Basham, Madigan bolster Human Resource staffing to change “Capitol Culture”
House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and new chief of staff Jessica Basham announced they will begin conducting a thorough search to hire a human resources director and an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer to promote a fair, equitable, and unbiased work environment for the 200 employees of the Speaker’s office and advise supervisors and oversee investigations related to discrimination and harassment.
These hirings are a direct result of conversations with lawmakers and staff. Acting in consultation with the Speaker, Basham is already meeting with lawmakers and staff and will conduct regular meetings with groups of legislators and staff to update them on the office’s efforts to continue changing the culture within the Capitol. Meetings will be conducted throughout the summer to maintain an ongoing dialogue and solicit additional ideas.
In addition to the hiring of a human resources director and an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer, Basham and Madigan are considering numerous additional steps to change the culture in the Capitol, including:
- Conducting performance reviews on all current directors and supervisors, which will include input from staff.
- Requiring all directors and supervisors, including the chief of staff, to participate in new management training programs this summer.
- Meeting with staff members within the Speaker’s office to solicit suggestions for changes to personnel policies and manuals. These policies and manuals will subsequently be updated, based on the feedback received.
- Creating a confidential process for employees to anonymously register complaints or make suggestions.
- Researching the availability of additional harassment prevention training which all staff would undergo on a continuing basis.
- Reviewing and revamping the organizational structure of the House Democratic Staff and Speaker’s Office, in order to incorporate suggestions from staff and members and bring transparency to the roles and functions of staff.
Basham and Madigan will continue to consider additional steps based on the outcome of these conversations.
Candidates interested in the human resources manager position or equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer should send a resume and cover letter to:
Office of the Speaker, Attn: Jessica Basham, 300 State House, Springfield, IL 62706
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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