Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Federal appeals court vacates Shakman Decree: “The power to hire, fire, and establish accompanying policies needs to return to the people of Illinois and the Governor they elected”
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Federal appeals court vacates Shakman Decree: “The power to hire, fire, and establish accompanying policies needs to return to the people of Illinois and the Governor they elected”

Friday, Aug 5, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Seventh Circuit US Court of Appeals

In 1972 a federal district court entered the first of many consent decrees preventing the Governor of Illinois and units of local government from conditioning employment decisions on political patronage. And so were born the Shakman decrees. The Governor remains subject to the original 1972 decree to this day—50 years later—despite having demonstrated substantial compliance with its terms and objectives in recent years. Principles of federalism do not permit a federal court to oversee the Governor’s employment practices for decades on end in circumstances like this. The power to hire, fire, and establish accompanying policies needs to return to the people of Illinois and the Governor they elected. The federal courts will remain open to decide individual cases of alleged constitutional violations should they arise. But no longer shall the Governor’s employment practices and policies have to win the approval of a United States court. […]

Eight gubernatorial administrations have come and gone in Illinois since the initiation of this lawsuit. Yet the same named plaintiffs that brought the original suit in 1969 continue to prosecute enforcement of the decree under the district court’s watch and, more recently, the eyes of a special master. It is far from clear this arrangement comports with the Supreme Court’s emphasis in recent years on separation of powers and the related demands imposed by Article III for establishing and maintaining a Case or Controversy. See Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560–63. The proper equitable analysis of whether the Governor should remain under the 1972 decree requires us “to recognize that the longer an injunction or consent decree stays in place, the greater the risk that it will improperly interfere with a State’s democratic processes.” Horne, 557 U.S. at 453.

No longer is the Shakman decree’s enforcement necessary to protect the First Amendment rights of state employees and job applicants as declared in Elrod and Rutan. Rather, its continued application has put a federal court in a role tantamount to serving as an indefinite institutional monitor—not much different than an executive or legislative branch oversight agency—focused much more on ensuring that the Governor implements best practices rather than eliminates “an ongoing violation of federal law.” Horne, 557 U.S. at 454. This is antithetical to the limited role the Constitution created for the Third Branch: Article III does not “confer on federal judges some amorphous power to supervise the operations of government and reimagine from the ground up” the employment practices of Illinois. Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, 142 S. Ct. 522, 532 (2021) (cleaned up).

Be careful not to misread our conclusion. The district court is not closing. To the contrary, it will remain open and receptive to individual claims brought by persons able to allege concrete and particularized injuries as a result of unlawful patronage practices by the Governor or departments under his supervision. And nothing will prevent such plaintiffs from requesting not just money damages, but also appropriate injunctive relief. So, while today’s decision relieves the Governor of complying with the Shakman decree, the First Amendment remains alive and well. Future violations of the rules announced in Elrod and Rutan may see new plaintiffs bringing new cases requesting new and stiff remedies, all the while emphasizing the tragic history that led to the Shakman decrees.

We REVERSE the district court’s denial of the motion to vacate and its expansion of the special master’s duties and REMAND with instructions to VACATE the 1972 consent decree as it applies to the Governor of Illinois.

…Adding… Also from the decision

Second, the Governor has instituted or otherwise supported several remedial measures in recent years (under the special master’s and district court’s supervision, to be sure) to minimize the risk of political patronage in employment practices. Beyond the development of a Comprehensive Employment Plan, the state now has in place the Hiring & Employment Monitoring Division within the Office of Inspector General and a limited Rutan exempt list, among other things. That many of these measures have remained in place for several years with no findings of constitutional violations in or across individual employment decisions speaks to the stability of the state’s, and by extension, the Governor’s reform measures. Shakman and Lurie, to their credit, candidly acknowledge the Governor’s progress in recent years. And, for her part, the special master has on more than one occasion commended the Governor’s efforts to comply with the decree, including by describing his accomplishments as “extraordinary,” “notable,” and “significant.”

