July 19, 2011 08:26 AM
Fired City Worker Ends Up on County Payroll
In 2010 a top Chicago Animal Care and Control administrator was suspended for working a second job on city time. He was later fired for other reasons. But he wasn't off the public payroll for long.
By Robert Herguth/BGA and Dane Placko/FOX Chicago
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CHICAGO—Former Chicago Animal Care and Control administrator Mark Rosenthal is proving that cats and managers really do have nine lives.
Rosenthal was suspended from his job as a top administrator at Chicago's Animal Care and Control department after it was discovered he was working a second job on city time.
The Inspector General found that in 2010, Rosenthal would go to his second job managing skyboxes for the Chicago Bears. The Inspector General recommended that he be suspended for 30 days; he was suspended for ten, then fired for other reasons.
But he wasn't off the public payroll for long.
Last month he landed a $92,000-per-year job at Cook County's Animal and Rabies control—that's nearly $20,000 more than when he was fired by the city.
Dr. Donna Alexander says she hired Rosenthal because of his broad experience in animal sciences, including nearly 30 years at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
"He brought to Cook County a level of expertise and experience in wildlife and general animal control abilities that we had not seen in any of the other candidates," Alexander said.
Alexander says she knew about Rosenthal's double-dipping when she hired him at Cook County.
"I think that they were magnified to the point where these isolated incidents did not take precedence over the experience and expertise that he brings to the job," she said.
Last month, FOX Chicago News and the BGA found another top county job going to a worker with inspector-general issues: John O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan was canned for time card fraud after an investigation at Stroger Hospital. He won back his job on appeal, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle recently appointed O'Sullivan to a top position at the Cook County Forest Preserve.
"It would be nice to try to hire people who hadn't violated the public trust somewhere else, to the extent they were suspended and then fired," said Andy Shaw, executive director of the Better Government Association. "It'd be nice to think you'd find someone with a cleaner work record who needed the job and hadn't squandered a similar opportunity before."
This story was reported and written by Robert Herguth, the BGA’s editor of investigations. Contact us with tips, suggestions and at (312) 821-9030, or at email@example.com. Homepage image for this story courtesy juggernautco/Flickr.