Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



Cook County freed from federal oversight

Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
by Patricia Manson

Cook County freed from federal oversight

By Patricia Manson Law Bulletin staff writer
Anti-patronage attorney Michael L. Shakman poses in his office in 2009. On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier granted a motion to end federal oversight for some branches of Cook County government. Shakman, who was present in Schenkier’s courtroom, said patronage-free government is not “an impossible dream.” — AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
Posted November 1, 2018 11:03 AM

Praising the battle Michael L. Shakman has waged against political patronage in government hiring, a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed Cook County as a defendant in the lawsuit the Chicago lawyer filed 49 years ago.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier granted a motion to end federal oversight of the county’s hiring and promotion practices.

Schenkier granted the motion after finding the county is in substantial compliance with a settlement agreement — termed an agreed supplemental relief order — it reached in November 2006 with Shakman and his fellow plaintiffs.

“This is a big day,” Schenkier said during a hearing in the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. “This is a day where we see we don’t have to be trapped by the past, we don’t have to be trapped by the history of things.”

He said the settlement agreement shows what can be accomplished when people cooperate with one another.

And he said the agreement sends a message to other government entities still involved in the litigation.

“Substantial compliance is not an impossible dream,” Schenkier said. “It is an achievable goal.”

Shakman, of Miller Shakman & Beem LLP, was among the parties and attorneys in the case who spoke during the hearing.

Shakman described the hearing as an “historic moment” in the litigation he began in 1969.

“Patronage practices hurt a lot of interests which are important in our country,” he said.

He said basing employment decisions on a worker’s political loyalties and activities deprives individuals of their First Amendment rights.

Patronage practices deprive the public of government workers who are chosen for their qualifications, Shakman said.

He said patronage practices also hurt democracy by “hijacking public resources” to help incumbents.

And he said a patronage system encourages elected officials to hire too many workers.

Shakman said former federal judge Wayne R. Andersen and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are among the people responsible for bringing the county into compliance.

Andersen presided over the Shakman litigation for about 10 years before retiring from the bench in July 2010. He was among the spectators at the hearing.

Andersen encouraged the parties to work together and took such concrete steps as appointing a monitor to oversee the county’s compliance with the law, Shakman said.

He said Preckwinkle — unlike other officials who exhibited “varying degrees of enthusiasm” for reform — worked hard to bring the county into substantial compliance.

Preckwinkle said the hearing “marks an important milestone” in the county’s history.

“Unlawful political discrimination will not be tolerated in the county,” she said.

Schenkier’s finding of substantial compliance applies to the county and to three units independent of the president — the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the Office of the Independent Inspector General.

Speakers at the hearing included Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel H. Brennan Jr. and Dr. John Jay Shannon, CEO of the Health and Hospitals System.

Amy P. Campanelli heads the public defender’s office and Patrick M. Blanchard oversees the inspector general’s office.

In addition to the county, government entities that have been dismissed from the litigation are the city of Chicago, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

Defendants still involved in the litigation are the Illinois governor’s office, the Cook County Court Clerk’s Office and the Cook County Recorder of Deeds’ Office and Assessor’s Office.

In the litigation involving Cook County, Andersen appointed Julia M. Nowicki in late 2006 as the compliance administrator.

Mary T. Robinson was selected to take the post in March 2009 after Nowicki resigned because of demands on her time as a neutral and consultant for a law firm.

Complying with the settlement agreement has cost the county about $8 million since 2006.

That amount includes about $3 million paid to resolve 108 claims filed by individuals who maintained their careers were affected by patronage demands.

After Wednesday’s hearing, Robinson said the money was well spent.

The county could have paid a consultant $8 million and not achieved the results seen under the settlement agreement, she said.

At the hearing, Robinson said there has been “a dramatic shift in attitude” among both managers and rank-and-file members of the county’s workforce.

The policies and principles in the settlement agreement are embedded in the county’s practices, Robinson said.

And she said employees who had been demoralized came to believe they would be treated fairly and their work would be judged on its merits.

Shakman’s attorney, Brian I. Hays of Locke Lord LLP, noted no objections were raised to the request that the county be found in substantial compliance.

“This is not an ending, but a new beginning to county employment practices,” Hays said.

The case is Michael L. Shakman, et al. v. County of Cook, et al., No. 69 C 2145.



Recent Headlines

Cook County offers two tax exemptions for seniors
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Homewood Flossmore Chronicle

Will political infighting delay your Cook County property tax assessment appeals?
Friday, January 18, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County offers $8.5 million in transportation grants
Friday, January 18, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Pritzker signs ‘long overdue’ gun dealer licensing bill, vows ‘more work to do’
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Opens New Health Center in Arlington Heights
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Daily Herald

A look at other criminal cases where Cook County judges cleared Chicago cops
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

3 Chicago cops found not guilty in Laquan McDonald cover-up conspiracy case
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Old Cook County Hospital on track to become next city landmark
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Free Radioactive Radon Test Kits From Cook County
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Toni Preckwinkle and county watchdog at odds over political travel reimbursements
Friday, January 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County judges — one cleared of gun charge, one reassigned for anger management — to return to bench at criminal court
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

It's been a bad decade for property taxes
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Bond court reform has not put more violent offenders back on the street
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Glenview pushes minimum wage, paid sick leave discussion to next week
Tuesday, January 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How Fritz Kaegi Plans to Transform the Cook County Assessor’s Office
Friday, January 04, 2019
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Cook County Health recognizes Cervical Health Awareness Month
Friday, January 04, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

2 neighborhood courthouses close: 'You’re discouraging citizens from going to court'
Friday, January 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Campaign money tied to Ald. Edward Burke’s alleged extortion scheme was intended for County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, sources say
Thursday, January 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County, parking operators in dispute over possibly millions in back taxes that could leave consumers pinched
Thursday, January 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle pursues back taxes from parking lot operators
Wednesday, January 02, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP