Friday, January 14, 2011

Chicago Heights' mayoral candidate Dave Gonzalez crossing the Shakman line

I got word yesterday that Dave Gonzalez, a current vendor (he has some kind of contract with the city) and candidate for mayor in Chicago Heights, has called a meeting for this Saturday of *all* department heads and employees who work for the city. Department heads made phone calls -- on city time, using city resources -- demanding that employees attend this "mandatory meeting." According to one source, they were told that there would be "consequences" for those who didn't show up.

This is, of course, illegal. Municipal employees are protected by both Shakman and Rutan, according to election law expert Richard Means. Means was the lawyer who had an election overturned in Gary, IN and literally wrote the book on election law in Illinois.

According to Means:

Of course it is illegal to condition future public employment on political work for a mayoral candidate regardless of whether he is an incumbent or aspirant. Depending on the precise facts and how the threat was communicated and by whom, it is likely both a federal and state crime and a civil violation of numerous federal and state civil rights laws.

Many people associate Shakman with the City of Chicago and Cook County. But it also applies to Chicago Heights. Shakman strictly prohibits politically-based hiring, firing, promotions and/or other job actions for municipal positions where political considerations are not expressly exempt. Virtually every Chicago Heights employee contacted on Wednesday or Thursday at the bequest of Dave Gonzalez falls under the protection of Shakman (and Rutan).

Department heads, because they used city resources and workday to demand employee's participation, are particularly at risk. One explanation of Shakman [PDF] says that it:

prohibits the conditioning, basing, or knowingly prejudicing or affecting any aspect of employment of any person as a Governmental Employee (other than Exempt Positions), upon or because of any political reason or factor including, without limitation, any Employee’s political affiliation, political support or activity, political financial contributions, promises of such political support, activity or financial contributions or such Employee’s political sponsorship or recommendation is prohibited.

Further, it prohibits any employee (exempt or not exempt):

from knowingly inducing, aiding, abetting, participating in, cooperating with the commission of, or threatening to condition, base or knowingly prejudice or affect the employment of any County employee or applicant based upon political factors.

It is not Gonzalez, of course, who is likely to bear the brunt of additional Shakman litigation. The city of Chicago Heights would do so -- both financially and, additionally, to it's reputation -- of the possible Shakman violations.

In Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, "The [U.S. Supreme] Court found for the petitioner, expanding the First Amendment protection against dismissal from low-level government positions based on party affiliation, which had been established in two earlier cases." In other words, municipal employees cannot be forced to participate in party activity.

I talked yesterday with people I know in the U.S. Attorney General's office about Saturday's meeting in Chicago Heights. Because of my involvement in the Obama campaign and the transition, I was aware that public corruption -- as seems to be manifesting itself with this week's incident in Chicago Heights -- is a key concern of the Obama Administration. I was referred to the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division within the department:

The Public Integrity Section (PIN) oversees the federal effort to combat corruption through the prosecution of elected and appointed public officials at all levels of government. The Section has exclusive jurisdiction over allegations of criminal misconduct on the part of federal judges and also supervises the nationwide investigation and prosecution of election crimes. Section attorneys prosecute selected cases against federal, state, and local officials, and are available as a source of advice and expertise to other prosecutors and investigators.

I was specifically asked to relay their phone number to anyone who felt they had been forced to participate in political activity (such as the meeting called for Saturday by Dave Gonzalez). If you are a Chicago Heights employee (or the employee of any city) who felt intimidated or forced to participate against your will, please call the Public Integrity Section at (202) 514-1412. You won't have to give your full name to express your concerns. They are eager to hear from you. I will follow up on this on Saturday, and afterwards.

We need to stem the corruption here in the South Suburbs. We can no longer simply overlook corruption just because that's the way it's always been. We're better than that. We *deserve* better than that...


Anonymous,  6:22 AM  

Interesting. Unfortunate

Anonymous,  7:47 PM  

This is a lie.

bored now 10:14 AM  

lol. fortunately, the public integrity division is poised to find out. ftr, i was refused entry to the meeting, and then asked to leave the parking lot (i was sitting in my car) 15 minutes later.

honest people don't do that. they don't have anything to hide. but the one thing we *know,* public servants are protected by shakman and rutan, abd there shouldn't be any problem with making them aware of that fact...

Anonymous,  8:10 PM  

Censor me all you like. You are a dangerous person, and I plan to report you to the appropriate authorities.

bored now 8:32 PM  

lol. i'm sure dave gonzalez will be pleased to hear from you. forgive me if i'm not intimidated by petty threats from someone trying to scare me...

Anonymous,  12:32 PM  

To Bored Now.
I think you need to get your lies straight. You blog that you sat in the car during the meeting Saturday. But on another blog you state that you are from out of State. Which one is it?

