CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has hired two friends at salaries costing CPS six figures. Their job is to assist in the firing of hundreds of central office employees including several who are instrumental in supervising special education.
Csontos was hired in September to work in the human resources department. She is paid $160,000 a year for a newly created job CPS calls “Executive Director of Change Management” overseeing “major initiatives on professional and organizational effectiveness.”
As CPS geared up to lay off hundreds of administrators Friday, Rubin notified department leaders how many staffers they had to let go, and even in some cases, who, sources told the Sun-Times.
Two hundred and twenty-seven people lost their jobs Friday, and another 180 vacant positions were eliminated.
In a prepared statement, he defended these two hires, saying he needed “the strongest team assembled” to turn around the financially beleaguered district.
“I believe we have that team in place right now at CPS,” he said. “Throughout my career, I’ve relied on talented professionals with proven track records. No agency faces greater challenges than CPS. That’s why I’ve hired managers instrumental in two other complex government turnarounds, the Chicago Park District and CTA.
Reached by telephone, Rubin declined to comment. “I want to have communications handle this. Thank you,” she said before hanging up.
Csontos did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Rubin submitted one of six bids to CPS, hers for $65,000, Bittner said. Two others came in at $44,400 and $21,408 but CPS chose to hire the services using a procurement process that does not require the district to select the lowest price. Bittner would not say who specifically opted for that process.
CPS cited the women’s stints at the CTA and Park District as a plus, saying that Rubin has advised public and private sector clients about reorganizations.
And Csontos has “years of experience in organizational and professional development, particularly in organizational human capital and youth-based initiatives,” according to the district.
Her husband also does consulting work for CPS in auditing and accounting, but Bittner said it has nothing to do with the layoffs. She said the firm employing him, Crowe Horwath, worked with the district for many years. She cited his “decades of experience” working with government agencies, including as a CPS board member.
But the parent group Raise Your Hand questioned the relationships.
“That doesn’t sit well,” the group’s Jennie Biggs said. “That’s probably two people’s jobs that got laid off, to lay off more people. It just doesn’t seem like a good use of your resources. You would think you have those people already in place.”
Meaning, they don’t have somebody working in the CPS central office now that fires people?
Isn’t that called HR?
Or is Claypool hiring these people to fire the people in HR who fire people?