Who is CPS's 'Million Dollar Man'?... Rahm Emanuel and Jean-Claude Brizard vow to continue breaking Illinois law... Of course they do, we're paying for their lawyers to the tune of more than $1 million since January 1, 2011!

The arrogant response of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard to the unanimous decision of the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) that the Chicago Board of Education has been violating Illinois law in its pursuit of contract waivers in favor of Emanuel's drive for a "Longer School Day" is now a matter of record. Despite the double-talk, the legal body representing the State of Illinois has held that the Chicago Board of Education has been breaking Illinois law since Brizard and the Board's lawyers began the drive to coerce or bribe teachers into waiving the current union contract in August 2011. The drive began directly after nearly six months of propaganda claims by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that Chicago had the shortest school day in the USA (claims that were refuted on-by-one, only to be repeated, sometimes in modified form, by the mayor a few days later; the mayor also always neglected to mention the high schools...).

The Chicago Board of Education's Million Dollar Man, Attorney James Franczek, salutes Substance during the Board's June 15, 2011, special meeting. At that meeting, with Franczek's advice, the Board voted to refuse to pay the fifth year of the contracts with its eight labor unions. Three months earlier, in March 2011, the Board had voted to pay Franczek $520,000 for his legal work (he is not an employee of the Board, but "outside counsel"). A month after telling the public (on Franczek's advice) that it was broke, the Board voted to pay Franczek another $600,000, bringing his total pay from CPS during 2011 to $1,120,000. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.But by October 21, 2011, the day after the ruling that Chicago was an outlaw, Chicago's school leaders — the mayor and the head of the schools — vowed to continue breaking the law.

What they left out is that they will be breaking the law at the expense of the taxpayers.

The attorney who has been representing and advising the Chicago Board of Education in all of its illegal attacks on the Chicago Teachers Union for the past decade (or more) is James Franczek, of the firm of Franczek Radelet in Chicago. Franczek does not work for the Chicago Board of Education directly, although the Board has more than 70 people, most of them lawyers, working in its Law Department. In fact, the Board's Law Department is so large that it takes up the entire seventh floor of CPS headquarters at 125 S. Clark St.

But the main lawyers for CPS in the ULP case, Franczek, is an outside contractor who works for the Board, but has other business as well.

Since January 1, 2011 CPS has voted to pay Franczek $1,120,000 for the legal work he's been doing. At the March 2011 meeting of the Board of Education, the Board voted without discussion or debate to approve a payment of $520,000 to Franczek. That Board Report came from the Board's Attorney, Patrick Rocks, and was approved by the then CEO (Terry Mazany) and the then seven members of the Board of Education.

In June 2011, Mayor Emanuel appointed a new school board and a new CEO for CPS. The first thing that the new members of the Board did was vote that they were too broke financially to pay contractual raises owed to the workers in CPS who are represented by the eight labor unions representing CPS workers. According to the Board, at a special meeting held on June 15, 2011, CPS faced a "fiscal emergency" and would be unable to reasonably fund the raises due in the fifth year of the five-year contract.

CPS attorney James Franczek (above, second from right, looking down) represented the Board at the IELRB hearing on October 20, 2011. After the IELRB voted unanimously that CPS had engaged in an unfair labor practice in the waiver and "Longer School Day" fight, Franczek told the press that the fight wasn't over. Within a few hours, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard announced they would continue the legal fight — and continue adding to Franczek's legal fees, which by October 2011 had already surpassed $1 million for 2011. Substance photo by John Kugler. A month later, on July 27, 2011, the supposedly cash-strapped Board of Education voted to pay Franczek another $600,000.


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