* Coming a bit late to this Cook County Record story…
A group of Chicago lawyers, who for decades have helped lead the effort to combat patronage hiring in Springfield and Chicago, have asked a federal judge to hold off for at least six months on a request by Gov. JB Pritzker to end court oversight of state hiring practices, saying it will allow time to learn the truth of the governor’s claims that the state has fixed the decades-old patronage problems.
Late last month, attorney Michael Shakman and his associates in the firm of Miller Shakman Levine & Feldman LLP and Locke Lord LLP, all of Chicago, filed a brief in Chicago federal court, pushing back on Pritzker’s patronage claims. […]
Shakman said he and his co-plaintiffs wish to eventually end the oversight, just as the governor does.
But they said that can only come when the state institutes a new system, with strong rules and penalties for failure to follow them.
Shakman said he and his associates “want to finish the job, not prolong it.”
“But they (the Shakman plaintiffs), and the classes they represent, are entitled to assurance that whatever plans and practices the State adopts will provide a durable remedy warranting termination of the Decree, and not be just one more of the many official State acknowledgments that patronage practices need to stop, unsupported by effective enforcement mechanisms and sanctions for non-compliance,” he said.
Shakman said he would like the judge to reject Pritzker’s motion to end oversight under the decrees.
However, he said, for now, the Shakman plaintiffs would ask the court to also consider putting Pritzker’s request on hold for six months. That, he said, would allow Brennan to “gather the facts necessary” to help the judge decide whether or not Pritzker’s assertions concerning continued state government patronage hiring are correct.
* I asked the Pritzker administration for a response. I didn’t think I’d get one, but here’s Jordan Abudayyeh…
In their effort to keep this case going, the Plaintiffs are making arguments that ignore the facts and the law.
After six years of work, the Special Master and the State have finished all of the tasks ordered by the Court – creating a list of all exempt positions and an Exempt Hiring Plan.
Now, Plaintiffs want to oversee (and demand changes to) all employment policies – including provisions required in collective bargaining agreements. And they demand that the State implement an electronic hiring system, which they also want to monitor until they have decided it meets their standards.
But they can’t identify any reason under federal law to allow their requests. So, their last ditch argument is to ask the Court for just six more months – without ever explaining why six years is not enough, but six and a half is.