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City forces out Streets and San official tied to hiring scandal

Updated: August 12, 2013 11:47AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has forced the resignation of a high-ranking Streets and Sanitation official implicated in the city hiring scandal to bolster its case to get out from under the Shakman decree and the costly constraints of a federal hiring monitor.

Michael Bartello, a $111,420-a-year assistant commissioner in the city’s third-largest department, resigned effective June 30 to avoid being fired, City Hall sources said.

The Emanuel administration refused to discuss the forced resignation, which allows Bartello to keep his city pension.

Other sources said it stemmed from hiring fraud in a department whose commissioner, Al Sanchez, was a former Hispanic Democratic Organization chieftain who was subsequently convicted in the scandal.

“Mike Bartello was involved in a bunch of hiring sequences 10 years ago during the whole patronage hiring scheme,” said a source familiar with the investigation.

“There were a lot of people involved, but few were sanctioned or prosecuted. The monitor wants these people punished for their historical involvement in rigged hiring schemes. There is an ongoing process of investigating by the monitor and the inspector general’s office. We’re getting to the end of it.”

Federal hiring monitor Noelle Brennan did not return repeated phone calls.

Attorney Michael Shakman, whose lawsuit triggered the ban on political hiring and firing, said he won’t support the city’s efforts to lift the federal court decree that bears his name unless all of those implicated are punished.

“Noelle filed a motion after the city dragged its feet to investigate a bunch of people identified at the [Robert] Sorich trial. The judge authorized Noelle to conduct those investigations and make recommendations. That has happened. The city now has an opportunity to respond. That process is still under way, and it’s a good process. Unless the city acts in dealing with those sustained findings, we would object,” Shakman said.

In August 2005, Brennan was appointed to oversee city hiring by a federal judge furious with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration for making a mockery of the decree that was supposed to end political hiring.

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