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Stroger's newest hire was fired from city job
Allegedly ordered water crews to do private work

Thursday, October 14, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan and Fran Spielman

The Daley administration fired him earlier this year amid allegations he dispatched city water crews to do repair work on private property, but Tommie Talley has returned to government work -- this time for lame-duck Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

On Tuesday, Talley began working as a $90,000 a year administrative analyst in the county's highway department, said Marcel Bright, a Stroger spokesman.

Details about his job duties weren't available, but Talley does serve in a position exempt from the court-ordered ban on political hiring and firing, Bright said.

That means he serves at the will of the board president.

"This individual never should have been hired because of his past with the city. We are not here to collect bad apples," said Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, a Democrat.

Suffredin also questions whether Stroger has the right to hire someone to a Shakman-exempt job after attorneys recently accused the Stroger administration of violating a federal court order curbing political hiring and firing.

Talley served as the $127,824 a year deputy commissioner in the city's Water Management Department until the beginning of the year, when he was fired for allegedly ordering city crews to work on three jobs on private property.

In the 2006 trial that culminated in the conviction of Mayor Daley's ex-patronage chief Robert Sorich, Talley was named in testimony as helping rig city hiring, but he was never charged.

In 2005, he was suspended for 15 days for failing to exercise proper supervision over employees accused of participating in a payroll scam.

Talley has long-standing ties to mayoral brother and Cook County Commissioner John Daley's 11th Ward Regular Democratic Organization.

Reached Wednesday, John Daley said: "I had nothing to do with his hiring -- the first time I heard about it was from you."

Asked whether Stroger would comment on the criticism of Talley's hiring, his spokesman Bright said: "He doesn't comment on every hire."

A call to Talley's home wasn't returned.

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