All of this is enough, we believe, for the Governor to show that he has implemented a durable remedy and satisfied the objectives of the 1972 decree.

*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today ordered the lower court to vacate the 1972 Shakman Consent Decree, citing Governor Pritzker’s significant progress “instituting and supporting several remedial measures in recent years to minimize the risk of political patronage in employment practices.” The ruling acknowledges that the administration has instituted long-term policies and procedures that will ensure “compliance sticks.” This ruling means the state will no longer be under federal court supervision related to hiring practices, saving taxpayer dollars and ensuring state government can better serve the people.

“I’m gratified that the Court recognized my commitment to hiring practices that fully live up to the principles of the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “From the time that I took office, my administration has worked to strengthen the state’s hiring practices and ensure that we have durable, lasting reforms in place so that the state can guard against unethical hiring practices now and in the long term. With the end of this 1972 decree and the enormous work required by the ongoing federal monitoring, the State can focus our efforts on ensuring effective and efficient hiring that allows us to better fulfill our obligations to the people of Illinois.”

Highlights from the federal ruling:

“Leaving the Governor subject to the 1972 decree is no longer warranted or tolerable. Governor Pritzker has demonstrated substantial compliance with the decree and identified and instituted durable remedies to help ensure that compliance sticks. He has earned the right to make employment decisions for the state on his own and not under the terms and conditions of the 1972 decree or the watchful eyes of a special master and federal court.”

“The Governor has instituted or otherwise supported several remedial measures in recent years (under the special master’s and district court’s supervision, to be sure) to minimize the risk of political patronage in employment practices. Beyond the development of a Comprehensive Employment Plan, the state now has in place the Hiring & Employment Monitoring Division within the Office of Inspector General and a limited Rutan exempt list, among other things. That many of these measures have remained in place for several years with no findings of constitutional violations in or across individual employment decisions speaks to the stability of the state’s, and by extension, the Governor’s reform measures. Shakman and Lurie, to their credit, candidly acknowledge the Governor’s progress in recent years. And, for her part, the special master has on more than one occasion commended the Governor’s efforts to comply with the decree, including by describing his accomplishments as ‘extraordinary,’ ‘notable,’ and ‘significant.’

“All of this is enough, we believe, for the Governor to show that he has implemented a durable remedy and satisfied the objectives of the 1972 decree.”

“As we see the record, everyone involved in recent years— foremost Governor Pritzker, but also the special master, the district court, and Michael Shakman and Paul Lurie (and their talented counsel)—has been diligent in ensuring the state’s substantial compliance with the 1972 decree. This is what is supposed to happen in institutional reform litigation, even if it is coming many, many years too late. We see nothing more for the district court to do. The Governor has satisfied the objectives of the consent decree.”

…Adding… Important context for the people freaking out

Cook County in 2018 was removed from the constraints of the Shakman decree, with Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier finding the county to be in “substantial compliance” with fair hiring and employment practices. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had argued that since 2006, the Shakman suit had cost county taxpayers around $8 million. Around $3 million of that went to claims from employees who said patronage played a role in them advancing in their careers.

A federal judge in 2014 released Chicago from the consent decree. Since 1972, Chicago taxpayers had spent $22.9 million to create a $12 million fund created to compensate victims of the city’s rigged hiring system; $6.6 million for the hiring monitor; $1.8 million for consultants; $1.5 million for plaintiff’s counsel; and $1 million to outside counsel.

       

52 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:31 am:

    A new day for IL state employment. We’ll see if it turns out to be another back to the future moment.


  2. - Steve - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:31 am:

    It had to end sometime, unless you don’t believe in federalism.


  3. - Lake County Mom - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:32 am:

    I’m not sure how to feel about this. It puts me in mind of what the Supreme Court did with the Voting Rights Act.

    It seems like one of those things that can be abused, especially by Republicans.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:34 am:

    The governor is on a “heater of a streak” lately with the courts, including the court cases not going until after November too


  5. - Herbflus - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:37 am:

    Can someone explain the meaning or consequences for non-bargaining employees?


  6. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:39 am:

    How many millions were spent for the special master not to have found any violations? Good riddance, they had a good run with their grift.


  7. - Keyrock - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:40 am:

    The opinion was issued by an unusual two-judge panel - Judge Easterbrook, whose writings have shown his opposition to almost all consent decrees, and Judge Scudder, a Trump appointment. The third judge assigned to the case, Judge Kanne, recently passed away.


  8. - Annonin' - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:43 am:

    Can someone explain the meaning or consequences for non-bargaining employees?
    Let’s start with everyone signing up for the Hyatt Points Club. Kinda like have a receipt for pancakes at Doc Adams spot to staple to your voter registration and CMS app.


  9. - SpiDem - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:45 am:

    It’s about time. The hiring process in government has become so divorced from the rest of the world it’s crazy. You cannot find quality talent when it takes months to hire, and the unemployment rate is below 4%.

    Hopefully this gets government moving in a direction where it can effectively fill vacancies quickly


  10. - Arsenal - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:46 am:

    This was necessary. The Special Master’s role had mutated into basically writing her own blank checks, and it had made state government less responsive and efficient.

    I understand people’s fears about returning to the Thompson era status quo, but this was unsustainable and unfair to the citizens, too.


  11. - Ares - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:47 am:

    This sounds like the US Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision in which it refused to continue the pre-clearance of the Southern States’ voting-law changes. Once the pre-clearance fell after 40 years, the voter-suppression efforts fired up again. Federal courts have not shifted to a reactive mode, with a 40-50 year time limit after which they will give up. This does not bode well for American democracy, especially in the light of attempted coups and electiondeniers taking office in some States as we speak.


  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:49 am:

    === This does not bode well for American democracy, especially in the light of attempted coups===

    Oh, for crying out loud. Take a breath.


  13. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    - in which it refused to continue the pre-clearance of the Southern States’ voting-law changes. -

    Yeah, almost exactly the same, lol.


  14. - Arsenal - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    ==This sounds like the US Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision in which it refused to continue the pre-clearance of the Southern States’ voting-law changes.==

    The difference is there are still laws in place regulating state hiring, whereas Congress has failed to pass anything regarding voting rights.

    I would also…dispute the idea that it’s good for democracy for the state workforce to be unaccountable to the elected representatives of the people, and their hiring process ultimately overseen by an unelected Special Master who was trying to set her own scope of work.


  15. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    - hiring process ultimately overseen by an unelected Special Master who was trying to set her own scope of work. -

    Extremely well put.


  16. - Juice - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:07 pm:

    ” This does not bode well for American democracy, especially in the light of attempted coups and electiondeniers taking office in some States as we speak.”

    I realize that this does not involve the County Clerk’s portion of the consent decree. But Shakman literally argued that the political views of the person overseeing elections in suburban Cook County could not be taken into account, essentially protecting the ability of a coup sympathizer and election denier to get that particular job.

    Rutan is still the law of the land. Shakman was an unnecessary expense and a totally unnecessary bureaucratic nightmare. Democracy will be fine.


  17. - Huh? - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:17 pm:

    Hopefully this means lower level, union covered positions caught in the “special master” net will finally break loose.


  18. - Mike - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:22 pm:

    I hear the echoes of Shelby but in the case of voting rights, the states subject to the VRA had demonstrably *not* taken sufficient measures to meet its requirements over the past decades and certainly had not consistently created institutional reforms to prevent abuse. Not saying the IL reforms and institutions are perfect but I think there’s a qualitative difference.


  19. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:23 pm:

    - Article III does not “confer on federal judges some amorphous power to supervise the operations of government and reimagine from the ground up” -

    This is the important part.

    Good decision.


