Thursday, March 13, 2008
Personal Aside: That Stupid Eliot Spitzer--He Didnt Understand the Chicago Way.
Any city Democratic politician could tell you that this guy Eliot Spitzer is a klutz.
He comes from a disadvantaged background of Princeton undergrad, Harvard Law where he received a J. D., jobs at two white shoe Manhattan law firms.
Consider: no matter how rich he is and beholden to his old mans mega millions he had no business whatsoever in using his own money to buy sexual favors from courtesans. Switching his money to various bank accounts. How amateurish.
If he had a responsible public job in Chicagoor state--government he could have been able to find achieve Spitzers goal by hiring an attractive young lady for a six figure job.
Of course the job could be eliminated at any time when government budget-cutters decide to save expenses.
You mean to tell me that Spitzer never thought of this?
Of course not. He was a rich mans kid.
Here is a legendary true case , a classic in city history.
More than a generation ago a reform-minded public official took a top city departmental job and resolved to break with the past. He would handle hiring without favoritism.
He sent out the word that clerical staff need not be hired on recommendations from the party committeemen. The Shakman provisions would have to be adhered to .meaning that the clerksmostly women in the beginning typist grade level being filledwould have to be told that (a) they were not being hired because of any political work they did for the incumbent and (b) they would not be fired because they refused to do political work for the incumbent.
If committeeman wanted to submit potential hires, they couldbut they would receive no favoritism.
Notwithstanding the disincentive, one West Side committeeman scoured his ward energetically and sent a group of young women to be interviewed for city clerical tasks. Since he decided he could not discriminate AGAINST a committeeman who resolved to act fairly, the department head accepted them. But he insisted on personally addressing them to stipulate the rules of reform.
To be sure that EVERYONE understood the canons of reform, the new department head read the complex provisions of Shakman, the consent decree that invalidated political rewards or penalties in governmental hiring (or so it was assumed then).
He stressed no political ties accrued to them either in their being hired or being let go. Employment specialists, benefit experts were on hand to answer questions.
Then he asked if anybody had any questions. Questions about anything: possibly about job descriptions and duties? Working hours, benefits, things like that?
Questions were slow in coming. Then one.
One young lady raised her hand shyly and was promptly recognized.
She asked this question:
Does this mean that we dont gots to keep on [scatological term for dating] and she named the committeeman any more?
That was a long-long time ago.
Now after the patronage hubbub and Patrick Fitzgeralds probing, we have some semblance of reform in Chicago hiring.
Nothing like that going on, is there?
Naw, of course not. This is Chicago.