Writer Ron Litke Questions the Hiring Practice at City Hall
In his 20 years as mayor, Richard Daley has had more chiefs of staff than the Cubs have had managers and than the Bears have had starting quarterbacks – possibly even more than Octomom has children. Most observers put the current count at between twelve and fifteen, though nobody is really sure. And besides, that number could change tomorrow. Keep your résumé current.
If you're looking for a job, it's reasonable to think of Daley's chief of staff as a perennial opportunity. And after you're discarded you're sure to land a better job somewhere -- even if you're not really qualified for it.
The current chief of staff, Raymond Orozco, is the former director of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, and before that, the city's fire commissioner. His appointment last month actually made sense because, these days, City Hall seems to be on fire constantly, rhetorically speaking. His predecessor, Paul Volpe – who had the job for about a year – was deposed for the parking meter fiasco…and he was considered the city's finance expert. Lucky for us he is now working his wizardry as the budget director for the CTA. It would have been more poetic if Volpe went to work for investment bank Morgan Stanley, which coordinated the fleecing of the city in the parking deal. But neither Morgan nor Stanley apparently have a sense of comic irony. Or it's that they don't want to lose money.
Volpe replaced Ron Huberman, who was first pulled from the police force to City Hall and then sent to run the CTA despite transportation experience that probably peaked at driving a car; his supposedly distinguished leadership then made him Daley's choice as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, for which he likely has even less pertinent experience. Only Daley knows why; but it doesn't matter since he doesn't need to ask anyone else's approval.
Going by this scale of onward failure, I think myself quite capable of running a city agency into the ground, or at least into unsustainable debt. Plus, I'm available. And I have the requisite experience, at least in the way of Oscar Wilde's Mr. Dumby, in Lady Windemere's Fan: as he says in Act Three, “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”
And I've made plenty. So let's talk salary and benefits. You know, I wouldn't mind a car.