Allegretti Whiffs On First Attempt To Knock Ethics Out Of The Park (Ridge)


It was less than a month ago that the City’s ethics ordinance – which was enacted to prevent (or at least deter) unscrupulous public officials from cashing in on their public officeholding – received a unanimous and unceremonious stab in the back from the City Council when the it voted not to prosecute former mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark.

Of course, we never expected that Frimark would actually be prosecuted for what the City Attorney correctly found to be an ethics violation: Frimark’s effort to rake in the commissions from selling insurance for the Uptown condominium development to which the City is obligated to contribute some of the premium.  With a Council majority composed of five of Frimark’s former Alderpuppets who contributed a total of almost $4,000 to Frimark’s unsuccessful re-election campaign, we figured that was five votes against prosecution right there.

But we were surprised to see the ethics ordinance kicked to the curb by Mayor Dave Schmidt who, after instigating the City Attorney’s investigation and prosecution recommendation, subjected Frimark to a 2-hour “show trial” – and even argued in support of the City Attorney’s findings of a violation – before stating that he would not vote for prosecution. 

And at last night’s Committee of the Whole (“COW”) meeting Frimark’s lap-dog and principal ethics-probe defender, Alderpuppet Jim Allegretti (4th Ward), did his best to get the Council to support a nuking of the ethics ordinance’s 2-year restriction on former public officials representing parties in doing business with the City, along with making it easier for the Council to quash future ethics investigations.    

Allegretti went so far as to have the City Attorney – without prior Council approval – draft revisions to the ethics ordinance [pdf] according to Allegretti’s dictates, which ran him afoul of fellow Alderpuppet Rich DiPietro (2nd Ward), albeit only on procedural grounds because Richie D didn’t like Allegretti’s chewing up City Attorney time.

Whether Allegretti’s attempt to neuter the ethics ordinance are as successful as his efforts to neuter the Planning & Zoning Commission (“P&Z”) remain to be seen.  In addition to DiPietro’s procedural objection, only Ald. Frank Wsol (7th Ward) and Ald. Robert Ryan (5th Ward) spoke against changing the 2-year restriction, so we have no idea where Ald. Don Bach (3rd Ward) and Ald. Tom Carey (6th Ward) – or the missing Ald. Joe Sweeney – are on the issue.

Given all the ethically-challenged public officials who inhabit the governments of the City of Daley, the County of Crook, and the State of Corruption, there is no reason to think that Park Ridge government possesses some unique kind of immunity from grafters and schemers.   So the last thing the honest and decent residents of this community need is to see its already modest ethical restrictions watered down.

But Allegretti can be a determined guy, as we saw with the way he was able to get his Council allies to stiff-arm P&Z in favor of the billboard people.  And with the Alderpuppets still dominating the Council it’s not like getting a simple majority is all that tough for Jimmy A. 

We can’t help but wonder, however, whether the guy who can’t seem to stop whining about how much work it is to be an alderman for that measly $100/month stipend is already making moves in preparation for life after his Council term is up in 2011.  

16 comments so far

that was GREAT to watch some of them stand up to Allegretti and his b.s. rewrite, especially how he wanted to remove the two-year after office provision. WHY? Because he’s got something up his sleeve.
When the other aldermen were questioning him, it was almost like you could see his explanation that he did this because Frimark told him to. This man cannot think on his own.

How much longer with him? I don’t think he will be running again.

Allegretti couldn’t look anyone in the eye last night as he hemmed and hawed his way through his reasonning for the changes to the ethics ordinance.
It was good to see not one single other person in the room speak in favor of getting rid of the 2 year wait… and Ryan actually spoke in favor of extending it!
Yeah, Allegretti was trying to set himself and some of the other Aldermen up for being able to be an agent, broker or lawyer(!) and to represent clients in fron tof the council.

I give Wsol some credit for saying what Allegretti should have known… you ran for office (you are NOT a volunter!), you knew/know about the ethics ordinance and it is part of the sacrifice you made as a part of being in the position of authority you are in within the community.

