- Chicago Police Officer Kevin W. Graham once picketed with the Fraternal Order of Police carrying a sign that called for ending the residency requirement for Chicago cops: “If the city wants to save money, lift residency requirement,” it read.
In 2013, he and his wife sold their split-level house in Edgebrook on the city’s Northwest Side — and bought a more expensive four-bedroom house in Lincolnshire, about 25 miles outside the city limits in Lake County.
Now, Graham wants to head the city’s largest police union, aiming to unseat FOP President Dean Angelo in a high-profile runoff that ends March 29.
And even though Graham has a suburban address, he insists he’s renting his sister’s Chicago condo, living there in full compliance with police department rules.
So is this a big deal? We can name 20 coppers right now who moved their families out of the city for assorted reasons and who maintain residences in two locations with relatives, friends or co-workers. It's nothing hundreds of our readers haven't advocated, attempted and accomplished in one form or another. Shortshanks, Rahm, Prickwrinkle, their henchmen, schools, tax policies, etc have made it undesirable (and less affordable) to reside in the city and county. And if you have a working spouse who makes decent coin, it makes economic sense, too. Coppers have won this in court. Hell, Rahm established "residency" with a wedding dress he hadn't worn in years.
So it's time to evaluate this election, not on the dirty tricks, but on the realities we see on the ground:
- Dean is the invisible president. That isn't good in the upcoming negotiations;
- Dean gave away too much - duty availability for the youngsters, tuition reimbursement limits. And asking for vehicles in a labor contract?
- The failure to advocate heavily for the casino. The unilateral extension of the pension bailout, giving Rahm hundreds of millions to spend on pet projects. Unforced errors that jeopardize an already broken system;
- Dean is mandatory retirement age this year. That means in addition to the 9 of 17 trustees being retired (and a tenth retiring this year), 2 of 3 sergeants-at-arms retired, the Recording secretary retired and Dean about to retire, 13 of 27 elected spots will be retirees, and not a single one of them can have a hand in the upcoming negotiations. How is that representative of the active membership?
That isn't to say we don't have questions about Graham:
- His roll in the Shields debacle that cost the membership legal fees and a payout;
- The end of his tenure with the state lodge under unexplained circumstances;
- The sale of his Edgebrook property to Rahm's retired sergeant uncle - that sort of thing isn't coincidence;
- His close relationship with Donahue, Dougherty and Aguilar. Two of those three shouldn't be anywhere near an inside spot ever again due to negligence, incompetence and an inability to focus on their actual job - to protect the membership and the Contract. And the other one endorsed Rahm.
We'd like to see one of the candidates confirm that those we elected are those that will serve in the office. Failing that, we're going to end up falling back on our previous advice - Patrol before Detective, active before retiree - and we'll push hard for amendments that allow the elected representatives to serve those that elected them.
Labels: elections, FOP