Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Political Hiring Results In Bar Charges

The Illinois Disciplinary Administrator has filed a complaint alleging misconduct against the former Assistant Commissioner of the Chicago Water Department for using a political litmus test in hiring employees in contravention of a court-ordered permanent injunction (the "Shakman" decree):

Starting in 1992, while employed as Assistant Commissioner of the Water Department, continuing through 1999, when Respondent was Commissioner of the Sewer Department, Respondent conducted or participated in the hiring or promotion process for hundreds of positions within those departments. Most, if not all, of these positions were considered "Shakman covered" positions, meaning the hiring and promotion of potential job applicants for these positions had to comply with the 1983 "Shakman Decree," which made it unlawful to take any political factor into account in hiring public employees, as stated in Paragraph One, above.

At all times alleged in this complaint, Respondent was aware of the Shakman Decree and understood the responsibilities and restrictions inherent in the Shakman Decree, as stated in Paragraphs One and Two, above, as they related to City of Chicago hiring policies.

Starting in 1992, while employed as Assistant Commissioner of the Water Department, continuing through 1999, when Respondent was Commissioner of the Sewer Department, when conducting or participating in job interviews for Shakman-covered positions, Respondent received a list of names prepared by the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs ("IGA"), a division within the Office of the Mayor of the City of Chicago. Respondent knew that those named on the IGA list were individuals who were expected to be interviewed and hired for certain positions within his department because of their political involvement, affiliation or work on certain political campaigns. Respondent graded interview score sheets in a way to ensure that those named on the IGA list scored highest and were guaranteed to receive the job.

The accused attorney is also charged with falsely certifying that he had complied with the decree. Perhaps these charges will provide some incentive to the bars that are investigating the politicization of hiring in the Department of Justice to pursue charges in those matters. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2008/09/the-illinois-di.html

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