Emanuel: It Would Cost Too Much To Fire Thieves - What's Wrong With This Picture?

Emanuel: It Would Cost Too Much To Fire Thieves - What's Wrong With This Picture?

The Chicago Fire Department's Fire Prevention Bureau has had a long history of corruption. Even after the last organizational breakdown in 2007 forced firefighters to use GPS enabled cellphones to monitor their whereabouts and keep them honest it appears that 54 firefighters couldn't have cared less about the new measures and decided they were going to continue padding their mileage expenses anyhow.

Naturally when Inspector General Joe Ferguson discovered that the department's arrogant culture of corruption just wasn't getting any better - he recommended that the 54 firefighters (half the staff) be terminated and the remaining members be absorbed by the Chicago Building Department. The only problem, though, is that Mayor Rahm Emanuel for all his tough-talking about rooting out city corruption has decided it would be too expensive to fire them because of the Chicago Fire Department's Union appeal process.

Hmm - okay? I understand that union employees have a right to appeal their terminations, however when they are accused of theft and have been caught red-handed - there shouldn't be an appeals process! I mean, what in the hell is wrong with that picture anyhow? There are certain conditions where employees should not ever be given the right to appeal under their contracts and theft is certainly one of those.

Don't get me wrong here either. I am not anti-union, however at the same token they shouldn't have the right to steal from you and then spit in their employers face either. There has to be some common sense applied to what is a legitimate and protected union right. Besides, employees have the right to sue on their own if they feel they have been terminated without cause. Hell they can even file a grievance with the National Labor Board.

But hey - good luck trying to convince a judge or arbitrator that their rights have been violated after being caught with their hands in the till.

You know it is bad enough that taxpayers are being victimized by the patronage culture which in many cases get these yo-yo's hired in the first place. I am sorry, I just can't feel sorry for those who abuse the very system that has given them an exceptional living wage and benefits that most people would be happy with - especially in today's economic climate.

Unfortunately this is the way things are done around here. As I have said a number of times, patronage and corruption exacts a much larger toll than most people realize. The very idea that the whole corrupt system is protected is enough to make respectable people gag. If Rahm Emanuel thinks that the cost is too great to terminate than what in the hell does he think the cost will be by keeping these crooks on the payroll? Does he really think that they will stop this shit? Well not if you are going to slap them on the hand!

It would seem to me that as sharp as a tack that Emanuel is -

he knows how to fire these jerks without any excuses.


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  • Given the consistent pattern of department heads not following the Inspector General (cf. a post I had to that effect under 500 Words) and arbitrators generally overruling discipline imposed by the departments, I can see from where Emanuel is coming.

    However, various news outlets are varying in emphasis from "Emanuel isn't going to do anything" to "Emanuel isn't going to tolerate this, but will go through the proper procedures to impose discipline." I guess we'll have to see which happens.

    Of course, if Emanuel really wanted to spend political capital, he could press for a law that notwithstanding any public employee collective bargaining agreement, an employee caught stealing is subject to dismissal. However, notwithstanding that, since it is a public employer, the Fourteenth Amendment still requires due process. That's probably why the laws saying that a public official loses his pension depend on conviction and sentencing, not just being accused.

    BTW, that reminds me that the Blago trial would have been much more interesting if the feds put defendants in cages, like the Egyptians did to Murbarak.

  • In reply to jack:

    Have no problem with due process - like I said there are other ways to achieve it. I don't care if it is public or private - union rules cannot protect outright theft and these guys admitted to it.

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