  20. - DHS Drone - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    Rutan is still in place. And Shakman exempt spots are pretty much all also 4d exempt under the personnel code. So, what is political is still political. And what isn’t political still isn’t political. Bargaining unit spots are still covered under collective bargaining agreements. Though unfortunately we all have to deal with that crappy new website for job postings that was only put in place for Shakman compliance. Many agencies are dealing with it by simply not posting anything at all. Number of postings on there is at a low since they switched us all over to new system July 1st.


  21. - Arsenal - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:27 pm:

    ==Extremely well put. ==

    To add some nuance, though, I also think it’s bad for taxpayers and the people who rely on government services if elected officials can just fill every job with cronies, regardless of if they have any aptitude to actually do the job. So neither extreme is very attractive, and we need to find something in the middle (or maybe something that takes a little bit from all sides of the issue).

    But the ill-defined, open-ended nature of the Special Master’s role was kind of the worst of both worlds, both unrepresentative of the voters and inefficient for the taxpayers.


  22. - Original Rambler - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:36 pm:

    A broad brush as to practical impact. Before this decision, if the Governor wanted to make a job at will, it had to pass three levels of review: the Shakman plaintiffs, the Hiring and Employment Monitor of the OEIG, and the Civil Service Commission. Now, the job only has to pass two levels of review.

    I don’t have a dog in the race but the excerpt Rich posted is well written and makes a lot of sense. Kudos to the Justice’s, their law clerks and to Rich for posting it.


  23. - Merica - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    Cronyism and nepotism had evolved around Shackman and the special master. Also, CMS will take a long time to do anything no matter what happens.

    With the Special Master gone, what will be the new excuse for hiring taking 2 years?


  24. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:41 pm:

    === To add some nuance, though, I also think it’s bad for taxpayers and the people who rely on government services if elected officials can just fill every job with cronies, regardless of if they have any aptitude to actually do the job. ===

    Elected officials cannot fill jobs with cronies without running afoul of the federal constitution. If this happens, those harmed by the practices can file their own lawsuits in federal court.


  25. - DougChicago - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:48 pm:

    Hallelujah!

    Restores the appropriate constitutional balance and cuts off pinstripe patronage in the form of endless federal monitors and associated baggage.


  26. - Huh? - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:50 pm:

    “Though unfortunately we all have to deal with that crappy new website for job postings”

    Amen ×2


  27. - Sangamo Girl - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    ==So, what is political is still political. And what isn’t political still isn’t political. Bargaining unit spots are still covered under collective bargaining agreements.==

    Correct. Now I hope that we can move on from fair in the hiring arena being only those issues related to politics.

    With other issues such as neurodiversity and disability the candidate has to ask for accommodations. How is that fair? And if the interviewer discovers these issues at the time of the interview, it is too late to do anything about it–because its not fair.


  28. - From DaZoo - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 1:01 pm:

    What some people commenting seem to be missing is there is another office that was created to report abuse and misconduct: the Executive Ethics Commission (EEC). Their role and visibility have increased since Blago.

    The State needed to find a way to speed up the hiring process. Removing the Special Master cuts out a few steps by removing multiple redundant reviews.


  29. - thisjustinagain - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 1:27 pm:

    Given the ongoing corruption issues in the state, it shouldn’t be long for a new lawsuit to be filed.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 1:29 pm:

    ===Given the ongoing corruption===

    In patronage?


  31. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 1:35 pm:

    ==Given the ongoing corruption issues in the state==

    I’m not aware of any corruption in hiring. If there were any questions about that the decree wouldn’t have been vacated.

    To the post:

    It was beyond time for the Shakman Decree to be eliminated, especially given the fact that hiring is now also overseen by a monitoring division in the Inspector General’s office.


  32. - Merica - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 1:48 pm:

    just in time for the imminent repeal of HB 4295 (2018)


  33. - thisjustinagain - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:03 pm:

    To OW and Demoralized: The ongoing corruption issues of this state which will sooner or later raise its ugly head related to someone’s hiring (or not being hired, perhaps more likely). It’s not a difficult concept, given the ghost job/fake job cases already prosecuted. See also MJM and ComEd, and Thomas Cullerton,

    It is also not safe to assume that there is no corruption because the court vacated the decree; the court cited the legal rationale for ending the decree, not that corruption in hiring was totally eliminated from State government.