Allegretti… if you have such a problem with you duties as an Alderman and the $100 per month you get for it, quit now and start the clock ticking on your two years!!!!

You got to give the guy credit. With all the headlines on Blagoevich, Stroeger and Ryan this may be the one and only elected body in the State of Illinois even considering watering down ethics ordinances.

So he’s not perfect, but I believe the first person to speak up against watering down the ethics ordinance was the mayor. It was after that when the other aldermen chimed in.

We haven’t conducted a thorough search of our archives, but we cannot recall ever giving Allegretti credit for anything. Dis-credit, certainly.

But blind squirrel theory being what it is, he might accidentally stumble into something worthy of credit at some point.

Jimmy A making some moves. Sounds like a wiseguy movie. Baddabing.

Anonymous 4:49 pm,

Not perfect? You are being too kind to the mayor. Speaking up on the ethics ordinance first is some kind of accomplishment in your mind? Sure, let’s throw a parade for the mayor because he spoke up first on the ethics ordinance.

What do you think we should do for the mayor the next time he abdicates enforcing the ethics ordinance like he did a couple weeks ago?

move on, 5:14.

It’s not being too kind to say Schmidt is “not perfect”. No doubt he f*cked up on the Frimark / ethic ordinance vote and it would be good if he simply admitted it instead of trying to rationalize it. And IF he does something like it again I guess that might begin to start a pattern of ill-advised behavior; as it is, for those of us who supported him, maybe we can chaulk his vote up to a one-off act of stupidity and really poor political instincts.

I’d give him some minor credit for quickly speaking out against Allegretti’s move to weaken the ethics ordinance… but frankly that is simply what should be expected of him so it should be no big deal.

Here’s an interesting obsevation. Hock was quoted in the Herald Advocate as saying the topic of the ethics ordinance would come up for discussion again in January. I was at the meeting… watch the video… and tell me, do you hear anyone move to push the discusson to January or any future meeting? Don’t think so. After Allegretti took his beat down the discussion simply died. So why is Hock saying that the discussion will continue at a future meeting.

Hock / Allegretti… two peas in a pod??

anon on 11.25.09 6:14 am

“Move on” was a favorite Frimark saying, but used only when the subject was not one to his liking. Which is not surprising, since it seems to be a favorite saying of all politicians when confronted with bothersome things.

it’s also a way of telling you to shut up.

everyone needs to move forward. Dwelling on all this is not beneficial for any of us.

11.25.09 9:24 am

“Dwelling” on stupidity and corruption are very beneficial if they wake up the sheep (a/k/a the public) to what’s wrong and gets them to start paying attention. If the media and the U.S. Attorney’s office hadn’t “dwelled” on Ryan’s and Blago’s corruption, one of those scumbags would still be our governor.


Ya just gotta love the consistency in politics!! If Frimark did anything questionable or that most who come here disagree with the MO was beat the hell out of him. If an Alderman does something questionable it is beat the hell out of them. I both of the above examples it is “NEVER FORGET”. These issues are brought up all the time. As an example how about the “almost $4000 dollars” that is brought up here all the time. Yet when it comes to Schmidt the answer is move on. The problem is you hold “your guy” to a different set of standards. If the tables had been turned I would guess you would be calling for Frimark’s head yet Schmidt gets a “let’s move on”.

Frimark’s and the Alderpuppets’ actions speak louder than any of our critical words.  And, yes, almost $4,000 is significant when it’s contributed by a majority of the current sitting members of the City Council against the campaign of the current mayor with whom they are expected to work for the public’s benefit.

But as we have amply demonstrated since the Frimark fiasco on November 2, we are equally willing and able to hold Schmidt’s feet to the fire even when he simply screws up – without trying to line his pockets, like Mr. Frimark.

My comment was not aimed at you. It was aimed at the poster. What bothered me is the “move on” poster. To me, one of the most important ideas behind the blogs is to hold our elected officials responsible regardless of affiliation. It happens at all levels. The electorate is willing to let those the voted for get away with the same things they used against theri opponent during the election. Until that stops they are going to just keep playing us.

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