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Thursday, January 11, 2007

New boss, same as the old boss?

Posted By on 01.11.07 at 04:34 PM

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Given all that's happened in local politics over the last two years--including federal judicial orders forcing the city of Chicago and Cook County to pay independent monitors to ensure fair hiring practices--you'd think candidates in February's municipal elections would make an issue of patronage. And they are--but not always in the most disapproving tones.

Mayoral challenger Bill "Dock" Walls, a political activist and former Harold Washington aide, has blasted Daley for corrupt hiring practices. On the other hand, should he win in February, Walls has a city staffing plan of his own. In a recent chat he told me that he's been working closely with several dozen aldermanic candidates from across the city. "They meet right here"--in his West Loop office--"on a regular basis," Walls said. "They're not running alone."

Walls added that, while most of the insurgents were sure to win election to the new City Council, he had a plan for those who didn't. "They'll have a place in our adminstration," he said. "You have positions to fill at the Board of Ed, in the Park District. You have 1,000 Shakman-exempt positions at the city"--that is, policy-related jobs that, by court order, the mayor can fill with anyone he wants.

"Not everyone of these people is looking for a job," Walls added. "Some we'll have to drag into service."

 

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