  34. - MisterJayEm - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:05 pm:

    Is someone doing a wellness check on John Kass?

    – MrJM


  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:06 pm:

    === the court cited the legal rationale for ending the decree, not that corruption in hiring was totally eliminated from State government===

    It also cited the very real on the ground improvements that have been made. Try reading.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:09 pm:

    ===sooner or later===

    So there isn’t any ongoing corruption, except in your head.

    === It’s not a difficult concept===

    If it’s not, cite the current ongoing corruption.

    ===safe to assume===

    Unless you have facts, you have nothing.

    “When you assume… “

    You have nothing to base your want.


  37. - Understand Logic - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:11 pm:

    Congratulations and gratitude are owed to the panel of judges who saw through the absurd overreach and greed of the “special master”.

    Good on JB Pritzker for crying foul and fighting this out in court.


  38. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:12 pm:

    ===…wellness check on John Kass?===

    I wonder what are the rules in Indiana for such a check?


  39. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===ComEd, and Thomas Cullerton===

    Private sector hires, unless CMS is now the HR for unions and ComEd?

    Do I assume that, or sooner or later that will happen or… or is this a difficult concept, CMS as the hiring arm?

    You chose.


  40. - Just Sayin - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 2:37 pm:

    Can you imagine what it would have been like had Shakman been vacated 10 years ago? During Quinn?


  41. - Friendly Bob Adams - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 3:27 pm:

    Great post by DHS Drone. More like this, please.


  42. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 3:28 pm:

    Perhaps the Governor has purposefully not filled the thousands of positions in Illinois government that are vacant so that his administration can fill them with their cronies. What should we expect from the administration that brought Ryan Croke back to state government?

    If Pritzker doesn’t fill those positions maybe the next Governor will fill them with their cronies.


  43. - Keyrock - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 3:29 pm:

    “Can you imagine what it would have been like had Shakman been vacated 10 years ago? During Quinn?”
    —- We would have been back to the days of Dan Walker.


  44. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 3:44 pm:

    The Inspector General monitors hiring now. Shakman is duplicative and an unnecessary expense.


  45. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 3:44 pm:

    ===In patronage?===

    As long as Illinois has “Merit Commissions” (SOS & IOC have them, counties use them for sheriffs deputies / correction officers, municipal governments with less than 5,000 population aren’t required to have Police & Fire / Civil Service Commissions), YES.

    Beyond the AG’s informal March 11, 1993 opinion for the Knox County State’s Attorney stating the Sheriff could pick whoever (s)he wanted from the “certified eligibility” list, there was no reference to complying with Rutan or Veteran’s Preference.

    During George Ryan’s trial, it came out “patronage applicants” were told if they were ranked as “qualified” by the SOS Merit Commission, they were in. Again, no reference to Rutan or Veteran’s Preference. So yes, I’m “cautiously concerned” … . And perhaps this casts John Milhiser’s run for SOS in a new light.


  46. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 3:59 pm:

    ===During George Ryan’s trial===

    How long ago was that?


  47. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 4:01 pm:

    I’m amazed at how few of you seem to actually understand how state hiring works now, or just how few jobs are available where someone could simply hire “cronies”. For a group of commenters who claim familiarity with state government (looking at you, Candy), y’all seem woefully ignorant of the new hiring processe. This isn’t the Ryan or Blago years, applications don’t go through the Governors office for approval anymore (unless they’re one of the very few fully exempt positions).


  48. - Baloneymous - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 4:05 pm:

    ===not filled the thousands of positions in Illinois government that are vacant===

    These thousands of vacant jobs you speak of are not Rutan-exempt or double exempt ones. There are no longer “thousands” of those jobs and a lot of the existing ones are likely filled at this point. I read an AP article from 2019 where Rauner himself said there were probably only 1,500 or less Rutan exempt jobs left after they re-classifed a lot of them. And those Rutan-exempt jobs would not include the double exempt/at will jobs.

