Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a paragon of blue-state success, was to the manor born. His father, also Michael Madigan, was “in the aristocracy of the city government,” a ward superintendent, per Chicago Tribune’s James Doherty in May of 1949 in his story, “A HALF HUNDRED IMPORTANT MEN –WHO THEY ARE: WARD SUPERINTENDENTS HAVE JOB SECURITY.”
These jobs may not be “political plums,” wrote Doherty, but “are the next thing to it,” he heard from other city employees. Ward superintendents “help keep the city clean” but they do not “push brooms” or “drive refuse trucks.” Rather, they “give orders” to those who do.
As civil service employees, they have job security, with pensions that allow retirement at $2,800 a year, are considered “men of influence” in the city hierarchy but “attract little attention. Their work is not spectacular, they get little publicity.”
Doherty listed them. Pay was $387 a month. “Several are on leave to take higher-paying jobs with the city or county.” The most senior of them had been on the job 40 years.
The elder Madigan was not high on seniority. To qualify, there was an examination, the last of which had been offered eleven years earlier, in June of 1938. The list which Doherty gave of those who passed was one that had been posted Dec. 1, 1939. So Madigan had passed the examination in 1938. He was to hold the position for 25 years, to 1963.
The family lived in a tidy bungalow belt house at 7146 S. Campbell, in the 13th Ward.
— more more more of work in progress about Speaker Madigan —