The new Chicago Police Chief (who I am coining 'New Commissioner Gordon') is rolling back vacation pay for former CPD Chief (who I am now coining RoboCop) Jody Weis. If you remember, the headlines suggested that Weis was getting hundreds of thousands of dollars for unused vacation pay. So the question I have is, what does Weis get then? He doesn't get that time? Just screwed out of it because the new guy said we're doing things differently? That doesn't seem right. Sure, vacation pay cash-out is kind of sketchy to begin with, but it was within the rules. I don't want Commissioner Gordon to come down on me for this, but bud....I call bullshit.
B story: I have to say, I like when Sneed is on vacation because they give the spot to Fran Spielman. Yesterday, Spielman wrote about OT payouts for city workers and today, she's tackling the discussion over city maternity leave. Wait. So this means that city workers right now don't get maternity leave? Wow, the more we find out about Daley, the less idyllic he becomes. In the union story, he essentially did a great little smoke and mirror deal he balanced this year's budgets on union concessions that haven't been negotiated. And the reason there is OT issues is because for the last two years, Daley made a deal with unions to take time off, instead of actual payment. That expired (conveniently) this year. That's why in the first quarter of 2011, the OT rates have skyrocketed. So Rahm has to be the bad guy. It's like when your 7th grade teacher is super lax about bathroom breaks and then the new guy (by just following the school rules) drops the hammer and suddenly, you gotta hold it.
But I have to say - Emanuel is reviewing "leave policies." I wonder if all of this is connected. That it is more of an old school vs. new school approach to managing city workers. I mean, let's be honest - the workers will get paid either way, whether it's vacation time, paid leave, overtime payouts or benefits. But there is a distinct difference between management style. Old school is much more about finding checks and balances. You get unpaid maternity leave, but you have six weeks of sick days. If the city can't afford all the overtime pay, then they just give you a million vacation days, which you cash in when you retire. So you get them anyway. The new school approach is to load all of this on the front end to avoid paying for it on the back end. So a contract that just says 'this is what you get paid.' Period. It looks like the new school is paying you more, but you are actually getting paid less.
Do I have this right?
C story: Feder has the story today that the Q101 air staff is getting booted on Thursday. This is actually fascinating and I'm going to pitch a new idea to Hollywood. Feder gets a quote from James Von Osdol, former PD and jock:
“Q101 sounds great today,” James VanOsdol, the veteran air personality who’s writing an oral history of the station’s alternative rock era, tweeted Tuesday. “Note to radio programmers: Don’t wait for a format change to let your air talent be real and play music they like.”
So what that means is that Q101 management has checked out this week and let the jocks do whatever they want. That means they can forgo the computer and actually play their faves. And guess what, it's a better radio station! Go figure. What a novel concept. Here's my pitch to Hollywood. A ragtag group of alternative rock DJs are working at a corporate radio station when the station is bought out. They are told that the station has two weeks till a format change and they all lose their jobs. The management is not paying attention to what is on the air and with this freedom, the jocks are super creative and super good. The corporate buyout deal drags on with some snags a little longer, so while that is happening, the station becomes popular and wins the ratings. At some point, they lock the doors and stage some sort of coup/sit-in and someone falls in love. I haven't figured that part out yet. I think Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Fez as the lead roles. Done. Greenlit. Give me money. Don't steal it.
D story: R. Kelly is about to lose his South Suburban mansion. Tough times. I hope he doesn't lose the Dell computer he produced this music video from:
Weather: There are still people without power. Under 200,000, but still: That's a lot of smelly fridges.
Sports: Even though there is no NFL season yet, the papers are talking biz. Neil Hayes says the Bears won't go after recently released (not from team, but from jail) WR Plaxico Burress.
Also, did you see the final play of last night's All-Star game? Konerko grounded out to Castro. Yay! We are relevant!
Health: Let's check in with Natalie Moore about her food detox diet:
Me:You still alive?
Nataliemchicago: I am still alive!
Me: We are entering Day 4 of your food detox diet. What did you have for dinner last night?
Nataliemchicago: I'm getting a little bored with dinner. I feel like I'm eating the same thing. I had a spinach salad with sliced red bell peppers. I made a dressing with olive oil and agave nectar. With sliced avocado. I would not recommend that dressing.
Me: Ugh. Do they have raw food at Portillos?
Nataliemchicago: Hmmm...raw food at Portillos? Nope. I went to a reception last night. It was late. I stayed away from the bar and buffet. Conversation only.
Me: So you are our representative socialite at the station. Is this curbing your ability to represent?
Nataliemchicago: Oh, no! I would never let my diet get away of representing WBEZ. And it was very VIP!
Me: Okay, what's for lunch today?
Nataliemchicago: Yesterday for lunch, I had raw sweet potato chips with my mango. A little like paper but much, much tastier than those raw kale chili-lime chips. Today? Papaya salad. Lots o' nuts. I have another type of kale chip but I'm not hopeful. Blackberries.
Me: Great, don't die from not eating cooked sausage today. Take care, talk tomorrow.
Kicker: And finally, if you listened to WBEZ during the pledge drive, you may have some weird sounds in the background. It was a band, recording live a new segment for the Undercover series for AV Club: