Judge ends monitoring of city patronage hiring

A federal judge ruled today the city of Chicago has substantially eliminated illegal political hiring.

It took 42 years, but now the city is released from the costly “Shakman Decree.”

The judge declared the city has done what it needed to do more than 40 years after  a court order banned the consideration of politics in most hiring, firing, promotions and discipline.

Mayor Emanuel testified in today’s hearing and made it clear that patronage will not be tolerated. Releasing the city from the costly “Shakman Decree” has been an administration goal since the mayor’s campaign.

“It’s a significant milestone for the city of Chicago that reflects all the work up until this point. I do believe we have to earn the trust of the public every day going forward,” he said. “This is a day in which what you know matters more than who you now when it comes to employment.”

The Shakman Accord has cost the city close to $23 million dollars since 2005 when oversight was increased after four Daley administration officials were charged with rigging city hiring to reward Daley loyals.

Cooperation with the office of the city inspector general and a modernized human resources department influenced today’s decision.

However not every one agrees the city has done its part.

21 filed objections to lifting the accord, and eight testified in court today, including Patrick McDonough, a plumber in the city’s water department.

“One gentleman worked on a garbage truck for years and got a promotion to protect water supply and he was the only one who was interviewed and given the opportunity for the position,” McDonough said.

But the attorney who first filed this case in 1969 agrees the city is in substantial compliance. Michael Shakman says Chicago can now self-police and has demonstrated it has the will to do so.

 

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