One of the most infuriating parts of Dane Placko’s “Clout Kids” series was the laughing Richard Lanyon blaming kids unaware of the summer jobs program at the Water Reclamation District – of which he is superintendent – for not “taking the opportunity” to make the right connections. You know, like being born the son or daughter of an alderman.
Here’s the text of the statement Lanyon issued in advance of the series’ airing.
Statement by Richard Lanyon, General Superintendent MWRD
As the General Superintendent of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago I am responsible for the hiring of our 2,000 employees, including our temporary relief summer workers. Every person at the District must complete a well established process of application for employment. Each person is subject to a vigorous background check and physical exam.
The District’s hiring practices are well within every established law, rule and regulation.
Our summer relief program, a long established one, is open to any one who is aware of it. We consider our summer relief worker program a community service for students wanting to consider future employment in fields relevant to District work; some examples are engineering, environmental research, and public policy and business administration.
Due to the distinctly short nature of the employment, it is not in the best interest of the taxpayer for our personnel departmentto be overwhelmed with applicants. Candidates for temporary summer work are from organizations such as Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, civic education, or community organizations.
Over the course of a 119 rotating period calendar year,we generally employ about 230people. They work in jobs suitable for their skills. They are subject to supervisory scrutiny as any employee. Of those 230 people, a very small percentage may be related to current employees or commissioners. In any case, no hirings lead to inferior employees.
In closing I would remind everyone that the main purpose of the District is to protect the environment, and the public’s health. We do this with an elected legislative body of nine Board of Commissioners who are the public face of the District and we do so with the highest integrity.