    I’m fairly certain when they refer to 7,000(?) vacant state government jobs, those are in bargaining units and/or have to go through the Rutan interview process anyway. Most Rutan exempt and at will jobs are the senior management types and any governor can hire who they want for those jobs and any of those jobs can be crony hires. And Pritzker kept a lot of Rauner hires/”cronies” when he came into office. He never cleaned house, not like Rauner did anyway. If JB wanted to hire his “cronies” he should have fired all the Rauner people and put his own people in those jobs. So I’m not sure how Pritzker or any future governor can hire whoever they want when most state jobs are in bargaining units, have to be posted, go through seniority picks and Rutan interviews, regardless of whether there is a Shakman decree in place or not.


  49. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 4:23 pm:

    - purposefully not filled the thousands of positions in Illinois government that are vacant so that his administration can fill them with their cronies. -

    Another disgruntled job seeker heard from.


  50. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 4:29 pm:

    ===So I’m not sure how Pritzker or any future governor can hire whoever they want when most state jobs are in bargaining units, have to be posted, go through seniority picks and Rutan interviews, regardless of whether there is a Shakman decree in place or not.===

    Well that’s pretty easy, they just break the law. They were breaking the law for decades before the Rutan ruling. That’s why the Shakman decree existed and continued to exist. They continued to break the law after the Rutan decision.

    Today’s ruling means one less tool for holding the government accountable. As hopeful as I might be, I don’t have a whole lot of trust in the current system working without manipulation or intentional malfeasance, especially when the bad actors of the past remain in government.

    I’m not ready to believe there’s no more corruption in hiring in state government, even for bargaining unit positions. AFSCME isn’t the one interviewing candidates and selecting them for the job.

    Hard to trust that the ice is thick enough to skate on when you can see the cracks and holes from when someone fell through recently.


  51. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 4:43 pm:

    === I’m not ready to believe there’s no more corruption in hiring in state government, even for bargaining unit positions. AFSCME isn’t the one interviewing candidates and selecting them for the job. ===

    Except that is exactly what the Shakman monitors are supposed to be monitoring for, and they have not found that hiring has been occurring based on political reasons or factors. Instead, they focused on minutiae that goes well beyond what is required by the Constitution, and this is inappropriate - especially when considering all of the money that the monitors and the class Plaintiffs are earning due to the continuation of this litigation.


  52. - Baloneymous - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 4:44 pm:

    ===Well that’s pretty easy, they just break the law===

    All those IDOT staff assistant jobs that were filled under Quinn or Blago were Rutan exempt jobs, i.e. they are exempt from the Rutan hiring process. Those hires were considered “questionable hiring practices” by a judge. Do I agree with how those jobs were filled? Not at all. But when you say “break the law” when it was just dumb patronage hiring. From the judge:

    “A federal judge appointed a Chicago attorney in 2014 to investigate the hiring practices. Hartzler said the investigation found the problem went beyond the Transportation Department and was present throughout the whole state hiring system.”

    If a governor wanted to rig the Rutan interview process on a massive scale, for hundreds or thousands of jobs, they would have to devote an entire staff of people to hand pick and rig Rutan interviewers across multiple offices and divisions at dozens of state agencies, know exactly where and when Rutan interviews are taking place, make sure all the Rutan interviewers know who to score high and select for the positions, make sure a majority of Rutan interviewers for each interview pick the right “crony” to hire and so on. Could this happen for a few jobs here and there, yea I’m sure it happens. But what you’re talking about would require a coordinated effort on a massive scale and keeping track of dozens or hundreds of Rutan interviewers and HR staff at 20+ state agencies. And keeping everyone quiet so no one finds out. Really?

    And again I’m not talking about the Rutan exempt or double exempt jobs that they can already pick and choose who they want to hire. It’s not against the law to do that and shouldn’t be.


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