The Shakman Decrees
In 1969 a federal civil lawsuit entitled Michael L. Shakman, et al vs. Democratic Organization of Cook County, et al., case number 69 C 2145 (“the Shakman case”), was filed by a group of plaintiffs against various defendants including Cook County and the current District Compliance Administrator, Jan Carlson, then the Circuit Court Clerk of Kane County. In 1978 The Forest Preserve District of Cook County entered into a Consent Decree with the plaintiffs to resolve some of the claims made in the lawsuit. That Consent Decree specifically prohibited the District from “conditioning or affecting any term or aspect of governmental employment (with respect to persons once hired) upon or because of any political reason or factor.” A subsequent Consent Decree was entered in 1994 that extended these prohibitions to include the districts hiring practices, with certain exclusions. These agreements have collectively come to be known as the “Shakman Decrees”. The Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has retained jurisdiction over the case. The Court’s powers include the power to enforce the Consent Decrees.
The Compliance Administrator’s Appointment
On January 14th, 2009, Judge Wayne Andersen, with the agreement of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and the plaintiffs, entered a Supplemental Relief Order (SRO) in the Shakman case. The SRO is intended to ensure that the District complies with hiring and employment practices as they relate to political consideration, and to adjudicate claims of political discrimination. Pursuant to the SRO, Judge Andersen appointed Mr. Jan Carlson as the Shakman Compliance Administrator (DCA) for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. The DCA’s duties include studying existing employment practices, policies and procedures, observe actual hiring sequences, assisting in formulating a new hiring plan, aiding is establishing a new training program to educate and train supervisors and employees on non-political hiring practices, making recommendation to the Court as to how to resolve issues regarding Shakman exempt positions, monitoring compliance, adjudicating SRO violations, assisting with settlement and administration of post-SRO complaints and filing periodic reports. The SRO contemplates an eighteen month plan by which the Forest Preserve, if found compliant by Judge Andersen, will be dismissed from the lawsuit.
You may have a claim as an aggrieved individual if political considerations affected your job or you were denied employment because of political considerations. If that is the case, visit Filing A Claim, the link for which is found along the left hand side of this page for more information and to obtain and print a copy of the claim form.
Forest Preserve Web Site
Our web site addressed issues related to our work with the Cook County Forest Preserve District only. You can also find information on the District's web site. If you are looking for information on other Shakman related Compliance Administrators at other units of local governmental, visit www.countyshakman.com, www.sheriffshakman.com, or www.shakmanmonitor.com (City of Chicago).