Getting close to more elections

Will Unions be the deciding factor in the Aldermadic run offs?Based on his union's polling and the February results, Morrison predicts at least five aldermen should start cleaning out their desks: Madeline Haithcock (2nd), Dorothy Tillman (3rd), Shirley Coleman (16th), Ted Matlak (32nd) and Bernard Stone (50th).

Tillman did not respond to requests for an interview, but the others all dismissed Morrison's predictions -- some with a thumb to the nose.

"Bring it on. Bring it on," Coleman said. "Their money bought the first election, but it's not going to buy this one."

Stone said: "They can stuff their polls because everything I show is exactly the opposite."

FBI inquiries give county officials reason to sweat

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times

"I'm happy to talk to you," said Paula Perkins, "but the FBI just called and are on the way over. I'll have to hang up when they arrive."

FBI? On the way over?

Now that's the kind of statement that commands my full attention.

I called Perkins about 3:30 Friday afternoon because I'd learned about a letter she wrote. It was sent last week to all 17 commissioners of Cook County as well as to County Board President Todd Stroger's chief of staff, Lance Tyson, and county Inspector General Joseph Price.

Perkins, 39, is a single mom and a 19-year veteran of Cook County government where she worked as an administrative assistant in the Contract Compliance Department making about $64,000 a year. Her job was to certify that minority- and women- owned companies were, in fact, really run by minorities or women before being awarded big, fat county contracts. In other words, her job was to determine which businesses were on the up and up, not just fronts for a bunch of white guys masquerading as minorities.

Perkins is now out of a job.

She held one of those Shakman-exempt positions, meaning she served at the pleasure of the president and could be fired at will.

How did she get that job in the first place? "I didn't have any political backing," she told me. "Nineteen years ago, I came off the street . . . was given a typing test, and I've been there ever since." But at the end of January, shortly after Stroger took office, Perkins says she was called in by her boss, Betty Hancock Perry, head of Contract Compliance, and Kim David Gilmore, head of Human Resources, and was terminated.

Was she a bad employee?

Perkins contends that on her last performance report, she scored in the "high 90s."

Was she a budget cut?

It doesn't seem so.

Right after Perkins lost her job, somebody else got it. Her replacement reportedly hailed from the 8th Ward, the home ward and political base of Stroger and of his father before him, former County Board President John Stroger. Then, within just the past few weeks, that person reportedly was moved out.

Perkins' letter to the commissioners said that in the week before her discharge, she had a private conversation with Gilmore to tell him about "things going on in Contract Compliance that could prove unlawful regarding Ms. Perry" and another member of that department.

Hancock Perry declined to comment. Reached by telephone, Gilmore said that he had "looked into what she [Perkins] was accusing them of. And basically she was rehashing stuff that had already been worked out and for which Ms. Hancock Perry had already been disciplined . . . [it] had been addressed by the inspector general and the president already."

What did Perkins' boss do to get "disciplined"? Could he tell me?

"No, no, I wouldn't get into that now," said Gilmore, "not without an assistant state's attorney on the phone telling me I could go ahead and speak about her." And then he added, "Maybe I shouldn't have used the word 'discipline.' "

Maybe not, but something apparently happened.

Why was Perkins fired? "I can't answer that," said Gilmore, adding, "I've heard a lot of hearsay but I don't think it would be fair for me to repeat it."

Was the fired Perkins, perhaps, on to something? Could that be why the FBI, which likes to work 9-to-5 whenever possible, raced from their downtown Chicago office on a Friday afternoon in heavy traffic to Perkins' house in the south suburb of Dolton?

They made pretty good time, too.

"Oh, that might be the FBI," said Perkins at 4:17 p.m., hearing someone at the door.

She hung up. I waited. At 5:20 p.m. she called back.

"There were two FBI agents," Perkins said. And they spent an hour talking about "her work."

I have no idea if Perkins told the FBI anything they didn't already know. But the speed with which they arrived makes one thing pretty clear.

The heat is still very much on.

"They're over here everywhere," acknowledged Gilmore, who is new to his job and who says he has spoken with the feds about matters unrelated to issues raised by Perkins.

We know there are ongoing federal probes involving the handing out of county contracts and hiring.

Since last summer, we know the government has either raided or subpoenaed documents from the county highway department, the medical examiner's office, the forest preserve district and the county hospital.

And now, most recently, we know they've taken a little trip to Dolton.

If I were a county official right now, especially one in a position to hire or fire, I think I'd be very careful.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Morrison is a goofball. Morrison tries to take create for anything and everything.

    He missed the mark more then he hit.

    Thank God that folks at the CFL refuse to listen to him.
    Streeterville Steve said...
    Goofball! Well that is high praise for Jerry. I attended a fundraiser for an Aldermanic candidate back in February, in which several aldermanic candidates from other wards were in attendance, as well as a state Senator, and two county commissioners. Not a one held him in any regard. Most thought him to be slow on the up-take and lacking any real skill in politics.

    "If it wasn't for a checkbook, no one would go near Jerry Morrison".

    And my favorite, "Jerry is a lot of talk in the wind, no one listens to him, they only laugh at him".

    I thought it was funny how some of the winning candidates have cut and run on Morrison. In the end Daley wins, even if his candidates are not elected. The new Aldermen will do as they are told.
    No friend of Daley said...
    Thanks Steve for sending me this blog.

    Goofball? No, Jerry is worst then a goofball. Goofballs are silly and hapless.

    I have seen better political operatives come out of the Chicago GOP organization, and that's not saying too much.

    Has anyone bothered to look at the campaign disclosure reports filed by SEIU on behalf of their endorsed candidates? Looks like SEIU either over paid for what they got or padded their "in-kind" reports.

    If they over paid, way to watch out for the union dues your members pay Jerry.

    If they padded the "in-kinds", better watch out - wire fraud is against the law, and as "in-kinds" are done on-line, the wire fraud statues apply Jerry.

    Maybe SEIU should call the up Jerry Roper and ask how the chamber was able to protect their candidates against Morrison efforts, for a lot less.
    Anonymous said...
    I have seen little girls that punch harder than Jerry Morrison.

    SP Biloxi said...
    The story of Perkins being fired and replaced sounds like the U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins firing and Griffin as Cummins' replacement.
    Anonymous said...
    You guys better be careful about bad mouthing Jerry Morrison. U get him mad, he will hit u with his purse.
    Third Generation Chicago Native said...
    This next election will be interesting for runoffs. In the end we will see how much influence Jerry really has.
    KittyBowTie said...
    CYA 101 Lesson for the Toddler: Don't mess with people who might know something about the corruption. I hope she sues for wrongful termination, too.
    Anonymous said...
    I can't beleive I missed this discussion. I wonder if Streeterville Steve talked to and candidates SEIU supported. Probably not important tho, as Steve's friends were probably defeated. SEIU has juice, hoping this is your last term Team Daley

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