Saturday, October 07, 2006

Will Cook Shake and Bake Shakman?

Cross posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

On September 20, FBI agents raided the Cook County Human Resources Department , carting off caseloads of materials in an on-going investigation into corrupt political hiring. They returned on Monday, October 2, focusing on the county Highway Department. And on Friday, October 6, lawyers for Cook County went into federal court to ask that anti-corruption monitoring be stopped . With so many investigations, now is not the time for Cook County to do away with the Shakman Decree.

Just like the City of Chicago, the County of Cook is now facing serious and credible allegations of illegal political hiring while simultaneously seeking to end judicial oversight designed to monitor and curtail political hiring. Over the past three decades, the Shakman Decree has emerged as the key tool to ensure that political and electoral considerations do not dictate hiring and the handing out of taxpayer-funded jobs. Efforts by the City and the County to do away with Shakman at the same time that they are facing such far-reaching and credible allegations of corruption throughout their hiring processes are absolutely shameful.


Watcher In The Center,  11:51 PM  

Cook County has no choice - they have to get rid of Shakman NOW.

The Fed's are already digging deep into all the hiring over the years at Cook County. With the Feds closing in, and with all the pending budget cutbacks (and that's not a paper deficit of $400++++ million), there's going to be all sorts of people going to be ready to spill whatever secrets they know. It's all in the bargaining chips.

But if Shakman goes away for Cook County, well, there's some limited relief for the County. They can at least make an argument that all the past hirings, while technically violating Shakman, were not really that bad because (IF) the Court ordered the end to judicial oversight required under Shakman. It's not a particularly good argument, but when you've got a whole lot of "Nothing", you go with anything you've got. Got to get rid of Shakman, because if they don't - they've got virtually no defense against the Feds.

Anonymous,  7:41 AM  

There is no patronage hiring in the City nor the County. Mara Georges said she didn't know about the City. Stroger was just trying to help people of color. It is a fair civil service meritocracy.

David 5:02 PM  

While I appreciate both of these comments, I hear in them both some post-modern irony. Watcher seems to be writing from the perspective of the County; I can't argue with what the County is looking for, except to say that it does not appear to be concerned with accountable government but rather with protecting incumbents from prison terms. As for the 7:41 anon comment, all I can say is, we'll see soon enough who's laughing last. Maybe all of the recent news accounts are wrong and there's nothing to worry about. I'm not going to get out ahead of the US Attorney. But given the scope of their current investigation, it seems hard to believe that there's nothing there. At the very least, let's find out before the County makes a move to get rid of Shakman, rather than get rid of Shakman and then find out the truth.

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