Another inspector for the city of Chicago was sentenced to 21 months in prison last Friday. Thomas Ziroli was a ventilation inspector for the city of Chicago's Department of Buildings. A federal jury convicted Ziroli of bribery in March 2010 for accepting a $500 cash bribe to allow a ventilation inspection in a residential building to pass.
The fact that Mr. Ziroli was a City of Chicago building inspector that was convicted of a felony is not surprising considering Ziroli is one of 12 city employees who have been convicted since 2008 of accepting bribes from developers and contractors. We don't bat an eyelash to these convictions anymore. Mr. Ziroli's conviction was reported in a small blurb on page 5 of Saturday's Chicago Tribune.
What is surprising is that Mr. Ziroli was not be taken off the city's payroll until sometime this week. Mr. Ziroli earns $91,000.00 annually working for the city of Chicago. He has earned that amount for years since it was first alleged that he used his position with the city to engage in a felony and nearly a full six months after being convicted of that felonious conduct.
The city of Chicago has a $652 million budget deficit. Although firing all of the people being prosecuted for engaging in official misconduct like bribery while on the clock will not make a significant dent in the deficit, it is another example of money that our city government wastes. From the date of his conviction until sentencing, the government paid Mr. Ziroli over $40,000.00. That's $40,000.00 paid to a convicted felon.
I estimate hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid to Mr. Ziroli while he was being prosecuted by the federal government. I have an idea Mr. Mayor: let's start not paying city employees who are convicted felons. In this case, you would have saved city coffers at least $40,000.00. Once you've mastered how to NOT pay convicted felons, let's move on to NOT paying people being prosecuted by the federal government for using their city position for personal gain... you know, for things like bribery. If the union contract doesn't allow the great Mayor Daley to fire felons, then Don't. Sign. The. Contract.
In any place other than Chicago (and New Orleans) this would not have to be pointed out.