October 28, 1969, a lawsuit entitled Michael Shakman, et al., v. Democratic Organization of Cook County, et al., No. 69 C 2145 (N.D. Ill.) was filed seeking the court to prohibit Cook County and the Board of Commissioners of Cook County (“County Board”), among other defendants, from conditioning, basing or affecting any term or aspect of governmental employment upon or because of any political reason or factor.
On May 5, 1972 and January 7, 1994, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered Consent Judgments with respect to, among others, the County and County Board, prohibiting the conditioning, basing or affecting any term or aspect of governmental employment upon or because of any political reason or factor. Those Judgments provided that the Court retained jurisdiction with respect to, among other matters, issues of political hiring and the designation of a number of positions which should be exempt from the prohibitions established under the Consent Judgments.
On November 29, 2006, the Board of Commissioners of Cook County agreed to the entry of a Supplemental Relief Order (SRO) by the District Court. On December 7, 2006, the court entered an order (Preliminary Approval Order) preliminarily approving the Supplemental Relief Order agreed to by the plaintiffs and Cook County. The District Court approved the SRO at the hearing held on February 2, 2007.
In order to advance the goal of bringing the County into substantial compliance, the County must, among other things, implement the Employment Plan. The Employment Plan was filed on March 19, 2012 bringing the County closer to achieving substantial compliance. The Plan sets forth the general principles that will govern the County’s hiring and employment policies under the jurisdiction of the President and it applies to current employees of the County as well as all applicants and candidates. The Plan calls for the implementation of pro-active and transparent policies, practices and procedures and includes elements that address the prohibition and influence of political reasons and factors in the employment process. In addition the Plan addresses an employee’s duty to report unlawful political discrimination as well as the reporting of political contacts from politically-related persons or organizations to the Office of the Independent Inspector General (OIIG).
Uniform Political Contact Log
In order to further the goal of eliminating unlawful political discrimination in government and to foster a transparent, honest and fair employment process, Cook County wishes to reaffirm its goal of eliminating unlawful political discrimination and to remind County employees and officials of their obligations to log certain political contacts and to use the Political Log when documenting certain political contacts. President Preckwinkle is committed to upholding the prohibition against politically-related persons and organizations influencing or attempting to influence employment actions involving employees deemed “non-exempt” for purposes of this prohibition. See the links below to download a copy of the Political Contact Log.
Notice of Hearing on Substantial Compliance
On August 31, 2018, Cook County and the Shakman Plaintiffs filed a joint motion in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois seeking a hearing for substantial compliance and dismissal of the County of Cook in Shakman v. Democratic Organization of Cook County, No. 69 C 2145. On September 4, 2018, the U.S. District Court has ordered a hearing (the "Hearing") to be held at 10:00 a.m. on October 31, 2018 for the purpose of determining whether the Court should enter an order (i) finding the County of Cook ("Cook") to be in Substantial Compliance with the Supplemental Relief Order and the 1994 Consent Decree and (ii) dismissing the County from this case.
The formal notice of the Hearing may be found on the attached link labeled “Notice of Substantial Compliance Hearing.pdf.” The accompanying documents associated with the joint motion may be accessed below through the attached link labeled “Joint Motion for Substantial Compliance Hearing.pdf.”