Court Orders and Documents
Consent Judgment: May 5, 1972
In 1972, the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office agreed to a Consent Decree which, among other things, prohibited the Clerk's Office from “conditioning, basing or knowingly prejudicing or affecting any term or aspect of governmental employment, with respect to one who is at the time already a governmental employee, upon or because of any political reason or factor". In other words, it prohibited political discrimination against those people who were Clerk's employees on May 5, 1972, when the Consent Decree was entered. There was a prohibition that any employee could be forced to perform political work during regular working hours or to be coerced into donating to a particular political organization. However, the Consent Decree made clear that employees could do either on a voluntary basis.
Judgment Order: April 4, 1983
In 1983, the Court extended the protections of current employees set forth in the 1972 Consent Decree to those who were applying for jobs in the Clerk's Office – namely, political considerations were now prohibited in the hiring process, except for Exempt Positions. The order was clear that it did not impose a civil service system, nor did it necessitate that a merit system be utilized in the Clerk's Office.
Revised Plan of Compliance of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County: February 15, 1984
The Revised Plan of Compliance of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County dated February 15, 1984, was designed to implement the Judgment Order dated April 4, 1983, mentioned above. It set forth a policy detailing how the Clerk of the Court should handle hiring and firing employees and provided a framework on how non-Exempt Positions are posted and filled. In addition, the Revised Plan of Compliance contained the then agreed upon list of 80 Exempt Positions. See pages 10-12 of the Revised Plan for the list. A new exempt list is currently being negotiated between the Plaintiffs and the Clerk's Office.
Clerk of Court Executive Order: August 8, 2018
The Clerk entered Executive order 2018-1 on August 8, 2018, prohibiting the Clerk's Office from basing any employment on a political factor. Examples of political factors include a person's membership in a political party (or not), political contributions or political activity. In addition, an individual's political sponsorship cannot be considered. An exception to the above prohibitions are decisions concerning Exempt Positions.
The Executive Order includes a reporting obligation. Any employee who learns about an allegation of unlawful political discrimination in connection with employment with the Clerk of the Court, or who believes that such unlawful political discrimination has occurred or is occurring, is required to report this information to the Inspector General's Office directly and without delay.
It also prohibits employees and officials from retaliating against, punishing, or penalizing any job applicant, employee, or official for making complaints, public disclosures, or reports about any alleged violation in the Executive Order or for cooperating or assisting the Compliance Administrator, Inspector General, or law enforcement authorities investigating any alleged violation in this Executive Order.
Supplemental Relief Order: August 10, 2018
On August 10, 2018, Federal Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered the SRO and appointed *Clifford L. Meacham as the Compliance Administrator for the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (the Compliance Administrator). The Clerk Compliance Administrator is tasked, among other things, with the following duties:
auditing all hires, promotions, and transfers since January 1, 2014
investigating evidence of unlawful political discrimination (UPD)
recommending measures to prevent recurrence of UPD
recommending how to remedy violations of previous Court Decrees in this litigation
reviewing the Clerk Office's employment practices to determine compliance with the Court's Decrees and hiring procedures
recommending changes, if warranted, to the Clerk's hiring procedures
*Clifford L. Meacham stepped down from his role as Compliance Administrator effective March 11, 2019 and Susan G. Feibus was appointed to the position.
Amended Supplemental Relief Order: June 19, 2019
On June 19, 2019, Federal Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered the Amended Supplemental Relief Order.
Judge Edmond Chang approved the List of Exempt Positions in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The List contains those positions that are exempt from the prohibitions of consideration of political reasons or factors because they involve policymaking to an extent or are confidential in such a way that political party affiliation is an appropriate requirement for the effective performance of the job.
Federal District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang entered an order approving the Employment Plan, which is required by the Supplemental Relief Order. The Employment Plan governs: (1) Shakman Exempt hiring; (2) non-Shakman Exempt, non-bargaining unit hiring; (3) entry-level bargaining unit hiring; and (4) transfers and promotions of current employees in bargaining unit positions.