City Of Chicago and Shakman Plaintiffs File Joint Motion to Dismiss City from Shakman Lawsuit
Plaintiffs and City Move, with Support of Federal Monitor, to Find City in Substantial Compliance, Ending Decade of Federal Oversight and 45-Year Lawsuit
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the City and Shakman plaintiffs have filed a Joint Motion to set a hearing date and for a finding of substantial compliance and dismissal of the City of Chicago from the 45 year-old lawsuit. A hearing date has been set for June 16, 2014 that would end a decade of federal oversight and close the books on the Shakman lawsuit that was originally filed in 1969 to prevent political patronage hiring at the City of Chicago.
“Since the first day of my administration, we have made it a priority to take politics out of the hiring process, professionalize city government, and end the decades of practices that were a stain on our City,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are turning a page on the past to a future where the public knows that the City has a transparent and accountable system in place to ensure that city jobs will go to the candidate who is most qualified, not the most connected. “
The Shakman lawsuit has remained pending for 45 years, and in 2005, plaintiffs in the Shakman lawsuit filed an application to hold the City in civil contempt for violations of the court orders in light of criminal hiring investigations. As a result, the Judge appointed Noelle Brennan as federal hiring monitor to clean up past and reform future hiring processes until such time that the City reached “Substantial Compliance” with the Shakman Accord. The City has been under the oversight of the monitor since 2005.
“By working closely with Federal Hiring Monitor Noelle Brennan and Inspector General Joe Ferguson, we have and will continue taking the steps needed to ensure the City always has a hiring process that is fair, competitive, and accessible to all Chicago residents,” added Mayor Emanuel.
The City is now on schedule, after a 30-day notice period, to be released from the oversight of the Federal Monitor and dismissed from the Shakman lawsuit at the public hearing on June 16, 2014. Going forward, the Office of Inspector General Hiring Oversight, who has been working in concert with the Monitor on investigations, has been a partner in resolving remaining issues to achieve substantial compliance, and already provides hiring oversight functions for the City, will now step in permanently for the Monitor to ensure that the City continues on its path of hiring compliance.
Since taking office, the Emanuel administration has focused efforts to reach substantial compliance, including:
- Filing of City of Chicago, Police, Fire Hiring Plans;
- Empowering the Office of the Inspector General (the “OIG”) to independently monitor and investigate all City hiring, promotion, and contracting practices for substantial compliance;
- Requiring that City employees cooperate with OIG investigations;
- Adopting regular reporting and auditing requirements related to hiring, promotion, acting-up, and contracting in order to increase public transparency and accountability;
- Cooperating with investigations into historical misconduct and punishing those responsible for pre-Accord violations of the Shakman decrees;
- Developing and conducting extensive training programs to educate City employees on their duties and obligations under the City’s new hiring plans, procedures, and protocols;
- Creating a complaint hotline, formal reporting procedures, and whistleblower protections that support the investigative and disciplinary process and effectively detects and deters wrongdoing; and
- Fostering a culture of professionalism and public accountability that extends to all levels of City government.