No Illinois drivers license or voter registration, but the power to destroy thousands of Chicago lives! Illinois officials confirm that Barbara Byrd Bennett is not an Illinois resident.... 'To have effective rule enforcement, people have to be treated the same' (CPS Inspector General James Sullivan)

While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked Board of Education work to destroy an additional 53 of the city's public schools (and disrupt dozens of others in the process), Emanuel's top team members continue to illegally hold their jobs at Chicago Public Schools. The illegality becomes clear when the public considers the requirement that CPS workers live in Chicago, a longstanding residency rule that is enforced dramatically every year against teachers, principals and other workers. A different rule is enforced against children who attend the city's public schools while living outside the city.

Cozette from the first edition of "Les Miserables." From 1789 to Occupy and the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, the same themes continue. The pursuit of mere teachers and children who violate Chicago's draconian residency rules by Chicago's Javert, Inspector General James Sullivan, has been noted in the face of the hypocrisy of the Emanuel administration ignoring the violations of the law by Emanuel's appointees. Despite attempts by Emanuel and his Hollywood allies to develop a Hollywood script -- RAHM THE MAGNIFICENT? -- to further his push towards being the presidential candidate of the "one percent," in the years of Occupy and the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 ("Red -- a world about to dawn..."), Emanuel's side is Javert's, not Victor Hugo's. While the Inspector General of Chicago Public Schools, James Sullivan, pursues teachers and students who violate the Board of Education's residency rules with the fanaticism of Javert pursuing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, the number of Chicago public school executives from out of town who aren't even bothering to unpack their bags grows.

Foremost among these is the latest quarter-million-dollar-a-year "Chief Executive Officer" of CPS, Barbara Byrd Bennett. As reported earlier in Substance, Byrd Bennet really lives in Ohio. Further investigation shows that since she arrived at CPS in March 2012, she hasn't even bothered to try and establish legal residency in Illinois or Chicago, as the law requires for others.

The growing group of out-of-town executives who are violating the residency rule since Rahm Emanuel took over the schools also includes "Chief Administrative Officer" Tim Cawley. Cawley was granted a one-year waiver in 2011 (over the objections of the Inspector General) so that he could continue living in Winnetka (ironically where Rahm Emanuel attended high school).

The Inspector General, it must be noted in fairness, has not ignored the violations of the residency rule at the top of the CPS administration.

In the 2012 IG report, Sullivan stated: "Following up on an issue that came to light in FY 11, the OIG this year recommended (Page 29) that the Board rescind two residency waivers, one an actual waiver [Cawley's] granted by the Board and the other a constructive waiver based on a failure to enforce the Residency Policy to avoid negative publicity. The waivers, especially the Board-granted waiver to a high-ranking administrator, sent a message throughout CPS that the Board was willing to treat certain employees preferentially, making it extremely difficult to enforce its longstanding Residency Policy. To date, unfortunately, the residency waivers are still in effect."

In the continuing investigation by Substance News into Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett's violations of the law, it has now been independently confirmed by two State agencies that the CEO Byrd-Bennett is neither an Illinois resident nor a Chicago Resident as per State and Chicago residency laws.

Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley was granted an official waiver of the residency rule so he could continue living in the posh suburb of Winnetka when he was hired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011. A year later, when the waiver expired, the Board of Education didn't even bother to renew Cawley's waiver, since other top CPS officials appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel had also been violating the law which is strictly enforced for mere teachers and students. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.As days pass, the evidence is growing at the blatant disregard for State law that the current Chicago Board of Education is operating under. The Board is violating not only its own polices but also State law that requires Chicago government employees to be residents of Chicago. In an earlier article, Substance reported that Byrd Bennett lives in Ohio.

Additional investigations also show that she hasn't even bothered to pretend to become an Illinois resident.

Substance News requested in a March 26, 2013 Freedom of Information Request of the Illinois Secretary of State for all records for anyone named Barbara Byrd-Bennett. The Secretary State is the agency that issues drivers licenses and official identification cards for residents of Illinois. After an initial request which was later narrowed with some more specific information the agency responded that it had no records for anyone named Barbara Byrd-Bennett in the State of Illinois.

"The Secretary of State Department of Drivers Services has informed me that they have researched our files based on the information you provided and are unable to locate any individual by the name of Barbara Byrd-Bennett. The Department informs me that they searched various combinations of Ms. Byrd-Bennett's name and are unable to locate any records related to a Barbara Byrd Bennett ... Given this, we have no choice but to deny your request for the driving records of Barbara Byrd Bennett as there are no records in our files that comply with your request," Donna M. Leonard, Executive Counsel, Illinois Secretary of State email response April 2, 2013.

Like many people who believe they are superior to others (and believe they are great poker players), Barbara Byrd Bennett has what serious poker players call a "tell." When she's lying, or repeating from one of her many well rehearsed but mendacious scripts, whether in Cleveland, Detroit, or Chicago, the current "Chief Executive Officer" of the nation's third largest school system licks her lips quickly and nervously. Above, during her impassioned denunciation of those who call her massive school closing attack on the public schools of Black Chicago "racist," Byrd Bennett displayed her tell. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt. Substance News requested in a March 26, 2013 Freedom of Information Request of the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago for the Voter Registration record(s) and Voter History for Barbara Byrd Bennett for all elections (Primary and General) since 2010. These records which are public for anyone to access would show if Byrd-Bennett was a registered voter in Chicago, hence a Chicago resident. The time line is important since there have there was a Presidential election last November 4, 2012 Months after Byrd-Bennett was working as an employee for the Chicago Public Schools

"We have done a complete search of the records in the Board's possession, and are not able to locate records that respond to your request. If you can provide any additional information regarding the individual in question, we can conduct an additional search," replied Joan Agnew, FOIA Officer for the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago on April 4, 2013.

This is now the second of top official in the Chicago Public Schools that is currently in violation of the residency requirements. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigates residency violations that ultimately lead to termination of Chicago Public Schools employment for anyone that is not a Chicago resident. In late October 2012 the OIG found that the Chicago Board of Education was violating its own residency policy and State Law by continuing to allow Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley to live in Winnetka, IL a suburb of Chicago. The Chicago Tribune quoted Inspector General James Sullivan saying that the actions of the Board of Education were undermining the integrity of the entire system to uniformly enforce rules and policies.

The second page of the FY 2012 report of Chicago Public Schools Inspector General James Sullivan (above) shows that, once again, the largest number of investigations conducted by the IG came as a result of alleged "residency violations" -- 276 out of the 1,651 investigations (nearly 17 percent) during the 2011 - 2012 school year were for "residency." But a growing number of CPS executives, almost all of whom have been hired from out of town since Rahm Emanuel began his control over the Chicago Board of Education in May 2011, are receiving lucrative "relocation feels" and then refusing to relocate to Chicago in any legal sense. Barbara Byrd Bennett's legal residence is in Solon, Ohio, outside Cleveland, and as of April 2013 she had made no effort to establish Chicago residency."We will have to evaluate whether we can continue to investigate residency allegations if doing so would cause there to be additional appeals, grievances, litigation concerning the propriety of dismissing someone else for a residency violation when one of the heads of the organization has been given what appears to be preferential treatment," Sullivan said. "To have effective rule enforcement, people have to be treated the same."

The current lawbreaking by the Board of Education is not unprecedented but the blatant disregard for the rule of law reminds one of the Dissenting Opinion of Justice Brandeis in the 1928 Olmstead v. United States court case, "Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For the good or for ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law, it invites every man to become a law unto himself, it invites anarchy." (277 U.S. 438)