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Proviso Probe

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stroger fires Commissioner Robert Steele's brother

Cook Count Commissioner Robert Steele voted to repeal the Todd Stroger tax increase multiple times.

Last week Steele's brother Byron Steele was fired. See Sun-Times (Carol Marin and Lisa Donovan).
Called in by his boss, James D'Amico, Byron Steele said he was told, "This is a decision from the president, it comes from on high."

There's a scene in Apollo 13 where James Lovell (played by Tom Hanks) tells Ken Mattingly (played by Gary Sinise) that he's not going to be part of the mission because he's been exposed to German Measles.

Mattingly (Sinise) asks to appeal the decision of the flight surgeon. Lovell (Hanks) says it's his call and there's no appeal.

Of course, in the previous scene Lovell (Hanks) was arguing the flight surgeon on behalf of Mattingly.

Everyone knows Lovell is lying. Lovell knows it. Mattingly knows it. And the audience knows it.

But he is preserving the notion that as the commander/boss when he makes a call, it's his call.

In a professional organization, D'Amico wouldn't blame Stroger for the firing. But--here's the rub--in a professional organization Stroger wouldn't be tinkering with hiring and firing decisions except for his immediate lieutenants.

If Stroger knew what he was doing, he'd spend his time and mental energy managing the big picture and leave the hiring and firing decisions to the actual supervisors.

Further commentary: if Stroger felt strong, he'd wait until after the February 2 election to fire people. Once he's the Democratic nominee, he can fire his enemies' friends, relatives and allies with impunity. (This is also true if he loses to another candidate.)

By firing Steele now Stroger is threatening county employees. He's telling them to support Stroger's re-election or expect to be terminated.

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