Riverdale mayor accused of doing village work while on state clock
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield bureau chief firstname.lastname@example.org October 4, 2012 1:42PM
Riverdale Mayor Deyon Dean
Updated: November 6, 2012 6:25AM
SPRINGFIELD — The state’s top ethics watchdog accused a south suburban mayor Thursday of misconduct after a multi-year probe found he spent “hundreds of hours” doing city business while purportedly on the state time clock in a $73,896-a-year human services job.
The alleged wrongdoing by Riverdale Mayor Deyon L. Dean was so “brazen” that state Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza recommended last summer that he be fired from his post as associate director of the Department of Human Services’ Division of Community Health and Prevention.
Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration began the process to fire him in August, but Dean resigned before he was terminated.
“Mr. Dean told investigators that he worked ‘24/7’ on behalf of the state and Riverdale. While it is unclear how much work for the state Mr. Dean performed on any given day, what is clear is he systematically abused state time and resources to conduct Riverdale business on state time,” Meza concluded in his report.
“In simple terms, this investigation concerned a full-time state employee who saw nothing wrong with placing his conflicting personal interests and his interests as mayor of Riverdale above the interests of the state of Illinois,” the inspector general wrote.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Dean denied wrongdoing and criticized “overzealous” investigative techniques by Meza’s office.
“Meza’s personal attack on me is incorrect. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus, like I was thrown under the bus, but he came to me in a way that was very overzealous,” Dean said. “He didn’t want to look at all the facts. He wanted to pin me as a person who wasn’t doing the job.”
Dean said his employee evaluations within the agency always were acceptable or above and said he was “disheartened” that Quinn’s office wouldn’t step in to defend him, particularly given the past political support Dean said he has given the governor.
“I’ve reached out to people in his office to talk this issue through and see how we could resolve it. But I never got a response back from him,” Dean said, referring to Quinn’s office. “I supported him. I’m disheartened to not be able to speak with someone in his office to make clear what was going on.”
Dean was faulted by Meza for attending “weekly Riverdale management meetings while on state time” and spending “the equivalent of weeks at a time talking on his personal and Riverdale cellular telephones while on state time.”
Dean said any management meetings would occur before his state workday started and any Riverdale-related calls that would come in on his personal phone during the state workday he’d respond to after hours.
“Never during work hours did I conduct Riverdale business,” Dean said.
State investigators also found that Dean used his DHS email extensively on mayoral business and prohibited political activity. Those included receiving campaign emails from “Obama for America,” former state Rep. Constance Howard (D-Chicago), former GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Meza wrote.
As a DHS supervisor, Dean exempted himself from agency rules requiring that he inform his supervisor about his whereabouts, record his appointments on a shared calendar and get clearance to “work away” from his state office, Meza’s report alleged.
“As a result, his superiors could not determine when he showed up for work, whether he was away from his DHS office working on state matters, or, as this investigation revealed, whether he was instead conducting Riverdale business on state time,” Meza wrote.
State investigators said Dean’s behavior was so “brazen” that he continued to “engage in misconduct” after having been twice interviewed by Meza’s office in 2010 and 2011.
State hiring records show that Dean, who was elected Riverdale’s $35,000-a-year mayor in 2009, was hired under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration in 2003.
A secret hiring database maintained by Blagojevich’s office indicated Dean got his state job, in part, through help from William Mologousis, whose hiring clout under Blagojevich was the subject of a 2009 Chicago Sun-Times report.
Mologousis was a Blagojevich donor and owner of a Cicero company that was awarded a $522,000 contract to power wash state bridges, building facades, expressway tunnels and salt storage domes.
Dean said he would not know Mologousis “if he walked in front of me right now. Dean said he complied with all state hiring rules to get his former job.