and repaint so that the space would no longer be embarrassing,” Pritzker’s spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in explaining the renovations after decades of neglect.

The stained gray carpets, some with duct tape to hold them together, are gone — at least in the offices of the governor and his staff. There’s now a dividing line between Pritzker’s staff and the offices housing Republican staffers on the 16th floor — a spiffy new blue carpet butting up against the tattered gray one. […]

In total, Pritzker spent $275,000 for carpeting, paint and ceiling tile work, all from his own deep pockets, the governor’s office said. Carpet replacement began on Aug. 12 and will continue for several weeks, the work done with union labor via C&W Building Services, Inc., the general contractor for the Thompson Center. All the renovation was done by state-approved vendors, and they in turn directly billed the Pritzkers.

* Before and after pics


That suite has needed a rehab for years. Can you imagine what it’s like when people meet with the governor to talk about investing in Illinois? Not a good look. The building won’t be sold for a while, so sprucing it up now makes sense. Also, it’s basically pocket change for this governor.

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Lightfoot wants state approval for city tax hikes

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

* Replace your communications director, go on vacation and then leak the news that you want the General Assembly to allow you to impose a service tax and a real estate transfer tax. Interesting choices

Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to ask state lawmakers to help Chicago dig out of a $1 billion hole — by empowering the city to tax high-end professional services and raise the transfer tax on big-ticket home sales [over $1 million], City Hall sources said Monday. […]

Sources said the mayor is prepared to portray those two local taxes as the only alternative to a dreaded property tax increase she wants desperately to avoid after former Mayor Rahm Emanuel doubled the city’s levy.

John Patterson, a spokesman for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), said the veto session is still two months away and it’s “premature to start speculating” on Chicago’s needs.

Patterson would say only that the Senate president is “eager to work with” Lightfoot and has “always tried to be helpful” to the city — but, he added: “These issues would be a heavy lift in Springfield.” […]

[House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said]: “I just don’t see my caucus embracing either of those two concepts…Our caucus believes that we’ve placed enough taxes and fees upon homeowners and businesses large and small throughout the state.”

I’ve asked the governor’s office for a response. I don’t think they were briefed in advance of this leak.

Also, I’m hearing that the mayor wants to lengthen the pension payment ramp. She’d need GA approval to do that as well.

*** UPDATE *** Pretty tame response from Emily Bittner at the governor’s office…

The governor is committed to creating an environment in the state where all cities can thrive, because Illinois succeeds when its cities succeed. The administration looks forward to working with stakeholders on a productive veto session for communities throughout Illinois, including Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      


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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

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PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Sherri Garrett responds to Hickey report
* Hickey wants Madigan to be more available to employees
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Mapes responds to Hickey report: "It is my position that the recent criticisms made against me do not truly appreciate the size of the responsibility of my position"
* Fun with numbers
* "Bank On" initiative signed into law
* AG attempts to dismiss lawsuit against gun dealer regulations
* Pritzker, Lightfoot launch new campaign committees
* Planned Parenthood loses federal funding for contraception, cancer screening and STD tests
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Hickey report released
* Sandoval issues another statement, but not another apology
* Pritzker's Chicago office gets a facelift
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Lightfoot wants state approval for city tax hikes
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