Senate questions Mendoza about employee on city do-not-hire list

SHARE Senate questions Mendoza about employee on city do-not-hire list

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza spoke to the City Club of Chicago in March. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza on Tuesday told an Illinois Senate committee she was unaware that one of her employees is listed on the city of Chicago’s do-not-hire list.

The questioning prompted Mendoza’s office to later launch an attack on Gov. Bruce Rauner and his “surrogates,” saying they should be “ashamed for attacking a decorated firefighter.”

Patrick Haynes is a former 42nd Ward Department of Streets and Sanitation superintendent who resigned in lieu of being discharged on July 30, 2013, according to Haynes’ termination records obtained by the Sun-Times. He’s now employed with the comptroller’s office, listed as “staff administration” and is paid $70,000 a year, according to the comptroller’s website.

Asked about Haynes at one of the Senate’s budgeting committees’ hearings, Mendoza said Haynes “has a great deal of experience working for the City of Chicago, both in the Department of Planning and Development, also as a ward superintendent in the city of Chicago, I believe, for the 42nd Ward which is downtown Chicago.” Mendoza called him “my hire.”

Mendoza and Rauner’s administration have been at war since she took office in December after defeating Rauner’s hand-picked candidate Leslie Munger. And Munger, whom Rauner appointed as a $138,000 a year deputy governor, has used her new pulpit to publicly criticize Mendoza.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, a Rauner ally, asked Mendoza whether she knew Haynes resigned in lieu of discharge.

“He resigned, but I’m not sure what you mean in lieu of discharge. Those are political appointees. I’m not sure you are aware how that works in the City of Chicago,” Mendoza said. “He’s also a former fireman and he is serving as a prevailing wage officer with our department as well. So his credentials are pretty impeccable.”

“He did resign in lieu of discharge with the city,” Rose, R-Champaign, said.

“I think there were some politics involved in that but there’s not a single issue of bad performance that you’ll find with Mr. Haynes,” Mendoza said.

Rose asked Mendoza whether she knew he’s on the do-not-hire list, noting an inspector general’s office recommended termination for a Streets and Sanitation employee with the same title for falsifying tickets.

“I’m not familiar with that,” Mendoza said, later adding that she would “look into it.”

Mendoza spokesman Abdon Pallasch on Tuesday evening said Haynes “found himself caught in a political tussle between an alderman and the mayor’s office.”

“Pat Haynes is a highly decorated Chicago Firefighter, serving in the line of duty for 14 years. He also worked for the Department of Planning, generating significant revenue for the City of Chicago,” Pallasch said in a statement. “Governor Rauner and his surrogates should be ashamed for attacking a decorated firefighter on this day of all days when we recognize the firefighters who have died in the line of duty. We respect Pat Haynes’ decision to resign as ward superintendent when he found himself caught in a political tussle between an alderman and the mayor’s office.”

Mendoza’s office also provided the Sun-Times with copies of awards Haynes received while a firefighter, including unit performance awards for fires battled in 1998, 1990, 1993, 1997; and an honorable mention in 1990.

The do-not-hire list includes former employees from the city and other agencies of local government who have either been fired for misconduct or left their government jobs to avoid allegations subsequently deemed credible.

The inspector general’s report, which does not publicly list names, said a supervisory employee issued sanitation code tickets with pictures taken on days other than those cited in the tickets. The dates included days when the employee was off duty. The October 2013 report found 25 such tickets and recommended that the department terminate the employee and deem the employee ineligible for rehire.

City employees resign in lieu of discharge after being served with charges or after having been informed by the city in a formal disciplinary setting that the employee will be terminated, according to the city’s “ineligible for rehire criteria.”

Employees who are terminated or discharged from city employment are made ineligible for rehire based on a series of factors, including conviction of a criminal offense, adjudication of guilty, rendition of a civil judgment or a finding by the city’s Inspector General in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain or performing a governmental transaction or governmental contract, among other issues.

Haynes’ salary at the time of his resignation with the city was $88,812. He started working for the city in 1974 as a laborer in the Department of Streets and Sanitation and became ward superintendent in July 2009, records show.

Haynes is listed as a contact in a Rolodex kept by former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s former patronage director Robert Sorich. That Rolodex filled with 300 names and telephone numbers was seized by FBI agents in 2005 in a raid on Sorich’s City Hall office. Sorich was sentenced to four years in prison for rigging city hiring.

According to his employment history with the city, Haynes is also on “duty disability” and is listed as an inactive firefighter with the Chicago Fire Department. He was listed in the city’s human resources records as being a firefighter between 1986 and 2000 — although he was on disability in 2000 and again in 2013. That disability status is listed as “current.”

Ald. Reilly did not respond to a request for comment.

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