The Pharaoh Smites Again | Bleader

The Pharaoh Smites Again


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Over the weekend Mayor Daley announced that he was punishing yet another aide for yet another screwup uncovered not by his staff but by the press that he likes to blame for his political problems.

Fleet Management commissioner Michael Picardi has been sent to his room without supper—or pay—for the next three months, the mayor's reponse to a revelation by the Sun-Times that a contractor convicted of fraud two decades ago has since received millions of dollars to fix city vehicles.

It's the kind of swift, decisive action we've come to expect from the mayor when he's presented with evidence that the public has learned about corruption and mismanagement on his watch.

As with previous scandals and embarrassments, it doesn't mean that anything has actually been done to address the problem.

The mayor told reporters over the weekend that the situation with convicted contractor John Szybkowski is "unacceptable." He also added that "Someone should have had knowledge of this."

Apparently that someone is Picardi.

I have one quick question—and pardon me if it's a minor detail. Was Picardi actually the one responsible for enlisting or overseeing the services of the ex-con? The Sun-Times reports that Szybkowski has been getting city business at least since 1993. Picardi has headed the Department of Fleet Management since last summer. He also held the job from 2002 to 2005.

In other words, if Picardi did know what was going on—or if he didn't but should have—he's not the only one.

The mayor also told reporters, "We're still getting down to the details." It would have been nice if he'd promised they'd investigate until they found out what those details really are.

Then again, why wait for the facts? It's not necessary when you've got heads available for rolling.

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