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 the Cook County Assessor’s Office (the “Assessor” or the “Assessor’s Office”). In 1972, the Assessor’s Office entered into a Consent Decree which, among other things, prohibited the Assessor’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.”  A subsequent Consent Decree was entered on February 1, 1995 which extended these prohibitions to include the Assessor’s 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 and has the power to enforce the Shakman Decrees.

The Assessor Compliance Administrator’s Appointment

On September 19, 2012, Judge Sidney Schenkier, with the agreement of the Assessor’s Office and the plaintiffs, entered an Agreed Order for the Cook County Assessor’s Office (the “Agreed Order”). The Agreed Order is intended to ensure that the Assessor’s Office makes all decisions relating to the employment actions involving non-Shakman-exempt employees based on merit and not on political reasons or factors. Pursuant to the Agreed Order, Judge Schenkier appointed the Honorable Clifford L. Meacham (ret.) as the Assessor Compliance Administrator (ACA). The ACA’s duties include studying existing employment practices, policies and procedures, observing actual hiring sequences, assisting in formulating a new employment plan, aiding in establishing a new training program to educate and train supervisors and employees on non-political hiring practices, making recommendations to the Court as to how to resolve issues regarding Shakman-exempt positions, monitoring compliance, adjudicating Pre-Agreed Order claims, monitoring Post-Agreed Order complaints and filing periodic reports to the Court.

Clifford Meacham stepped down from this role effective January 30, 2016 and Judge Schenkier appointed Susan G. Feibus to the position.

There are a number of components to the Agreed Order and the ACA’s duties. Some are in the process of being addressed and some will be addressed in due course. If you have a question or a comment, you may contact us at (312) 343-0221. If you have attempted to contact us and did not get through, or did contact us but received no response, we apologize. Please contact us again. You input on any aspect of our work is very important to us.

This Website

The content of this website is limited to issues related to our work with the Cook County Assessor’s Office. You can also find information on the Assessor’s website. If you are looking for information on a Shakman Compliance Administrator for any other governmental entity within Cook County, please visit or