Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A ‘Second City’ Etiquette Faux Pas

According to Martin Oberman, “By the time people reach responsible levels of government, they should have already learned basic etiquette, and it's not something we should be spending $35,000 for.”
As the major city’s first female mayor, she wanted to create an “international image” for Chicago. Clearly, staffing her office was not Jane Byrne’s forté! – According to the Chicago Tribune, in only her first two years as mayor, she went through a staggering four police superintendents, four press secretaries, three city controllers, three budget chiefs and three planning chiefs. – Photo Chicago Tribune

New Protocol Chief in Chicago 
“Chicago's Mayor, Jane Byrne, has hired the former operator of the North Shore School of Etiquette, Noreen McBride, to fill the newly created position of director of protocol.  
The job pays $35,000 a year, and one City Alderman, Martin Oberman, yesterday called it ‘a complete waste of money.’ 
He said, ‘By the time people reach responsible levels of government, they should have already learned basic etiquette, and it's not something we should be spending $35,000 for.’ 
Not so, replied Mrs. Byrne. ‘Mrs. McBride will help coordinate the proper etiquette, dress requirements and seating arrangements at formal city ceremonies and dinners,’ she said.  
Long tagged with a ‘Second City’ label, Chicago is ‘becoming an international city and we needed someone with Mrs. McBride's background,’ said a spokesman for the Mayor.” – New York Times, Feb. 5, 1981
A Dismissed Protocol Chief Finds the Proper Etiquette  
What is the correct behavior for a government official who comes under embarrassing public criticism? According to Chicago's $35,000-a-year etiquette adviser, Noreen McBride, the answer is to resign.That, at least, is what Mrs. McBride did on Sunday following published reports that during the five years she had supposedly spent operating an etiquette school she was actually a sales-clerk in a gift shop.Mrs. McBride, whose resignation was announced by a mayoral spokesman, had been appointed to the newly created post of directors of protocol by Mayor Jane Bryne on Feb. 5. – New York Times, Feb. 17, 1981 

Mayor’s Etiquette Aide Resigns the $35,000 Job, Amidst Officials’ Outrage 
CHICAGO (AP) Noreen McBride, who was hired two weeks ago to advise Chicago’s mayor on the proper etiquette for dealing with foreign dignitaries, has resigned her $35,000-a-year job, mayor Jane Byrne says. The resignation followed published reports that Mrs McBride 36, was fired last year from her job as a sales clerk because of tardiness and absenteeism. Mrs. Byrne, whose appointment of an “Etiquette Aide” drew fire from officials who considered the job a waste of money, said Sunday from Palm Springs, where she was vacationing, that Mrs. McBride had contacted her Chief of Staff and informed him she was quitting. In a telephone interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, the mayor said she had not spoken to Mrs. McBride personally about her resignation. Mrs. McBride, whose telephone has been disconnected, could not be reached for comment. 

Mrs. McBride collected unemployment benefits for six months after she was fired from the $8,700-a-year clerk’s job, though she later said she was running an “etiquette school” from her home during that time, the Sun-Times reported Sunday. The owner of a gift shop and art gallery in suburban Oak Park, said Mrs. McBride was “a good employee” during the 11 years she worked at the shop, but “she seemed to lose interest in the job.” “She was constantly late for work,” he said. “I couldn’t tolerate it with the number of other employees I have.” He also said that neither he nor any of his employees was aware Mrs. McBride was operating an etiquette school. The appointment, announced by Mrs. Byrne on Feb. 4, touched off a storm of controversy, in part because the mayor already had two $30,000-a-year aides handling protocol duties. The mayor who wants to build an international image for Chicago, said Mrs. McBride would advise city officials on planning dinners and other special events for foreign dignitaries. - Desert Sun, 1981

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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