Basham, Madigan bolster Human Resource staffing to change “Capitol Culture”

Basham, Madigan bolster Human Resource staffing to change “Capitol Culture”

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.

Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

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