-George Schmidt is a retired Chicago teacher and publisher of Substance.
This “just doing her job” argument is a poor one, and has only arisen over the past twenty years or so as public bodies have shifted their version of reality from the old public model to the “Chief Executive Officer” model. At the same time, instead of advising their clients that some law is bad law and that the governmental body should NOT be doing certain litigations, at this point in history the Lisa Madigans of the world are doing the same as their corporate cousins: ruthless defense of their clients’ positions at all costs.
Our position at substancenews.net give us some perspective, since we’ve been covering these “beats” for 40 years (January begins our 40th year). For most of that time in Chicago’s public schools, the Board lawyers would advise the Board (and the “Superintendent”, which is what we had before we mindlessly went corporate and got a “CEO”) that a certain course of action was clearly illegal and should not be pursued. I was involved in a few examples of this back in the 1980s and early 1990s. At a certain point in a litigation (or a grievance) the Board’s lawyers stopped the Board from wasting money on nonsense (like Lisa Madigan’s appeal in the SB1 case right now). “Just doing her job” is a corporate bit of bullshit. He job is to advise the state (in this case the Governor and leaders of the General Assembly who made these mistakes) that their idea of the law is wrong and they should stop wasting public money on these appeals.
“Just doing me [her] job” became an infamous excuse more than 60 years ago in a vastly larger context, but it applies all the way down the line. She should instead of “just doing her job” just say NO and explain why