ShakmanMonitor.com is an online resource for Chicago residents and others who may be interested in the on-going work of the recently Court appointed “Shakman Monitor.” The Shakman Monitor has been directed by Court Order to: (1) study the City of Chicago 's existing employment practices, policies and procedures for non-political hiring, promotion, transfer, discipline and discharge; and (2) propose a mechanism for ensuring that future employment actions by the City of Chicago are free from unlawful political considerations.
To that end, ShakmanMonitor.com has been created to provide opportunity for input from the public concerning ways to ensure that political considerations do not unlawfully influence City employment decisions. Additionally, through secure email, individuals may confidentially report current or on-going alleged Shakman violations or related suspected hiring or promotion improprieties within City practices.
All information received through this website will be considered by the Shakman Monitor in proposing mechanisms for ensuring that future employment actions by the City are free from unlawful political considerations.
Legal Requirements Prohibiting Political Considerations in Certain City Employment Practices In 1969, a federal civil lawsuit titled Michael L. Shakman, et al., v. Democratic Organization of Cook County , et al. , Case No. 69 C 2145, was filed by a group of plaintiffs against various defendants including the City of Chicago and its Mayor. In 1972, several defendants, including the City of Chicago and its Mayor, entered into a Consent Decree with the Plaintiffs to resolve some of the claims made in the lawsuit. For the great majority of positions within City government, the 1972 Consent Decree specifically prohibited the City from “conditioning, basing or knowingly prejudicing or affecting any term or aspect of governmental employment with respect to one who is at the time already a governmental employee , upon or because of any political reason or factor.” A subsequent Consent Decree was entered in 1983 that extended these prohibitions to the City of Chicago 's hiring practices as well. These agreements have collectively come to be known as the Shakman Decrees. The federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois has retained jurisdiction over the case. The Court's powers include the power to enforce the Consent Decrees.
Recent Legal Developments Leading to Appointment of Shakman Monitor On July 26, 2005, the Plaintiffs in the Shakman lawsuit filed an Application to Hold the City of Chicago and its Mayor in Civil Contempt for Violations of the Court Orders. Their motion was based, in part, on recent developments in a criminal investigation currently still underway in the United States Attorney's Office. Criminal complaints 05 CR 644 and 05 CR 646 against two former city officials, Robert Sorich and Patrick Slattery, detailed repeated instances of manipulation of the interviewing, selection and hiring processes by the City of Chicago to ensure preferential hiring and promotions for pre-selected candidates, in direct violation of the Shakman Decrees. Additionally, on July 29, 2005, Donald Tomczak, former Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago Water Department, pleaded guilty to criminal charges regarding his role in the city's hiring and promotion practices. Tomczak's guilty plea included sworn admissions that he and others awarded jobs and promotions to individuals based on political considerations in direct violations of the Shakman Decrees.
On August 2, 2005, following the Plaintiffs' Application to Hold the City and its Mayor in Civil Contempt, Judge Wayne R. Andersen, the federal district court judge presently assigned to the Shakman civil lawsuit, appointed Noelle C. Brennan as the Court's Monitor in an effort to “ensure future compliance” with the Shakman Decrees by the City of Chicago and its Mayor. As part of its appointment_order, the Court directed the Monitor, along with her appointed legal counsel, to study the City of Chicago 's “existing employment practices, policies and procedures for non-political hiring, promotion, transfer, discipline and discharge.” Further, the Court ordered the Monitor to propose a “mechanism for ensuring future employment actions [by the City] are in compliance with the Court's previous Orders.” The First_Report of the Monitor, submitted September 6, 2005, details the Monitor's preliminary findings and suggestions.
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