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.”