House Speaker Michael Madigan doesn't limit throwing around his clout to getting pay raises for pals in Metra and other state and local government agencies. Let's not forget the even more lucrative practice of rounding up government contracts for pals.
Here's a fine piece of reporting by Bob Hergurth of the Better Government Association
on an RTA contract that had been lined up for one of Madigan's buddies, but which was pulled at a marathon RTA meeting that had focused on Madigan putting the squeeze on former Metra CEO Alex Clifford for a raise on Metra employee and a promotion for another.
At that same meeting, the RTA had been set to award a consulting contract for as much as $120,000 to Compass Public Affairs LLC, a politically connected Chicago firm whose owners include Mike Noonan, a former top legislative aide to Madigan. In his bio on his firm's website, Noonan also boasts of his campaign work for the speaker's daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, saying he is "proud of his job as Lisa Madigan's campaign manager, helping Lisa become the first female Illinois attorney general."
Despite the RTA staff having recommended hiring Compass to develop a suicide-awareness and prevention program aimed at reducing the number of suicides involving commuter trains, chairman John Gates Jr. pulled the contract from the RTA board's July 17 agenda days before the meeting. He says the delay was over concerns about the contract and that it had "nothing to do with the speaker."
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