CHICAGO, June 16 (UPI) -- A federal judge has ruled Chicago's City Hall no longer has to self-enforce a decades-old rule barring politics from influence hiring and firing decisions.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier ended the enforced self-regulation, known as the Shakman Decree, saying Chicago has "achieved substantial compliance" with the courts efforts to end clout-based nepotism in the Windy City. But, Schenkier noted, "Substantial compliance does not mean the city has achieved a state of perfection."
Since four of former Mayor Richard M. Daley's top aides were charged with rigging public hiring to reward political allies in 2005, the city of Chicago has spent $22.8 million dollars enforcing the Shakman Decree.
"For decades, city jobs that were supposed to be awarded based on merit were instead based on political clout — it was who you know instead of what you know," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
"In many cases, the people of Chicago suffered the consequences — through unqualified workers, no-show jobs and the abuse of taxpayer resources."
Now, Emanuel says, Chicago is "finally in substantial compliance with the accord." Still, the mayor has no disillusions about the town somewhat-affectionately known as "Clout City" and its reputation both locally and around the country
"We have to earn the trust of the public every day going forward"
Not everyone thinks the ruling marks a bold new day of merit for city hall.
"There is still retaliation for people who blow the whistle on corruption," city employee Patrick McDonough told Chicago's local ABC affiliate.
"I don't think that will ever end."