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Proviso Probe

Sunday, September 24, 2006

KLEPT, shady hiring in county government

Sun-Times (Scott Fornek) has a catchy lead to an article with little new information.
It hasn't hit the mosquito abatement districts and library boards -- yet.

Consider Proviso Township. What cases will the feds prosecute? What fish are too small to bother?

Sun-Times (Abdon M. Pallasch) has an article that details some of the cronyism in Cook County government.

The department's $76,000-a-year director of financial control, Noreen Lanahan, helped arrange a $15,000-a-year contract for Maria Vnenkova, who cleans Lanahan's house every Friday. Lanahan said the contract pays Vnenkova to work three days a week at the county's Oak Forest Hospital preparing documents to be scanned by pulling out staples, etc.

The Sun-Times interviewed Vnenkova through a professional interpreter and she said she cleaned Lanahan's house every Friday and was paid by personal check with Lanahan's name on it.

"I don't work for any department," Vnenkova said. "I clean homes -- hers and others."

Lanahan said she had no objection to releasing copies of Vnenkova's contract with the county and her time sheets to show she worked there every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. County officials later released time sheets which appear to show Vnenkova's supervisor, Barbara Lakomiak, signing off on her working eight hours a day, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Lakomiak seconded Lanahan's account of Vnenkova having a legitimate contract job with the county. That was on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Asked if Vnenkova was working that day, Lakomiak said she had called in sick.

What if Vnenkova is telling the truth about only getting the personal check from Lanahan? Who is cashing the county check?

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