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Patronage Lives! But For How Long?

By Amy Hart in News on Sep 26, 2005 3:25PM


In May of 2005 Mayor Daley announced a partial hiring freeze when officials found that (brace yourself!) patronage was in full effect for certain positions within City Hall.

The hiring freeze was lifted earlier this month after federal monitor Noelle Brennan suggested all job applications filed prior to January 01, 2004 be expunged and officials swear under oath that hirings are not determined by political reasons.

However, 300 jobs were filled between the time Daley enacted the hiring freeze and Brennan began her job in August. Although the hiring freeze did not apply to the positions for which these individuals were hired, Brennan wants those responsible with filling the jobs to swear under threat of perjury that politics did not play a part in the hirings.

Brennan is also urging Daley to issue an executive order stating that any city employee who cooperates with her investigation will be protected against retaliation. The mayor has not yet responded to Brennan’s suggestion.

Daley might be a bit preoccupied. On Sunday over 3,000 people attended registrar training at Salem Baptist Church's House of Hope, an event spearheaded by pastor and State Senator James Meeks (pictured). 2005_09_jamesmeeks.jpgThe goal is to turn around voter apathy and register at least 200,000 new voters for the 2007 mayoral election.

It is doubtful that Meeks wants these new voters to support the mayor. Meeks claimed he was a victim or racial profiling in a July traffic stop, and has vowed to campaign against Daley (and possibly for his friend Jesse Jackson, Jr.) in the next election if police conduct is not improved.

Only 34 percent of voters turned out in the 2003 election in which Daley was reelected with 79 percent of the vote. Will corruption plus new voters equal a new mayor? Only time will tell.