You are nothing but an Opponent running against Gonzales or one of his candidates and need to lie to get people aboard your campaign. I wasn't at the meeting but know it was a "Volunteer" Meeting. Gonzales does not work as an employee or vendor as you state. I heard a person was asked to leave the meeting because he was running against them. What an idiot to think he could come to a volunteer meeting and expect to be able to sit there when he is running against some of the candidates that were there. But I'm not surprised at your blog...You are with FASO, PERKINS and McCOY. So you see why I'm not surprised with the type of election you guys are trying to run. So whats next? Gonzales the CPA is a drug dealer because he is Hispanic? Let me know when you write that blog also.

bored now 3:29 PM  

i am from florida. i'm unclear why you think those two facts are mutually exclusive...

Anonymous,  4:37 PM  

You said in your comment above that you were refused entrance at sat in the car for 15 minutes??? From Florida??

FASO,PERKINS AND McCoy....Not good for Chicago Heights!!!!!!

bored now 5:15 PM  

sorry. now i understand why you are confused. i am *from* florida, which is why i an extremely uncomfortable with the amount of corruption and abuse of power that is tolerated by people in illinois.

i don't currently reside in florida.

and let me be absolutely clear: i am most definitely *with* the civil rights activists. i grew up in the civil rights community. my first act of political activism was marching for martin luther king. my parents were civil rights activists who made a real difference in the integration of central florida.

without question, i believe that everyone deserves equal access to government, including all that this entails. i applaud chicago heights for its attempt to bring a more equal, and more fair, government to the city. i helped kevin perkins (indirectly) with his attempt to win the referendum in november. i am proud to stand with the civil rights activists in chicago heights, even though there are some who are uncomfortable with that.

the fact that you are defending corruption and abuse of power, but stand against equal application of governance to *all* the people who live in chicago heights tells me something. we don't share the same values. i can only hope that you can come to terms with the real change that is coming to chicago heights. it will be good for the city, and probably (unless you are from one of the few families that control chicago heights) good for you...

Anonymous,  11:38 AM  

You are with Kevin Perkins?, Perkin, who will make the deal with the Devil to further his political aspirations. Kevin Perkins and Robert McCoy were only a part of the Voting rights lawsuit. The other 2 Plaintiffs that started the Suit, Harper and Elliot were also instrumental. Yet when the vote came to settle the Voter's right lawsuit (3 months ago), Alderman Faso Voted NO. Then when it came for a vote the second time, Alderman Faso voted NO. Alderman Faso also voted AGAINST the Hope 6 Federal Funds to redevelop the East side of the City that is 80% African American. All Kevin Perkins did to help on the referendum was go vote. He didnt even campaign for it. But Perkins and McCoy have decided to support JOE FASO for mayor. The same JOE FASO who voted twice against the voter rights lawsuit and publically stated he would not support the referendum and voted AGAINST the Hope 6 Federal Grant. Perkins and MCCOY are sell outs to the African American Community and Hispanic Community that have waitied over 25 years for the settlement of the Voter Rights Lawsuit. PERKINS and MCCOY only wanted a settlement so their attorney can get paid over $1 million dollar in legal fees. mmm , I wonder what the payoff will be to Perkins and McCoy when their attorney gets paid over a million dollars from the City? I finish again by saying...


bored now 2:38 PM  

lol. i can only express amusement at someone who apparently supports dave gonzalez criticized *anyone* for "mak[ing] the deal with the Devil." but i suppose hypocrisy is to be expected.

and it's amusing that the guys who have been pocketing taxpayer funds into their own pockets could criticize the long-standing lawsuit. but, heh, we've already established that we have different values. i won't ask what you expect to get from the taxpayers, because i doubt you'd tell me.

you are wrong about kevin perkins doing nothing to pass the referendum. but, hey, dave gonzalez and friends did all they could to get it defeated, so they must not be that difficult to defeat (since you believe that no one worked to get it passed). perhaps my respect for his organizational skills is ill-founded.

regardless, we clearly believe in different things. i can't stop you from holding your hand out for taxpayer dollars, but i certainly can't support it. whatever faso's intentions in the past, he's aligned himself with the good guys, the folks that can take chicago heights into the future. i'm sorry you're still living in the past...

Anonymous,  10:58 PM  

To bored,now
Good luck getting republican faso elected!
Hey Contrell , I thought you were a Democrat!!!

I guess you follow the money too...

bored now 8:57 PM  

well, given the fact that the unity party *is* the republican's party in municipal elections in chicago heights, i'm not exactly sure of your point.

add that to the fact that faso just ran for democratic committeeman (feel free to tell me what gop office he's run for!), and i'm really not sure of your point.

but, again, let me be clear: i don't support corrupt politicians like gonzalez, regardless of their party. i didn't grow up here in illinois, so i'm not so quick to overlook corruption and i don't really understand why you are...

Anonymous,  11:29 AM  


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