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If there was any doubt about who really runs City Hall, it was cleared up last week with the latest twist in the case of Chris Kozicki.
Kozicki is the former building department employee who testified in last year's Robert Sorich patronage corruption trial that he had altered the interview rating of the 19-year-old son of a high-ranking union official to ensure that he scored high enough to get a building inspector's job. He also testified that he got his job through his connection to his Bridgeport neighbor John Daley--Mayor Daley's brother, a Cook County commissioner, and the 11th Ward Democratic committeeman.
After he testified, Kozicki was given a newly created job in the planning department, and sometime between then and December he got a raise. Last month city inspector general David Hoffman, whose job is to root out City Hall corruption, recommended that Kozicki be fired from his $129,528-a-year job as punishment for falsifying records.
The city rejected Hoffman's recommendation, allowing Kozicki to keep his planning department job on the grounds that (I'm not making this up) firing Kozicki might deter other employees from blowing the whistle on corruption. As if immunity from federal prosecution had nothing to do with Kozicki's decision to testify. As if that weren't enough.
"We think it would send a chilling message to other employees if he was fired based on his testimony," law department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle told the Trib yesterday.
I think the real chilling message is this: don't mess with the Daleys.