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Boss Politics As Usual

By Margaret Lyons in News on Oct 4, 2004 7:39PM

2004_10_4.daley.jpgA Chicago Tribune article on patronage within Mayor Daley's administration reported on Sunday that "Organizations, unions still hold sway for city jobs." Yeah, we know, duh.

But what caught our attention was a statement that straddled the jump from the front page of the Metro section to page five. It said, "The current flap over city hiring practices comes as Daley is battling in court to overturn a 21-year-old decree prohibiting political hiring of employees."

That decree is the 1983 Shakman decree stemming from the landmark 1969 lawsuit filed by Michael Shakman against the Cook County Democratic Organization, et al. A decision on the case was handed down in 1972 prohibiting hiring and firing of non-policy-making city employees for political reasons. In 1972 a U.S. District Court judge also ruled this type of hiring unconstitutional. Then in 1983 the court issued an extended ruling laying out specific instructions for public hiring. On March 30, 2004, a U.S. District Court Judge refused Mayor Daley's request to overturn the ban and Daley signed an agreement confirming his commitment to the rules set in the 1983 decision.

The best part of the article is when Daley complains that, "Only 1,000 of the city's 38,000 employees are Shakman exempt." In light of building-inspector-gate and the hired trucks scandal it seems like Daley could chill it out just a little bit. But at least he's honest about his desire to continue his boss politico ways.

After a rigorous google-session Chicagoist could not find any information on the current status of Daley's case, but days after the 2004 decision the city's department of law spokesperson, Jennifer Coyne, did say the city would appeal the decision so we assume that is the court battle the Tribune is referring to. The receptionist at the mayor's press office didn't know anything about it and transferred us to Jennifer Coyne's voicemail.
(Thanks, Sam!)