Andrea Saenz and Robert Boik, both outsiders, now sit in the office of the 'Chief of Staff'... CPS cutting teachers, but can always use a couple of $165,000-per-year 'Chief of Staff' persons

CPS may be cutting teachers in the city's real public schools (and adding $76 million to the city's unreal charter schools), but there is no limit to how many underqualified and overpaid executives Jean-Claude Brizard will have at the top while the budget is debated by the public. As long as Chicago's corporate media reports the story line that CPS is (again, for the 20th time in 20 years) "cutting administration" CPS officials are OK with the way the story is being told.

Andrea Saenz (above center) was one of the dozens of highly paid CPS officials who attended the July 11, 2012 budget hearings at Malcolm X College. Saenz has supposedly left the Board, where she had served as "Chief of Staff" at $165,000 for less than a year, in March 2012. After observing her at the budget hearings, Substance discovered that he departure had never taken place, and that CPS officials had simply changed her job title to "Officer" in the Office of the Chief of Staff at the same salary ($165,000 per year) so that CPS could add a Detroit Broad person (Robert Boik) to the top executive ranks with the title of "Chief of Staff." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.But why, the public may ask, has CPS added a "Chief of Staff" (from Detroit) to the office of the "Chief of Staff" along side the "Chief of Staff" who supposedly left the $165,000 a year job (but didn't)?

Recently, CPS added a "Chief of Staff" to a "Chief of Staff" it already had simply by changing the job title of one of them to something else. Andrea Saenz, who had been "Chief of Staff" for a year, "left" and became "Office," while a Detroit guy named Bob Boik became "Chief of Staff" (both are currently being paid $165,000 per year).

So as Chicago was debating the austerity budget Chicago's teachers and students were facing, some may have been comforted to know that the hypocrisy at the top went on. As of July 11, when the CPS budget was discussed at Malcolm X College, Andrea Saenz was still being paid $165,000, even though her job title was not longer "Chief of Staff," while the new guy, Robert Boik, was now "Chief of Staff" at another $165,000. Both are listed in current CPS documents as working in the office called "Chief of Staff." A couple of months ago, CPS announced that some of the early members of the Jean-Claude Brizard management "team" were leaving CPS. These included Jamiko Rose and Andrea Saenz. Rose had been head of "Family and Community Engagement" (FACE) and Saenz had been "Chief of Staff." Within a few weeks, Rose was gone and a guy named Hampton was appointed by the Board to replace her. Saenz was supposedly gone, too. After announcing the departure of Saenz as "Chief of Staff," CPS on March 28, 2012 (Board Report 12-0328-EX22) voted to hire Detroiter Robert Boik as its new "Chief of Staff." In addition to approving a "base salary" of $165,000 per year to Boik, the Board also voted to pay him an additional $12,000 for "relocation and transition expenses incurred by him in connection with his acceptance of this position." At the time he was hired, Boik was working in Detroit. As usual, the Board members voted to approve the Board Report without discussion or debate, adding to the dollars the Board had been paying for "relocation" expenses since Jean-Claude Brizard was hired in June 2011 (and paid $35,000 to move to Chicago from Rochester, New York). The introduction of "relocation and transition" expenses for Chicago publlc schools officials is one of the many innovations that Rahm Emanuel Board took during the months it was claiming a "fiscal crisis" (which required the suspension of the four percent contractual raise in June 2011 to unionized CPS workers) and (later) the "deficit" (which the Board continues to claim as the discussion of the FY 2013 budget continues). The Board Report hiring Boik was not on the original agenda for the March 28 Board meeting (it is a personnel matter and exempt under the Open Meetings Act) but is available at the Board's Website under the Action Agenda (which includes all actions taken) from that meeting.

Andrea Saenz has been appointed "Chief of Staff" by a vote of the Board members on June 22, 2011, but the Board Report appointing her (Board Report 11-0622-EX10) appointed her retroactively to May 17, 2011, at an annual "base salary" of $165,000, and with "relocation and transition expenses" of $7,500. No where has the Board explained why Saenz received a lower amount of "relocation and transition" expenses than Boik.

Yet Saenz, who had supposedly left CPS in March 2012, was still sitting at the July 11, 2012 budge hearing, along with other CPS officials. When this reporter tried to ask her what she was doing there, she left the room quickly without acknowledging the question or attempting to answer it. A subsequent check of CPS payroll records revealed that Saenz left but never left. In the June 2012 Position File, which was obtained by a Substance reporter under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Saenz is now listed as "Officer" in the Office of the Chief of Staff at an annual salary of $165,000. Boik is now listed a "Chief of Staff" at an annual salary of $165,000 per year.

CPS has never explained why it has been expanding the office of "Chief of Staff" since corporate school reform came into Chicago in the 1990s. For a time, the Chief Executive Officer had his own "Chief of Staff." Then the "Office of the Chief of Staff" became a separate office, while several top executives began competing to have their own chiefs of staff. At no time has any member of the Board of Education discussed this expensive proliferation of executive positions and salaries in public.


July 15, 2012 at 6:31 PM

By: Dan Schiessl

Chiefs of staff

It just goes to show AGAIN how corrupt our current mayor and his cronies at CPS and the Board of Dread are!

August 2, 2012 at 9:58 AM

By: Laura R. Yurick

Chiefs of Staff

Why would they pay Ms. Saenz a moving expenses benefit? Did she move from May to June and then back again? Was she outside of the district before and then need to be moved to Chicago? Do administrators have to live in the City of Chicago, by the way, like the teachers do?

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