In mid-October, Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman made a special trip to Springfield to implore legislators to restore funding cuts that were aggravating an already painful budget season.
What he didn't mention to legislators was how he got there, in the literal sense. The schools chief drove himself in a 2009 Ford Escape hybrid that costs taxpayers more than $800 a month. That vehicle is in addition to the Crown Victoria that Huberman rides around in while in Chicago; the school district leases it for about $1,000 a month, not including the driver's pay. Huberman, who was appointed a year ago, makes $230,000 a year.
To understand why Huberman is given a nice leased automobile at the same time that almost everywhere else in the city's government is cutting, you need to understand just who Ron Huberman.
For the last year, Ron Huberman has been the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, taking over for Arne Duncan. For a couple years prior to that, he was CEO of the CTA. For the two years previous to that, he was Chief of Staff to the Mayor, Richard M. Daley, himself. Prior to that, he was a cop for nearly a decade. That included stints as a bicycle officer and a stint in the gang team. For reasons that are still unclear, he became the youngest Assistant Deputy Superintendent.
There's absolutely nothing, outwardly at least, that can explain this man's meteoric rise from a mid level cop to the head of the city's entire school system. Since we're in Chicago, that means there's a story there that the public clearly doesn't know. Huberman, in fact, exemplifies what the term crony means in the city but the media is too afraid to call a spade a spade and too lazy to investigate how someone can go from bike cop to CEO of the school system in ten years.
It appears our media thinks that such rises simply happen based on merit in this city. So, is it any surprise that Huberman has two nice leased rides paid for him by the city. After all, that's how cronies are taken care of here.