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With hiring monitor gone, City Council agrees to use do-not-hire list

Updated: August 24, 2014 6:28AM

Chicago aldermen on Tuesday charged head-first into the post-Shakman era — by following a federal hiring monitor’s recommendation to abide by a “do not hire” list of public employees fired for misconduct.

“This is correcting maybe a loophole in the system. . . . I can’t think of anybody who would defend hiring somebody who’d been put on a list that’s do-not-hire because of past deeds,” said Ald. John Arena (45th).

Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, denied that aldermen were embracing the reform simply because the aldermanic election is seven months away.

“If we were concerned about [ending] this type of hiring, we could have let the thing die and it never would have been brought up again. There’s no federal monitor around to do it,” O’Connor said.

In her final report to a federal judge, now-dismissed hiring monitor Noelle Brennan complained about the City Council’s failure to abide by the list “despite numerous recommendations and letters” her office had sent to individual aldermen.

Despite that complaint, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier agreed June 16 to release Chicago from the 42-year-old Shakman decree and dismissed Brennan, who had no oversight over the City Council.

Last month, O’Connor introduced a do-not-hire resolution. Tuesday, the O’Connor-chaired Committee on Workforce Development approved it with an accompanying City Council “order” that has the force of law.

It requires the city’s budget director, human resources commissioner and city comptroller to “jointly develop, implement and maintain a mandatory process” to cross-check applicants for jobs with aldermen, Council committees or service agencies against the do-not-hire list.

In an e-mail to the Chicago Sun-Times after Tuesday’s vote, Brennan wrote, “I am pleased to hear that they’ve come around. Whatever their motivation is, it’s a step in the right direction.”


Twitter: @fspielman

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