This summer, Alderman Joe Moore of the 49th ward was under investigation after he was accused of firing a whistle-blower and giving members of his staff taxpayer-funded severance pay.
The whistleblower was former employee Anne Sullivan, who told FBI agents that political campaign work, including sending letters involved with political campaigning, was being done in the ward office. Sullivan worked in the ward office from 2006 to 2009, according to wbez.org.
Moore provided a severance of $8,709 and told Sullivan not speak to anyone about the activities at the ward office, according to a report by Chicago’s Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan. Terminated employees can cash out unused vacation days, but according to Kahn, city code does not allow severance. The report goes on to say that Moore fired his chief of staff and provided 81 days worth of severance.
Moore declined an interview with the PHOENIX, but forwarded a letter “sent to his constituents in regards to the accusations by Faisal Khan,” said Betsy Vandercook, Moore’s chief of staff, in an emailed statement. In the letter, Moore denies the claims made against him, writing that Kahn’s investigation was “one-sided” and that the allegations were “groundless” and “without factual or legal support.”
The severance pay “was both fair and proper to [the former employees], as well as to the taxpayers, to provide them additional paid time to find new jobs, especially in tough economic times,” according to Moore.
Moore said that Khan did not question him or any of his staff. He said that if Khan had done so, they “would have told him that [the] decision to terminate Ms. Sullivan was made for cause, and on the recommendation of [Moore’s] chief-of-staff based on many incidents of insubordination and other misconduct.”
The investigation will go on to Chicago’s Board of Ethics, according to WBEZ.