City Bans Relative Hiring on Secret Payroll

Current hires would be grandfathered and allowed to keep jobs

By BJ Lutz
|  Thursday, Feb 11, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 AM CDT
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The city's governing body on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved an ordinance that closes a loophole that allowed Chicago aldermen to hire family members and have their salaries paid by a secret fund.

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The city's governing body on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved an ordinance that closes a loophole that allowed Chicago aldermen to hire family members and have their salaries paid by a secret fund.

The Chicago Tribune reports that aldermen voted 33-5 for the measure.

The newspaper in November reported on the taxpayer-funded account, a $1.3 million fund controlled by the City Council's Finance Committee.  Several aldermen used that fund -- which is on top of the $73, 280 per year they're allotted for staffing and expenses -- to put additional people on the city's payroll.

At the time, Ald. George Cardenas (12th), said the work his father did to earn $13 per hour was necessary.

"He does a lot of things -- a lot of things in the community that people have no idea about," Cardenas told the Trib last fall.

Ald. Bernard Stone (5oth) was the sole legislator to speak against the measure on Wednesday.

He said the ordinance was "absolutely ridiculous" and would preclude someone from getting a job "because of the mere fact that they happen to be a relative of an alderman."

Relatives already working and paid for out of the Finance Committee's account would be grandfathered and allowed to keep their jobs.

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