The Cardinal With Kathy Posner

Last December, through the generosity and help of Tim O’Brien of Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local No. 2 and Dick’s Last Resort, I was able to provide 75 underprivileged children with brand new Huffy bikes for Christmas. This past April, Chicago firefighters joined police officers of the 18th District in a Chicken Wing eating contest that benefited the Make A Wish Foundation. So whose side do you think I am in the controversy about overtime pay for Chicago Fire Department employees?

I understand that city employees are required to take furlough days to help with the budget, but there are certain departments whose work is so crucial that it should not apply. The fire and police departments are the two most important. Really, who cares if someone from the City’s graphics department has to take a furlough day? It does not have an effect on my life or anybody else’s if some invitation for one of the many Mayor’s receptions goes out a day late. But if I had a fire, then it would matter if staff size were lower because of furlough days.

A report by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said, "The city appears to be hemorrhaging funds due to the liberal and comparatively standard less award of this ... overtime pay. Moreover, there is a direct correlation between the 2009 spike in payment of overtime and the imposition of increased furlough days.” That makes total sense. If there are more furlough days than in the previous year and not enough personnel reporting for duty, then the fire department would have to have employees who reported to work continue working on overtime. It is the opposite that would sound suspicious! Are we living in Bizzaro world?

According to the Chicago Tribune a top level city budget official told the Inspector General’s office, “"The city lost money on the (Chicago Fire Department) regarding the furlough program, because the overtime payments exceeded the savings." As a citizen of Chicago I don’t expect the Fire Department to produce revenues—unless we want to start charging people whose houses catch on fire!

I went to the web site of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas to see how much of my property taxes were credited towards fire protection and while I did not see a breakdown of my bill, I found something else very interesting.

The latest financial report from the city is for year ended December 31, 2008. On page 14 of the City of Chicago Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is the city’s organizational chart. According to this chart, the city is NOT headed by the Mayor, but by the citizens. The organization chart has CITIZENS listed in the box above the Mayor! So we are really the bosses of the city and no one has ever told us!

As one of the city’s bosses, I hereby declare that firefighters and policemen take no furlough days and overtime is provided if needed. Are you all with me? “We’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, we’re just not giving it up for f***kin’ nothing. We’re not gonna do it. And, and we can always use it.”

Editors Note: I always knew Kathy Posner was the head of Chicago. Every time I visit, shes with some Cardinal or Bishop, the Secretary Of State or Lady Shafran. And when dining, she always tells the restaurant in advance to have a napkin that matches her dress. Now how Presidential is that? Mayor Daley could learn a few things from Mayor Posner!

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Peter Shafran said…
Who is Lady Shafran?
James Edstrom said…